Nationwide school bus recall claims students may not be adequately protected in case of a crash


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A nationwide recall of school buses is underway after the federal government said students may not be adequately protected while in their seats during a crash.

The Wake County Public School System is the largest school system in the state and they tell CBS 17 the district operates about 100 buses that are included in the recall.

Cumberland County schools say 46 of its 435 buses are also affected.

Johnston and Chatham counties says none of its buses are included in the recall.

Durham Public Schools says it has 11 Thomas Built buses equipped with the affected seats included in the recall which begins Dec. 2.

Here’s what it’s all about:

In March, the parent company of Thomas Built Buses was informed by Canadian transportation officials that some seats in its buses failed knee foam impact tests.

Parent Jamie Spahlinger says that’s worrisome.

“The children’s safety should be the most important thing for school systems to consider,” she said.

Documents obtained by consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia say after being notified by the Canadians, Daimler Truck North America went to its supplier which said tests it conducted showed a problem could exist.

“School is supposed to be a place of safety and I feel like transportation going to and from school should be as well,” said Spahlinger.

Daimler Trucks issued what it says is a voluntary recall on an estimated 54,000 Thomas Built Buses.

“As a defect, I’m concerned because it’s a safety issue involving kids,” said parent Quincy Brown.

The feds say the recall involves buses built between 2014 and model year 2020.

“We are putting them on them they thinking they are going to be safe, but if something happens and this is called out you’ll have some upset parents,” he said.

“I think it something that we should be concerned about and addressed.”

The parent company of Thomas built buses it will install additional padding for seats in affected buses and that the school system will be reimbursed for costs.

Although the problem has been identified, at least one parent we spoke to says that’s not enough.

“It sounds like they’re going to fix it –– but I’m more concerned why they weren’t seatbelts on any school buses, said Lacy Bailey.

The parent company of Thomas Built Buses says the repairs can be made without taking any of the buses out of service.

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