As parents and students prepare to go back to class, school bus operators have rigorous preparations as well: passing an inspection of their fleet from the state patrol. Wisconsin law requires that buses be inspected before the start of the school year, but state patrol can conduct spot checks anytime throughout the year.
Critical checkpoints include lighting and signals, along with brakes, tires and first aid supplies.
"This comes through a cooperative effort between school districts, school bus operators and law enforcement because we are completely devoted and uncompromising when it comes to the safety of our children," says Lt. Jeff Lorentz.
The state patrol estimates that student fatalities are eight times less likely when traveling in a school bus than when traveling by a regular vehicle.