One of the state services we find invaluable is the school bus inspection program conducted by the Missouri Highway Patrol.
The inspections determine whether the buses that carry school students are in safe operating condition. Items in two dozen categories are examined during each bus inspection.
The statewide approval rating during spring inspections was 88.7 percent, an improvement over the 87.7 percent recorded last year.
Patrol Superintendent Ron Replogle said: "I applaud the working relationship among the employees of the patrol's Motor Vehicle Inspection Division and Missouri's school districts and contracting companies. This year's increase in approval rating is a clear indicator that Missouri's pupil transportation professionals continue to strive to make student safety their top priority."
Inspectors place school buses into three categories.
• A bus is "approved" if no defects are found.
• A bus is "defective" when minor problems are uncovered, but the bus remains safe to transport students. A defective bus may remain in service, but must be repaired within 10 days and pass a subsequent inspection.
• A bus is removed from service if one or more major defects are found. Those buses are sidelined until repairs and a follow-up inspection are completed.
During the statewide initial inspection, the patrol reported 10,538 buses were approved, 1,157 were found defective and 239 were removed from service.
Replogle also said: "Missouri's school children deserve the safest transportation possible when traveling to and from school each day. The annual school bus inspection program continues to ensure that Missouri's school buses are among the safest in the nation."
We commend the diligence of the inspectors and cooperation among the patrol, school districts and contractors.
Their best efforts affirm the safety of students must never be compromised.