Inspections begin next month

The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Motor Vehicle Inspection Division will begin its annual school bus inspections Feb. 4.

According to Sgt. Eric F. Brown, Troop B public information officer, final inspections will be completed March 15.

According to Rich Stilley, business manager for the Hannibal public school district, the initial inspection of Hannibal buses by the highway patrol will occur Feb. 5.

Stilley said the district's transportation staff has already started looking for items that would be cited by state inspectors.

“All buses have been through one round of inspections with repairs made and the second round of inspections have begun,” wrote Stilley in a memo to the board of education.

Hannibal was one of three local districts to receive a perfect score last year, with all 34 buses approved. For more than 20 years consecutive years, Hannibal has scored 90 percent or greater on the state's bus inspections.

Stilley is optimistic the streak will continue.

“The transportation department is committed to maintain a 100 percent inspection rate,” he said. “We have been working on the inspection process for about six weeks and will continue to check and recheck each and every bus up until the Highway Patrol arrives on Feb. 5, 2019.”

Stilley said the key to inspection success is caring.

“The staff’s dedication to the safety of our children is the key,” he said. “They are committed each and every day to keep our students safe and that is indicative in the work that they do, pre-trip, during and after each route. They understand how important each and every student is and they love their jobs.”

The other two area districts receiving perfect scores in 2018 were Marion County R-II (six buses approved) and Monroe City (12 buses approved).

Two other nearby districts, Palmyra (17 buses approved) and Ralls County R-II (14 buses approved), had just one bus that was labeled "defective." Defective buses, according to the highway patrol, have one or more defective items which do not constitute an immediate danger.

School districts are allowed 10 days following initial inspection to repair identified defects before re-inspection by highway patrol motor vehicle inspection personnel.

Buses rated as "out-of service" must be repaired, re-inspected, and placed back into service by Highway Patrol motor vehicle inspection personnel prior to transporting students.

A total of 12,018 school buses across the state were inspected by Missouri State Highway Patrol personnel during the 2018 program. Of all the buses that were inspected statewide last year, 90.6 percent were approved.

danny.henley@courierpost.com