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School bus inspections underway for upcoming school year

By Megan Brantley, mbrantley@wcyb.com
Published On: Jul 23 2013 04:47:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 23 2013 11:00:00 PM CDT

School buses take hundreds of kids to and from school everyday; but after the last bell before summer, those buses are put up to the test.

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. -

School buses take hundreds of kids to and from school everyday.

"A school bus is probably the safest vehicle out there right now with the way it's built and designed," said Barry Worley, shop foreman for Holston Bus Company.

But after the last bell before summer, these buses are put up to the test.

We stopped by Holston Bus Company in Bristol, Tennessee. They house 72 buses for Sullivan County and Bristol.

We found out there are specific guidelines for Tennessee and Virginia for the condition of the buses before they're allowed back out onto the roads. "Most of it is due to safety. These buses take quite a bit of use through the year and we go through [each one]," said Worley.

They inspection everything from the front bumper to the tail lights. "The basic things we're looking for is brakes, steering, tires, just a general check over the bus," said Tom Williams, Washington County, Va. transportation manager.

And they go all the way down to the engine.

However, we learned the summer inspection isn't the only one these buses go through. Williams says their buses are inspected by their garage every 38 to 40 days. "We just try to keep really, really good maintenance on our vehicles. That's the key to keeping them going for the years we have to run them," said Williams.

Daily inspections are also required of the bus drivers, ensuring the safety of their precious cargo. "There's a great responsibility that the driver takes on. We're dealing with the most important thing there is to deal with, and that's kids' lives," said Worley.

We've learned on average buses are kept on a regular route for up to 12 years. After that, the buses get inspected more often and are a typically used as spare buses.

We also found out bus drivers for Virginia are required to have two hours of training every year; Tennessee drivers are required to take four hours every year.

Williams says aside from state requirements, his drivers get a total of eight additional hours training a year.