We're in the middle of summer right now, but in little over a month it will be time for children all across the country to head back to school. Millions of them will ride the school bus.
We may not think of it this way, but in many towns, the school buses that transport kids every day make up the largest public transit system in the area. Like any other such system, it is absolutely vital that it is safe for all riders.
"School buses are by far the safest method of travel for students."
The good news is that, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, school buses are by far the safest method of travel for students. During average normal school hours, 58 percent of student fatalities occurred in vehicles driven by teenagers, while 23 percent happened in cars driven by adults. Only 1 percent happened on school buses.
But there have still been many incidents in recent years which have shown that even school buses can have serious problems. If not caught and addressed, they can pose a serious threat to the young people who ride them.
Buses Across The Country Face Mechanical Errors
Many cities and towns are running aging bus fleets to get their kids to school, and this has led to some problems.
For instance, earlier this year, the Duluth News Tribune reported that more than a dozen buses in the Proctor Public Schools district in Minnesota were taken out of service when critical defects were found.
These could have seriously impacted safety – according to the news source, the Minnesota State Patrol conducted random inspections and discovered leaking fluids and defective brake components, including missing brake pads. The carrier was ordered to make all repairs before the buses were allowed to be brought back into service.
A similar situation occurred in Indianapolis, where inspectors investigated buses that were at least 12 years old or older and found that more than half had critical violations. Eleven were taken out of service, according to Fox 59.
Many of the defects involved fuel leaks or tire problems, but there were also instances of buses that were not able to stop properly. It is clear that, like so many other vehicles, older school buses will experience brake problems if not given proper maintenance.
New Disc Brakes Offer Safer Solutions For School Buses
Proactive maintenance and vehicle testing are always preferable to serious accidents."
Even though much of the data tells us that school buses are safer than passenger cars, this is certainly less true if the brakes are not working properly. For this reason, manufacturers are developing brake pads for bus fleets that will serve these vehicles in all weather environments.
For instance, some brake lining companies now offers disc brake pads that are specially designed for school buses. They are reportedly designed to deliver consistent stopping power in all situations and resist brake fade as they get older and miles driven increase.
Top-of-the-line brake pads are one way to ensure that your vehicles are safer. But proactive maintenance and vehicle testing are always preferable to serious accidents. A vehicle testing service can determine whether brake components and other crucial safety features are working as intended.