State officials step up after News 4 exposes First Student safety concerns


by Lauren Trager / News 4 | @LaurenTrager

Posted on February 3, 2014 at 10:31 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 3 at 10:45 PM

 (KMOV) -- State officials told News 4 they were shocked by what was uncovered in a recent investigation about serious safety concerns on school buses and they are now cracking down, all while the company at the center of the spotlight scrambles to make changes.

“I found it very alarming,” said State Representative Jeff Roorda.

Rep Roorda told News 4 he had to act after seeing the report on Thursday: a bus with rusty and jagged edges, out of state plates and expired tags, even a broken horn and radio.

First Student drivers told News 4 the bus was just one example of the horrible conditions on our kids’ buses.

How could it happen?

Perhaps, some suggest, the huge legal loophole that allows school bus companies to inspect themselves in between annual state inspections and never provide inspection records to the public

Representative Roorda headed straight to the capitol after News 4’s Lauren Trager talked to him Monday to file a law to fix these glaring problems.

At the Pagedale bus depot more drivers came forward, even providing video they shot of disgusting conditions inside the school buses.

“I have been driving for 19 years and this is the worst company I have ever driven for, ever,” said Danielle Moore, a First Student driver.

Inspections at the depot are a joke, according to the drivers.

“They do a lot of crooked stuff on this lot, just to get them to pass,” Moore said.

First Student continues to insist they stand on safety, but haven’t yet provided News 4 an on-camera interview.

They told News 4 in an email that senior management visited the depot Monday to address some of the concerns. A source told News 4 that there will be a change in leadership at the Pagedale location.

The Missouri Highway Patrol, who inspects every school bus in the state once a year, told News 4 our story prompted them to make a surprise visit to the Pagedale location Monday. The results of their inspection were not immediately available.