Inspections Help Keep School Buses Safe for Children

Your kids are likely going onto one of thousands of buses this week as they head back to school.

NBC Connecticut went to the DMV to find out what the inspection process for all of those buses is like.

David D'Ancicco is one of several DMV inspectors tasked to inspect approximately 10,000 yellow and black school buses statewide.

"We'll look at the tires. We look at the inside to make sure that the breaks are functioning properly," he said.

He follows the standards outlined in state laws.

"Should any one of these systems fail, even if it's in the middle of a trip with children on board, the bus is to be brought to the safest place from that spot where it can be park, and another bus will come out…. They can't even operate with a headlight out," D'Ancicco said.

They're checked from top to bottom.

"Once opened. It should lock in place, should the bus be on its side, so the door will not prevent anybody from getting out," he said.

"When we board the bus that the stairs are clear. It's free of trip hazards. We make sure that the emergency escape routes are operational. We test each and every one to make sure they function smoothly," he added.

On top of the annual DMV inspections, each bus sees a mechanic every 90 days. Bus drivers inspect them twice a day: once when the bus leaves the yard and then once when it's back.

If anything breaks, the company has 15 days to repair it and if they continue operating with a safety issue, then the company risks getting an out of service violation. About 1,000 tickets were issued last year. The DMV says they only have some spare buses to use if one gets pulled.

"We also regulate the drivers to make sure they have the proper credentials. Ultimately, the goal is these kids are safe and that's all we want," he said.

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