Tennessee Highway Patrol inspecting all school buses to ensure student safety this fall
Hamilton County school board members voted to change their bus vendor in March, bringing in First Student.
The bill for the switch will cost $11-million, which is $1-million more than the previous bus vendor, Durham School Services.
The new bus vendor, First Student, is still working to get their full fleet to Chattanooga. First Student has until August 7 to make sure all of the buses are ready to take the students to school. They first have to apply for license plates before a trooper can come out to check the vehicle.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is gearing up for back to school by inspecting every bus that will be carrying students.
“Hamilton County has to enter those into the Pupil Transportation website which has to be approved by somebody in Nashville for us to come out and inspect,” said Sergeant Alan Bailey.
So far, about five buses have been checked.
All of them now have an inspection sticker showing it has passed inspection and the date it was inspected.
Sergeant Alan Bailey says the THP is responsible for checking all the new and used buses across Tennessee.
He says there are some key areas to check.
“Corrosion on light bulbs where it sat in the parking lot. Maybe something happened to it during transit that was unexpected,” said Bailey. “The older buses will have a lot more mechanical stuff where the parts have worn out.”
Trooper Johnny Anderson spends less than 30 minutes checking the outside of each bus.
“Just checking the wheels making sure all the lug nuts are tight, taking a look at the tires, the frame, suspension and steering components,” said Trooper Johnny Anderson.
Anderson checks underneath for things like brake pads.
Next, he analyzes the inside of the bus.
Anderson walks down the aisle making sure every row of seats has enough cushion.
“It protects the students from that metal frame that's inside there,” said Anderson. “We just want to make sure there's enough cushion on them.”
Every bus gets inspected yearly.
However, throughout the year, troopers will do random inspections to make sure the buses still run properly.