Blog Post

Most Important Safety Practice That School Districts Can Provide For Students


If you are like me you worry about the safety of your children every time they are out of your home. We would all agree that safety is an important factor in the decisions we make for our kids lives.  One of the most dangerous things we do every day is drive or ride in a vehicle.  Take this risk and multiply exponentially when you put 54 children in one vehicle. I am talking about school buses.  Approximately 53% of all K – 12 students ride yellow school buses.  26 million elementary and secondary education students in buses each and every day, that is 52 million student trips daily and 20 Billion boardings and de-boardings annually.  That is a lot of risk.

So the question is, “What can we do minimize the risk and keep accidents like this from happening?”. The answer is as simple as proper maintenance. The following thoughts were put together by and I wanted to share them because with the complexity of today’s heavy duty bus components it is always best to have a bus fleet maintenance professional inspect your equipment to ensure that all parts are working in top notch order.

Perhaps the most important safety aspect that school districts and school bus companies can provide students is ensuring that the nation’s 480,000 school buses that are in regular service nationwide remain in top operating condition. This requires a tried and true preventative maintenance schedule.

So what exactly is preventative maintenance?

We all have preventative maintenance performed on our personal automobiles. Many of us take our car into a quick oil change shop somewhere between 3,000 and 7,000 miles and wait while they change the oil and filter, lube the steering and suspension (if you have grease zerks), air the tires, vacuum the inside, check the transmission, power steering, anti-freeze, and washer fluid levels, and charge us if they add even a capful of fluid. They will check the belt, and pull the air filter in hopes you will need one at a huge mark up. Unless something goes wrong, this is the normal PM schedule for most cars on the road today.

Trucking companies are far more sophisticated.  A breakdown in another part of the Country can cost them thousands of dollars. They often study the life of various components and change them before they fail, preventing a breakdown. The school bus industry runs something between the automobile and the over the road trucking companies. School bus technicians try to find potential problems before they turn into costly repairs that remove the vehicle from service for extended periods of time. There are a number of ways we do this.  The daily pre-trip inspection performed by the driver is the most common. The scheduled services or inspection performed by the mechanics is another. Most states have an annual inspection requirement, which may be performed by a state official.

Preventative maintenance is the key to a safe fleet and an economically operated fleet. School buses must be inspected on a scheduled basis by a qualified mechanic. Lubrication is necessary to extend wear points. The amount of wear in many areas can be measured.  Replacement of component parts can be done before failure occurs.

There is no universal PM schedule. Manufacturers recommend a schedule for their vehicles. States often mandate schedules, and each fleet develops a schedule that they believe is best for them.  Some are based on days, miles, or hours of operation. No matter, these schedules should be continuously reviewed. Determining factors that some schedules may  not be ideal can start by looking at the number and type of vehicle breakdowns. For example, if an operation is making service calls for items that could be found during normal PM inspections may indicate that the schedule should be shortened.

There is also many pm scheduling software programs available to help with making this process easy, efficient, and memorable.  Programs such as E-Maint X3 can be used to design, implement and manage your company’s PM program. It is an efficient, cost effective preventive maintenance management software program for facilities of all sizes.

Summer makes a great time to have your bus inspected while the wheels aren’t running constantly. Bring your bus in for a complimentary 45 point inspection. Call us today about our Allison service special for buses. Using only 100% Allison approved fluid and fiiters.