PELHAM, Ala. — The head of a school bus dealership here issued a response on Monday to a recent recall of some school buses due to a potential seating issue.
Bucky Law, president of The Bus Center Family of Companies and chairman of the Dealer Advisory Council for Thomas Built Buses, released a statement about the recall, which came from Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), the parent company of Thomas Built Buses, of more than 50,000 buses across North America.
As School Bus Fleet previously reported, the recall applies to some 2014 to 2020 model year Saf-T-Liner EFX, Minotour, Saf-T-Liner C2, and Saf-T-Liner HDX school buses equipped with SynTec S3B or S3C seats, according to the recall information posted on the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's (NHTSA’s) website. DTNA will notify owners and dealers about the recall, according to the NHTSA website, and will install additional material to increase the level of absorption free of charge. The recall is planned to start Dec. 2.
“We’ve received many inquiries regarding this recall, most definitely because of the large number of buses," Law said in the statement. "I’ve been in the school bus business for 34 years and have been involved with quite literally hundreds of recalls from several different manufacturers and three different school bus manufacturers. The school bus industry, in general, is very good about testing product before production and throughout the life of the bus, and when a shortcoming is found, addressing it responsibly. This is no exception.”
Law added in the statement that this type of recall does not require buses to be removed from service, but is a voluntary recall that Thomas Built Buses self-reported to the NHTSA upon the discovery in the knee area on each side of the seat of insufficient padding in the event of a collision.
“My estimate is that it is less than 4% of the entire seatback,” Law said in the statement.
“While large in scope, it is one of the smaller recalls, in my career, in regards to exposure. There has not been a single report of injury amongst these 50,000 buses," Law added. “Having said this, it, like any other recall, is one that needs to be taken seriously by our national dealer body and our customers as well in regards to having the repair done expeditiously.”
Regarding the expected repair timeline, Law said NHTSA allows two years to have 80% of the repairs performed for this type of recall, and that his companies have a plan in place to finish repairs sooner.
"I cannot speak for all dealers, but for our own companies in Alabama (estimated at 1,200 buses) and Tennessee (estimated at 900 buses), we are putting together a plan to have repairs completed by the end of next summer, if not sooner," Law added in the statement. "It’s a large recall, but a simple repair. I’m confident that my fellow Thomas dealers have similar goals.”
“Recalls are not unusual in the school bus business, as buses stay on the road for many years, and our industry recognizes that we have a responsibility to maintain our children’s safety above all else,” Law noted in the statement.
For more information about the recall, go here.