Sixteen buses affected by Thomas recall

Thursday, September 7th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY--The state Education Department said Thursday that 16 school buses in Oklahoma are affected by a Thomas Built Buses Inc.'s recall of units equipped with air brakes that the manufacturer said might be defective at low speeds.

No accidents have been reported. When the vehicles are moving slowly, typically less than 20 mph, they can temporarily lose their braking ability for up to three seconds, said Debi Nicholson, a spokeswoman for Freightliner Corp., the Portland-based parent company of the school bus maker.

Freightliner dealerships have been inspecting the buses on the recall list. Ben Ferem, director of transportation for Jenks Public Schools, said the district's five affected buses were being inspected Thursday. Durant transportation officials pulled their three affected buses from the routes Wednesday and they were being inspected Thursday in Oklahoma City.

Ferem said transportation officials had identified the affected buses and pulled them from the line even before they received recall notices.

Ferem said riding the school bus was still the safest possible way to get to school. He said there had been no accidents or injuries associated with the problem and said they were taking a proactive approach.

The Education Department said that in addition to the buses at Jenks and Durant, there were one each at Velma-Alma, Ponca City, Agra, Hinton, Pioneer Area Vo-Tech School, Pioneer-Pleasant Vale, Stillwater and Westville.

Meanwhile, Gene Ross of Ross Transportation Co. in Oklahoma City said Thursday that one Blue Bird school bus in Oklahoma was affected by Blue Bird's recall because of possible steering problems. Ross said the one bus was checked and was taken care of.

About 1,700 Blue Bird buses in the United States and Canada were taken out of service Thursday while Blue Bird mechanics checked for a possible steering problem.

No accidents or injuries have been reported in connection with the defect.