Sgt. Steve Whitaker said his team starts the inspections in January and completes nearly 18,000 of them before the September 30 deadline.
There are three outcomes for inspected buses. First, they can be given the all clear with an approval sticker placed on the inside of the windshield that will last for one year. Buses with minor issues like marker lights or repairs that won't affect the overall safety are given a "rejected" status, which means the bus needs to be fixed within 30 days. Rejected buses are often fixed on the spot while officers are inspecting.
"The third is an out of service bus,” said Whitaker. “That means some major violations going on with that bus and they can't transport children, or anyone on that bus until those are repaired and then we re-inspect all of those buses.”
Noblesville Schools have about 106 buses that were being inspected Wednesday and Thursday. Buses were put on a lift inside the maintenance garage to get a closer look at the breaks, the integrity of the floor boards, the sway bar and the tire treads.
Indiana State Police inspect special service buses as well as private school buses. If buses are older than 12 years, they are inspected twice a year. The same team of officers inspects buses that are in accidents. Whitaker said many of those crashes are drivers who aren't paying attention and rear end school buses.
Officers will also do "spot inspections" to make sure no buses that were declared out of service end up transporting passengers. A violation of the state statute for school bus safety is a class C misdemeanor.