"All the safety equipment, they physically go through every step every morning before they even start the bus out." -David Causey, Vehicle & Driver Supervisor, Bowling Green Independent Schools
School buses are designed for the safety of children when built, but just like any vehicle wear and tear happens. That's why safety inspections are vital. The Bowling Green Independent School system has each and every one of their buses sent to a state regulated inspector once a month to ensure maximum safety.
"They have trained school bus mechanics on site and they have to have special training to inspect these buses and make sure they're safe." said David Causey, Vehicle & Driver Supervisor for Bowling Green Independent Schools.
Every 24,000 miles each bus is taken apart and fully inspected then pieced back together bolt by bolt. Periodical state regulated testing is a vital part of school bus safety, but perhaps the most essential part happens every single morning before a bus driver even gets behind a wheel, when they check off their own personal safety checklist.
"Tire tools that they'll hit to check for the air pressure. We have depth gauges to check the depth of the tread. All the safety equipment, they physically go through every step every morning before they even start the bus out." added Causey.
Sometimes for longer trips school systems use private charter buses.
Kentucky State Police say those vehicles are subject to different regulations.
"If it's a personally owned bus by a private company then it's a commercial vehicle and it's got to meet the guidelines for annual inspections and roadside inspections by one of our officers." said Officer Dewayne Koch with Kentucky State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.
Bowling Green Independent School transportation officials say if they use a charter service for trips they require maintenance and driving records before using that company. Transportation officials say the school system has turned down charter bus services in the past due to a lack of maintenance records on a particular bus.