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Inspections help keep kids on the bus safe

Ellen Abbott
Mike Nuber of New York State Department of Transportation inspects the lights on a school bus.

Now that students have returned for a new school year, the New York State Department of Transportation is making sure school buses are safe.  

Mike Nuber is a supervisor for the DOT’s bus inspection program, looking for any problems with the school buses in the West Genesee School District fleet. They do this twice a year -- first checking out all the paperwork on a bus, then moving on to the bus itself.

"A physical inspection of the vehicle, top and bottom. All the mechanical and items that are in the drivers compartment, all the safety items. Everything’s inspected,” said Nuber.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News
Nuber inpsecting a West Genessee School District bus.

Randy Poplawski, head mechanic at the West Genesee School District, is proud of the grades his busses get from the state. They have a 98.5 pass rate. And the problems that pop up for buses are some of the same ones that plague motorists all over central and northern New York.  

"In this area of the Northeast, we see a lot of different corrosion problems.”

If rust is bad enough to lead to a failing grade for a bus, Poplawski says it gets pulled from the fleet.

State officials say statistics show the safest way for students to get to school is on a school bus. It’s estimated that 2.3 million children in New York state ride about 30,000 of the big yellow buses and 20,000 other types of buses every year.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.