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School Bus Pre Trip Inspection

Learn how to perform school bus inspections with a handheld device to prevent disruptions on school bus operations

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Published March 26th, 2020

What is a School Bus Pre Trip Inspection?

A school bus pre-trip inspection aims to determine if school buses are secured and operational before departing from the terminal. To identify any potentially unsafe conditions, bus drivers or fleet supervisors should perform regular checks to avoid any road-related incidents, massive vehicle damages, and unexpected vehicular costs.

This article features (1) 6 major school bus defects that need immediate action; (2) a digital tool that can help fleet managers and drivers to consistently conduct proper school bus pre-trip inspections; and (3) digital school bus pre-trip inspection checklists you can customize and download for free.

6 Major School Bus Defects that Need Immediate Action

School buses are classified as commercial vehicles that require pre-trip inspections to ensure roadworthiness. Performing a pre-trip inspection is paramount to keep an eye on the following crucial defects:

Oil Leaks

Oil leaks can cause catastrophic engine failure when left unchecked. They can get on seals and rubber hoses which can cause them to degrade prematurely. Moreover, oil leaks are environmental hazards that are prone to fire, engine failure, or crash.

Defective Brake Systems

Brakes are one of the most vital safety components of a school bus. When a brake system fails, it may lose the power to stop or slow down the school bus which can cause a major road incident. It is significant to check for damage indicators such as brake lights on, squeaking noises, vibration, and soft brake pedal to ensure brakes are operational.

Non-functioning lights

Non-functioning lights can cause accidents as they give signal to the vehicle behind whether you are having your turn or slowing down. Diagnose the following light issues: a) loose lightbulb socket, b) dual-filament bulbs, c) electrical disruption, and d) out-of-adjustment switch to confirm the cause of non-functioning lights.

Flat Tires

A flat tire can cause the rim of the wheel to ride on the tire tread that can lead to irreparable tire damage. It can instigate the loss of school bus control especially at high speeds which may lead to a road accident.

Growling Engine

Growling engine sound could mean that the air is trapped in the fluid of your school bus cooling systems. Unable to detect the reason may lead to overheating, cracking and warping the parts of your engine, cracked hoses, leaky water pump gasket, or fritz of power-steering pump.

Defective Seats

According to CBC News defective seats on school buses can put students at risk of injury or even death. Unable to comply with bus safety requirements can cause your business legal fines or worse business closure.

Technology Used for Pre-Trip Inspections

School bus pre-trip inspections are sometimes neglected due to tons of paperwork. It is burdensome for supervisors or bus drivers to handover records of inspection to track down repairs and damages. iAuditor is the world’s most powerful inspection app that lets you perform inspections with a handheld device. With iAuditor you can:

  • Capture photos and create annotations to better describe the identified issues.
  • Address and track down assigned corrective actions on defects and repairs.
  • Generate and access real-time reports.
  • Secure recorded pre-trip audits in the cloud.
  • Schedule school bus pre-trip inspections and avoid missed inspection.


Jona Tarlengco

SafetyCulture staff writer

Jona has been part of SafetyCulture for more than 2 years contributing her experience in writing quality and well-researched content. She usually writes a topic about risks, safety, and quality.