The Washington School District recently received good news in the form of a bus inspection executed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Roughly 95 percent of the buses Washington uses through First Student to transport its students to and from its schools received approval by the Patrol.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brendan Mahon said the approval rate was encouraging for the district. He said safety is always a priority when it comes to students and transportation.

“Overall I think the inspection went well,” Mahon said. “We’re happy with the results. The goal is always 100 percent.”

During the annual school bus inspection, buses found to have no defective items are rated as “approved.” Buses having one or more defective items which do not constitute an immediate danger are rated as “defective.” Buses with a defective item which constitutes an immediate danger are rated as “out of service.”

Buses rated as “defective” may continue to be operated for the purpose of transporting students until repair is made.

School districts are allowed 10 days following initial inspection to repair identified defects before being re inspected 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. Buses not presented for re inspection within the required 10-day period are reported to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Three of Washington’s buses were rated as defective, 57 were approved and none were ruled out of service.

Mahon noted that he’s working with First Student to ensure in the future all of the buses are fit for students to ride in. He said the goal should always be that all buses are up to code.

“I talked to First Student about the 5 percent defective rate and what corrective actions are being taken to make sure that gets corrected,” Mahon said. “It’s not an alarming number but we’re still contacting them and making sure it gets corrected, and it is.”

A total of 12,018 school buses across the state of Missouri were inspected by patrol personnel during the 2018 program. Of all buses inspected, 90.6 percent were approved by inspection personnel with no defective items noted during inspection.

“The annual school bus inspection program is one way the Missouri State Highway Patrol serves and protects our children. This program is a success because the Highway Patrol, Missouri’s schools, and private pupil transportation companies make transporting students safely a priority,” said Patrol Col. Karsten in a statement.