Washington school buses undergo annual inspection

Washington State Patrol inspects school buses in every school district in Washington annually before the school year, and FOX 13 pulled the bus inspection recap reports for the 10 largest school districts in Western Washington.

This bus inspection is like a school exam that is strictly pass/fail.

It's a test that WSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer, Cristie Lakey, takes personally.

"We all have kids or grandkids that are riding some of these school buses," said Lakey.

The CVEO team has an extensive checklist of nearly 150 possible issues they're looking for in and around all school vehicles that carry your kids.

The most common issues that WSP took buses out of service for this year include:

  • Emergency parking brake; fail 50-foot test
  • 8-way or 4-way light warning system-lights inoperable
  • Cracked brake shoe or lining
  • Flat tire
  • Bad check valve
  • Air loss on brake hoses
  • Brakes out of adjustment
  • Vandal locks not operating properly
  • No body fluid kit on bus
  • Prohibited items in drivers area
  • Inoperable turn signals or headlights
  • Broken wheel seal/contaminated brakes

Scott Logan, Chief Ops Manager for Highline Public Schools says his district has an "excellent safety record."

"For the last 11 years in a row, we've gotten a letter from [WSP] showing outstanding inspection," said Logan.

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Logan says these letters are sent to districts with out-of-service (OOS) rates under 2% and this year, less than 1% of Highline Public Schools' fleet was taken out of service.

None of the OOS rates even came close to double digits for the following districts:

  • Seattle 4%
  • Tacoma 6%
  • Everett 4%
  • Edmonds 3%
  • Bellevue 2%
  • Northshore 2%
  • Lake Washington 1%
  • Kent 2%
  • Puyallup 1%
  • Federal Way 2%

The buses pulled out of service won't be back on the road until they're fixed and put through another inspection.