Are school buses the safest way to get Wake County kids to school?

Wake County News

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – When you put your child on the bus to go to school, you expect them to be safe. Last week a CBS17 viewer wanted answers after taking pictures of her child’s Wake County school bus tires.

Those tires appeared to be bald.

Every day North Carolina school buses rake up more than a million miles getting your child to and from school.

“School buses are the safest mode of transportation to get kids to and from school,” said Kevin Harrison of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

By North Carolina law, districts have to inspect every bus every 30 days, and the state of North Carolina inspects 10 percent at random on a yearly basis.

“We hold these standards extraordinarily high,” said Harrison.

When asked how many failed inspections occurred on a year to year basis, “A lot of them,” said Harrison. “Most buses you will find a little something that doesn’t look right.”

CBS 17 took concerns of what appeared to be bald tires to N.C. Department of Public Instruction Transportation Services Chief Kevin Harrison for answers.

“We go through a lot of tires,” said Harrison. “Any given bus travels a lot of miles, and the tires don’t necessarily last as long.”

CBS 17 pulled inspection records and found the same bus had to be towed multiple times.

Bus 1315 also needed a $10,000 engine replacement, and still broke down in the middle of Wendell Boulevard and Highway 64, so why hasn’t it been replaced?

“The North Carolina General Assembly replaces school buses in North Carolina,” said Harrison.

By law the bus can’t be replaced unless it is 15 years old, or has more than 150,000 miles, so is taking the bus still really safer than driving your kid to school.

“Oh absolutely,” said Harrison. “There’s no doubt that if we went into that parking lot and sent a bunch of our inspectors to inspect all of those cars that more of them would not be able to leave the parking lot this afternoon.”

State inspectors are currently going through Wake County school buses.

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