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January 23, 2014  |   Comments (7)   |   Post a comment

Bill would remove school bus age limit in Tennessee

By Thomas McMahon

A Tennessee bill would prohibit the state from limiting the use of Type C and D school buses by years of service or miles driven — as long as they are inspected at least once a year and are deemed safe.

A Tennessee bill would prohibit the state from limiting the use of Type C and D school buses by years of service or miles driven — as long as they are inspected at least once a year and are deemed safe.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A bill in the state General Assembly would allow school buses to be operated for as long as they are found safe in inspections.

Tennessee Sen. Ken Yager introduced the legislation, SB 1461, on Jan. 8. It would prohibit the State Board of Education and the Department of Safety commissioner from limiting the use of Type C (conventional) and Type D (transit-style) school buses by years of service or by miles driven — provided that the buses are inspected at least once each school year.

Under the bill, state inspectors could still require repairs or reconditioning to be made that they consider necessary for the continued safe use and operation of the bus. If the bus owner refuses to take the required action, or if the inspector considers continued use of the bus to be unsafe, the inspector could order its removal from service.

Officials in some Tennessee school districts, including Morgan County and Scott County, have recently been calling for another increase in the state’s limit on school bus service life.

Four years ago, a state bill was passed to raise the maximum age for school buses from 15 to 17 years.

Under the current law, the normal retirement age for Type D school buses is 15 years, but waivers can be obtained for an additional two years. For Type C school buses, the normal retirement age is 12 years, but waivers can add five years.

For the extended service life, buses have to be inspected twice annually and meet other conditions. For example, any school bus being operated for a 16th or 17th year must have mileage under 200,000.

Yager's bill, which would go into effect on July 1, was referred to the Senate Education Committee last week.

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Read more about: inspections, preventive maintenance, Tennessee

It is true that diesel engines can run along time, but in a truck it is not doing stop and go driving. Most of the time they do not run over 45 mph on routes, which in turn is harder on the engine. We service our units half the amount of time recommended between services. When you have a limited amount of buses and with older buses down time will be more often. Then you end up with not enough buses to run routes.

Ed    |    Feb 13, 2015 11:08 AM

If school buses can pass 2 inspections per year they don't need to be replaced that's more money for the class room YOU GO YAGER.

reese    |    Feb 25, 2014 04:51 PM

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James    |    Jan 30, 2014 07:57 AM

Maybe not more $$ in the class room. Think about all of the extra $$ needed to keep older buses safe for everyone. Old buses are very hard to maintain at the high safety standards that we all want and expect for our children. Scheduled replacement of buses is the best way to reduce maintenance dollars and put more dollars back in the class room.

Phil    |    Jan 28, 2014 02:59 PM

This would put more Dollars in to class rooms.

L E S    |    Jan 24, 2014 04:02 AM

Big mistake! School bus repair cost will soar and safety will suffer. Districts are cutting repair budgets and older buses will be harder to repair and repair costs can only go up. New buses can include 10 year engine warranty reducing maintenance costs. Sure a diesel engine can last a long time but... road salt will take care of the frame and body supports reducing safety. Look at your rusty car, now multiple that by 20 or more years!

Phil    |    Jan 23, 2014 03:36 PM

I think this is a good thing. Goes along with the saying "if it's not broken don't fix it". You go Yager!

buslover311    |    Jan 23, 2014 02:26 PM

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