SCDOE urges lawmakers for newer, safer school buses

SCDOE urges lawmakers for newer, safer school buses

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The type of bus involved in the incident that injured six White Knoll junior varsity and varsity student-athletes has had similar, though not identical problems.

It's also a result of buses that have been on the road too long. South Carolina Department of Education officials has been campaigning to convince lawmakers to find more money to buy more new school buses.

Tuesday's incident adds to their efforts to spotlight issues including mechanical failures. Especially in old rear engine buses like the late '90s Thomas that broke down on I-20. The model has been troublesome here and in North Carolina.

In 2015, a 1998 Thomas MPV bus carrying middle school students in Union County blew a coolant hose and five of those kids ended up with injuries.

The issue there was blamed on a failure of plastic hose fittings that should have been replaced with metal ones, per a memo sent out almost two years earlier by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

That memo warned about the possibility of hot antifreeze spewing into the bus and causing burns for students.

The state Department of Education ordered replacement of plastic parts on those hoses on state-owned rear engine buses more than 10 years ago.

Another argument to buy new, more reliable buses.

"We are experiencing a lot of mechanical issues due to age and we want to get newer buses that are more efficient and safer for students on the road as quickly as possible," says Ryan Brown with the state's Department of Education.

Lexington One says the problem on the bus that caused injuries to soccer team members last night involved a ruptured hose---not the plastic fittings.

In fact, spokeswoman Mary Beth Hill says that hose was attached with metal clamps or fittings. But in both cases, here and in North Carolina, the vehicles were practically the same age with many of the same mechanical problems.

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