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Making sure kids have a safe bus ride

Posted: 6:45 PM, Aug 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-18 11:46:19Z

A green sticker sits on the windshield of 55 of the 57 Lansing School District buses inspected. That's a passing grade.

When Dean Transportation took over the buses three years ago, all but three of the District's 66 buses couldn't pass an inspection. Since, Dean has repaired the ones that could be saved.

"Minor repairs could be things like replacing the vinyl on a seat, a hole in a seat or a screw loose or a light bulb would be out," explained President and CEO, Kellie Dean.

The company also bought 50 new buses.

And, a number of safety features were added to the fleet, including a GPS system to track each bus's route, three surveillance cameras and a reminder system forcing drivers to check for lost backpacks or sleeping passengers before leaving the bus.

"There is a button there that they have to disarm, so if they don't go to the back of the bus and disarm this system, then the horns sound, the lights all go off," Dean said.

There are several lines of defense to keep their child cargo safe.

"It's important to have more than one set of eyes looking over any piece of equipment that's being operated on the roadway," MSP's Sgt. Michael McLaughlin said. "Between the technicians and safety supervisors, drivers and my inspectors, school buses in Michigan get a pretty good going over."

He said that's probably why only 10% of buses in the state get a red tag.

MSP is also reminding drivers, with the school year approaching, buses are about to hit the roads. So, when the bus's yellow lights come on, slow down and when the red lights start flashing and the stop sign comes out, you have to stop.

Don't try to swerve around the bus because a child could be crossing the street.

The full State Police Inspection won't be out until the end of the month.