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Brake recall affects only a few school buses in area

by Gail Marsh

STAFF WRITER

The latest warning of a defective component on school bus braking systems affects few buses in the area, but school personnel are continuing to monitor the situation, officials said Tuesday.

"If we thought there was any danger, we would park those buses today. I spoke with manufacturing representatives who said there is no actual loss of brakes, but just a problem with the anti-lock feature," said Wayne Clutter, executive director of school transportation for the state Board of Education.

Clutter said most counties have already complied with a July recall that warned that an improperly installed sensor wire could wear through and send the wrong signal to the braking systems.

"The wires have been checked for wear and replaced if necessary in order to make the systems work correctly," Clutter said.

The most recent warning, issued by Freightliner Corp., parent company of Thomas Built Buses, involves a component of the anti-lock brake system. Clutter said that component doesn't affect the overall braking system of the bus.

"Based on past preventative maintenance that county school bus systems have done, this has probably already been addressed. Still, we will continue to monitor the situation," Clutter said.

In Harrison County, only one school bus was affected by the recall, and it has already been checked and given clearance, according to Victor Gabriel, administrative assistant in charge of support services.

"State school bus inspectors looked at the problem last week, drove the bus and put gauges on it to make sure there was no problem. All of our other buses have a different brand of braking systems," Gabriel said.

Gail Tacy, head of transportation for Randolph County schools, said four buses in the county's fleet of 69 were affected by the recall notice, and those four buses had been checked.

In Upshur County, none of the 48 school buses were affected by the notice The recall also did not affect any of the buses in Doddridge County, according to Roger Romine, head of transportation.

Staff writer Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447.

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