Looking At Riverside Bus Inspections Following Tuesday’s Fatal Crash

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  According to the National Highway Transportation Administration, there are three makes and models similar to the Riverside Community School District bus that crashed on Tuesday that are listed as being under a recall. The reasons range from a turn signal not working properly to a malfunction that may cause or contribute to a potential fire in the engine bay, possibly resulting in serious injury or death.

Pete Kotowski of the NTSB investigation said, “That recall involved an issue with an electrical circuitry. Whether that has any involvement in that is an area we are going to examine and make sure that belongs to this particular vehicle.”

That particular vehicle was a 2005 International school bus.  According to Riverside Community School Board documents from June of this year, the district unanimously approved the leasing of two new school buses with seat belts for reasons that included the fleet of buses “getting up in miles and years.”

Documents from that same meeting show the bus that caught fire–bus number four–had 154,128 miles heading into the 2017 school year. While it is still uncertain if the bus was under a recall, officials within the Des Moines School District confirmed no buses within their fleet are in need of a recall. The West Des Moines school district does not operate any 2005 International buses, and the same goes for Urbandale and Waukee School Districts.

School bus inspections are also required twice a year by the Department of Education, along with assistance from the Iowa State Patrol. The most recent inspections for the Riverside School District were posted on November 28th.  Of the district’s 17 vehicles inspected, nine passed with four other vehicles having at least one 30-day repair item and four more deemed unfit for transportation service.  Vehicles with 30-day repair items can still be used for student transportation for up to 30 calendar days.  Some of these items would include torn seat covers, a loose first aid kid mounting bracket, or a headlight that only works on one beam.