The state police inspection, completed in June, checks all systems inside and outside the bus -...

The state police inspection, completed in June, checks all systems inside and outside the bus - from lights and brakes to tire tread and electrical systems.

Photo courtesy Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District

For the eight consecutive year, the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District (Char-Em ISK) bus fleet has earned the highest safety ratings from the Michigan State Police .

The Michigan State Police’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division recently awarded the ISD with the certificate for the 2020-21 school year.

“While we have this amazing record of 100 percent safety ratings, we never take it for granted. Each year we work just as hard to achieve that rating for our students, staff and families. There is nothing more important to us than safety across all aspects of our organization,” said Phil Haldaman, Char-Em ISD transportation coordinator.

Completed in June, the exhaustive state police inspection process examines every bus used throughout the state each year, as required by state and federal law. Every system both inside and outside of the bus is inspected: lights, brakes, tire tread depth, exhaust system, seat condition, flooring, handrails, engine and component systems, electrical and heating systems.

Jeff Crouse, Char-Em ISD superintendent, said the safety rating is a team effort among the ISD’s hired mechanics, transportation administration, business office staff, and the drivers and attendants themselves who are steadfast in examining vehicles. Drivers are required by law to perform a detailed daily safety inspection of their bus; vehicles with detected anomalies are brought to mechanics for a deeper, technical inspection and repair.

Char-Em ISD covers 1,200 square miles of territory, with 23 buses accumulating over 700,000 miles annually.