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The Wheels on the Bus get Maintained in the Garage

Posted by Kimball Midwest on October 23, 2018

Tags: Safety, Maintenance, Vehicle

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 480,000 yellow school buses around the country transport more than 25 million students to and from school every day. Therefore, school bus safety is a priority year-round, even when school is not in session.

National School Bus Safety Week highlights this important issue every year during the third week of October. In 2018, National School Bus Safety Week takes place October 22-26.

School bus safety is everyone’s responsibility, from bus drivers and other motorists who share the road, to students, parents and teachers. But before buses even transport students, technicians must inspect, maintain and repair the bus fleets to make sure they’re safe and compliant with government regulations.

The NHTSA recognizes school buses as a safer mode of transportation than the family vehicle. The likelihood of students arriving to and from school safely is 70 times higher in a school bus over a car. School buses are designed to be safer than cars, and the standard exterior color, National School Bus Glossy Yellow, makes it highly visible and identifiable. Even the minimum standards for school bus safety far exceed the standards for other passenger vehicles.

Federal law requires school buses to be equipped with the following safety features:
  • Body strength that protects from side impacts.
  • Side crash rails that protect the passenger compartment from penetration.
  • Steel enclosure that protects the fuel tank from impact and leakage.
  • Reinforced steel roof and body to protect from rollovers.
  • Emergency exits for quick evacuation.
  • Closely-spaced seats with shock absorbing seat backs.
  • Traffic control and pedestrian protection, including stop sign arm, crossing arm, warning lights and cross-view mirrors.
  • Restricted access to strangers and unauthorized passengers.
  • Recognizable exterior color with black lettering.
  • Exterior reflective markings.
State laws may require compliance with additional safety standards.

Preventive maintenance is a vital part of school bus safety, ensuring buses and their safety features stay in good working order. Bus drivers may be expected to conduct inspections of the bus at the beginning of the day, but the most thorough checks and repairs are made in the bus garage by experienced technicians. School districts and state department of transportation offices often distribute inspection and maintenance checklists for school buses.

It’s one thing to conduct inspections and do basic maintenance, but it’s another to identify little problems before they become big ones. Instead of only fixing components that have failed, technicians should also repair minor defects before they cause failure. This helps school buses stay consistently road ready, as well as making them safer and more reliable.

It’s helpful to have a well-equipped and efficient school bus maintenance garage so repairs can be addressed quickly to minimize bus downtime. If a part isn’t available immediately, it can cause serious delays in getting the bus back on the road, forcing the driver to use an older spare bus that may compromise safety.

Try these strategies for managing your garage’s product and supply inventory:
  1. Keep the garage clean and organized.
It’s easy for parts to get misplaced and mixed together when things get hectic in the shop. However, keeping everything organized makes it easier to find what you need, which saves you significant time in the long run. It also allows you to see when you’re getting low on inventory. Try storing and categorizing parts by type, such as engine parts, chemicals, brake parts and so on.
Take advantage of slower times in the shop to dust regularly and replace any storage labels that show dirt or signs of wear.
  1. Use scannable barcodes for tracking and reordering.
You may need to invest in a scanner and special software to accomplish this, but this process allows you to keep tabs on the quantity of specific parts you keep in your garage, so you’ll know when it’s time to replenish your supply. Additionally, it can help you track expenditures for parts and supplies more accurately so you can stay within budget.
  1. Take a close look at your vendors.
How many vendors do you work with? The more you have, the more confusion it may cause. Do these vendors regularly visit? Do they keep your inventory stocked? Do they order only what you need? Is restocking easy?
Some vendors service your shop on a regular basis to keep parts and supplies organized, properly labeled and stocked. It saves you the time of doing it yourself and helps control your inventory expenses. If a vendor can service multiple product lines, it streamlines your inventory management and decreases your paperwork. Too many vendors make it harder to keep track of your inventory and manage purchase orders.

School bus safety begins in the garage. Before drivers take over and children step on board, the fleet technicians must complete their inspections, perform standard maintenance and make the needed repairs to ensure everything operates as it should. It’s a significant undertaking regardless of the size of the school district. Efficient inventory management keeps things running smoothly so you can focus on doing the important work that keeps students safe. Find A Rep
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