All school boards, the governing authorities of any nonpublic schools in this state, and all independent contractors who or which provide student transportation services for such boards and governing authorities and for military installations shall cause all pupil transportation vehicles used for the transportation of students to be inspected before school opens in the fall and each eighty days during that part of the year when school is in session by a motor vehicle mechanic appointed by the board or governing authority having jurisdiction over such students, except that any pupil transportation vehicle that has been inspected under rules and regulations of the Public Service Commission shall be exempted from the provisions of this section. The mechanic shall thoroughly inspect every vehicle used for the transportation of students as to brakes, lights, windshield wipers, window glass, tires, doors, heaters, defrosting equipment, steering gear, exhaust system, and the mechanical condition of every part of such pupil transportation vehicle to ensure compliance with the minimum allowable safety criteria established pursuant to section 79-607 and subdivision (12) of section 79-318. Within five days after such inspection, the mechanic shall make a report of his or her inspection in writing on regular forms provided by the State Department of Education which shall show if the vehicle met the minimum allowable safety criteria for use. Any item not meeting such criteria shall be brought into compliance prior to the vehicle being used to transport students. One copy of the mechanic's report shall be filed with the board or governing authority and, if the school contracts with an independent contractor to provide transportation services, one copy with the independent contractor. The chief administrative officer of each school district shall annually certify, by a written verification statement, to the State Department of Education that the inspections required pursuant to this section have been performed. Such verification statement shall be sent to the department no later than June 30.
In addition to the inspection requirements prescribed in this section, the driver of each pupil transportation vehicle shall make daily inspections of such vehicle to ensure that all lights and equipment are fully operational or repaired before his or her daily route. Reports of such daily inspections shall be kept by the driver in the vehicle and filed weekly with the head mechanic or administrator in charge of the transportation system. If the inspection reveals any significant defect in the lights or equipment, the driver shall immediately report the defect to the head mechanic or administrator in charge of the transportation system.