Students aren’t the only ones striving to pass the test at the Scotland County R-I school district. The school’s transportation system recently received a smiley face on its report card from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, earning a 100% on recent safety inspections conducted by the patrol’s Motor Vehicle Inspection Division.

The district’s 14 buses all passed the rigorous safety tests.

“It is a very thorough process,” said Transportation Director Carl Trueblood. “There is a team of nine or 10 inspectors that work together to review each bus. They make it look simple, but they definitely know what they are doing.”

The perfect grade for SCR-I is made even more impressive considering the 14 units combined to cover roughly 750 miles a day. That adds up to more than 130,000 miles just busing students to and from school. Add in summer school and extra-curricular trips, and the total mileage is closer to 150,000.

Trueblood stated the district’s student body continues to take advantage of the service, with ridership surveys showing 75% to 80%  of the district’s total enrollment. A little more than half those riders live within the Memphis city limits.

The SCR-I district has received 100% on the bus inspections in three of the last five years.

The Patrol’s 2012 annual school bus inspection program reviewed a total of 11,934 school buses between the dates of February 2 and April 30, 2012. Missouri’s 2012 statewide approval rating was 88.3%, compared to 87.7% in 2011.

A total of 10,538 buses received approval upon initial inspection, meaning they were found to be free of defective items. The inspections found 1,157 buses deemed defective upon initial inspection, with one or more minor defective items, that still meant they were deemed safe for the transport of students.

The inspections revealed 239 buses with one or more major defective items deeming them to be unsafe for the transport of students. These were placed out-of-service upon initial inspection.

Buses rated as “defective” may continue to be operated for the purpose of pupil transportation until repair is made. School districts are allowed 10 days following initial inspection to repair identified defects before being re-inspected by Highway Patrol motor vehicle inspection personnel.

Buses placed out-of-service by inspectors must be repaired, then re-inspected and placed back into service by Highway Patrol motor vehicle inspection personnel prior to being used for the transportation of students.

“I applaud the working relationship among the employees of the Patrol’s Motor Vehicle Inspection Division and Missouri’s school districts and contracting companies,” said Colonel Replogle. “This year’s increase in approval rating is a clear indicator that Missouri’s pupil transportation professionals continue to strive to make student safety their top priority.

Missouri’s schoolchildren deserve the safest transportation possible when traveling to and from school each day. The annual school bus inspection program continues to ensure that Missouri’s school buses are among the safest in the nation.”

A total of 256 Missouri school districts will be awarded the distinction of Total Fleet Excellence for approval ratings of 90% or higher with no buses placed out-of-service. During the 2012-2013 school year, buses with an award-winning fleet may display the Missouri State Highway Patrol Total Fleet Excellence sticker in the lower corner of the first window on the passenger-entry side of the bus. In addition, each district earning the Total Fleet Excellence designation will receive a certificate from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.