TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) As kids across the region are ready to head back to school, state inspectors with the Tennessee Highway Patrol are making sure the buses are ready to get them there.
THP has a long list of safety violations to check for, making sure all area buses are up to standard.
As Sergeant Nathan Hall says, “The school bus is built for safety.”
Research shows it is actually one of the safest vehicles your child can ride in, much safer than riding in a car.
But, even though it’s built for safety it takes routine checks to make sure your child is safe when they board.
“That’s our top priority, is protecting our kids,” says Hall. “We send two of our best in the state, bus inspectors, out to do these. They’ve got 13 counties and all these buses. So they do this pretty much all year long.”
THP says they check for any violation that would put a child at risk.
“It’s just overall safety of any vehicle, that would be the biggest things. Tires, brakes, the frame, structure, if there was any kind of crack in the frame that would cause the bus to lose it’s stability,” says Hall.
Though they check everything on the bus, Hall says even still, the most common threat to children is outside of it.
“The biggest threat period, across the nation and I would venture to say the nation is people blowing the stop arm,” says Hall.
THP makes sure the lights and stop sign system are ready to go, to make sure drivers do not overlook it. The most common violation they find is burned out bulbs on the buses’ light system and stop arm.
“For the bus driver, we want them to activate all their lights, we want them to put that stop arm out, we want the driver to check both forward and after the bus before they motion the child to come across the street and board the bus,” says Hall.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to safety.
“With each inspector that inspects the bus as he’s doing his routine, he’s thinking about the kids’ safety, ‘If I do this is it gonna get a child hurt? Or if I miss this is it gonna get the driver hurt?'” says Hall.