SYRACUSE — Each year, school buses are thoroughly inspected by a trooper of the Indiana State Police. For the Wawasee Community School Corp., the annual inspection is usually during the summer break.
Typically the inspector will find something wrong, even if minor in nature, when checking through a list covering hundreds of items such as brakes, tires, exhaust system, lights and much more. But Wawasee’s inspection in late July was infraction free and that is more than a bit unusual.
Wawasee’s two bus mechanics on staff, Eric Jackson and Justin Green, who have worked on Wawasee buses for six and five years respectively, each said they could not recall ever having an infraction free inspection. Mike Snavley, director of transportation for Wawasee schools, said he has been in public school transportation for several years and has not seen a perfect inspection.
“More or less, it’s verification,” Jackson said. “What we do is perpetual throughout the year.”
The inspection covered two days and the trooper checked roughly half of the Wawasee bus fleet of 63 each day. Jackson noted the trooper was impressed with what he saw. “He looks at the buses pretty hard,” he said.
Requirements for bus inspections normally stay the same year to year, but there are updates and revisions at times. For an example, Jackson recalled last year the first aid kits on buses went from larger to smaller ones. Emissions requirements are stricter now, he added, and technology continues to change on buses.
Jackson and Green do most of the regular maintenance on buses with the exception of some more complicated engine repairs that are sent elsewhere. And, depending on the mileage of a bus, they typically see each bus in the fleet roughly seven to nine times each year. “We do an inspection when we service a bus,” Jackson said, while Green added at least once each year every bus is looked at thoroughly.
Buses 12 years old or older must be inspected by the state twice yearly.