INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – It is time to head back to the classroom for Indianapolis Public School students, but after problematic bus inspections at the end of last school year we wanted to know exactly what IPS has done during the summer months to keep your kids safe.
IPS has added 100 new buses to their fleet, replacing a majority of the buses that failed inspection in the past or that needed to be improved. Now, those brand new buses will be picking up and dropping off thousands of students this year. Before the buses hit the road, Indiana State Police will thoroughly inspect each vehicle.
“We are looking for anything and everything that we can see, feel, or touch on the bus. We are looking at the overall exterior condition, service lights, overhead lights, headlights, turn signals, stop arm, and more,” says Sgt. Chris Kath of Indiana State Police.
The inspections are done at least once a year. When an officer finds an issue during the check, they write it up and determine if the bus should be taken out of service.
“Bus inspections in the State of Indiana are extremely important because we are the last defense to ensure what the schools are doing to ensure the safety of the students they transport,” says Sgt. Kath.
Last year the school system only had half of their busses pass inspection, and more than 20% of those buses were not safe to drive. State Police say IPS had a 69% pass rate during the last inspection earlier this spring, more than ten points below the state average. IPS believes the 100 new buses added to the fleet will help raise their pass rate to around 85%.
“The state average shows that the mid 80’s is the average approval rating. However, IPS is a larger school district and a larger area. Not that those buses should be any less safe, but the larger the fleet is the harder to handle and maintain,” says Sgt. Kath.
State Police say the district should check their buses every 90 days to ensure that they meet safety standards. Indiana State Police say the 100 brand new buses will be inspected next year. The rest of the fleet will be inspected in a few months.