ESD assures residents that buses are safe.

September 15, 2017

ESD assures residents that buses are safe.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

AMBER TOWNSHIP — In the wake of Thursday’s story about local school buses being “red tagged” by the Michigan State Police, West Shore Educational Service District’s director of transportation wants to assure local residents that its school buses are in compliance and safe.

The 2016-2017 MSP school bus inspection report, which was just recently released, listed only two of the ESD’s 15 buses were “red tagged,” meaning during the inspection those buses were found to be in an unsafe condition. Michigan law requires the repair of all red tag items before placing that bus back into passenger service.

“Although some of the buses do receive a red tag, they could be for very simple things,” Katrina Morris said. “After a bus receives a red tag, those buses are repaired and then reinspected again.”

Morris said some examples of red tagged offenses include: A blinker light not working, brake light out, mirrors that fail to meet the required visor fields, some of the lights on the stop arm are out, any sticker on the bus in any spot other than approved (like a sticker on the bumper), letters of the school name on the side of the bus not the correct height (1/8 of an inch difference), registration or proof of insurance not on the bus at the time of inspection.

The state’s School Bus Inspection Manual, lists many more serious offenses dealing with the school bus body, heating and cooling systems, braking systems, exhaust system, fuel system, glass, lighting and electrical, mirrors, seating, doors, special needs equipment, steering, suspension, and tires and wheels. See manual here.

Although some of the red tags can be for more serious items, we are thankful to have the inspectors come in to identify those items so they can immediately be fixed,” Morris said. “We do not transport any student in a bus that has a red tag.  The bus is first fixed, then reinspected and once deemed safe by the Michigan State Police Inspector, students will be transported on it again.

“Our main purpose is to provide safe and efficient transportation to school for our most precious cargo.  Even though some of the buses receive red tags, the school bus is still the safest mode of transportation to and from school each and every day.”

Several districts also had buses that were “yellow flagged” meaning the school buses were found in an unsatisfactory condition, but are safe for operation. These school buses by law must be repaired within 60 days of the original inspection date.

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