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Thu, Jan. 23

HUSD: School bus brakes 'no problem'

An inspection of Humboldt Unified School District buses last week showed no HUSD buses were in danger of brake failure. A recall warning issued by school bus manufacturer Blue Bird prompted the inspection by HUSD Transportation Department mechanics.

"Six of our buses were affected by the recall," said Transportation Director Tom Rozum. "We checked them all, and found no problems."

The recall stems from incidents of temporary brake failures reported by Freightliner Corporation, maker of Thomas Built Buses, Inc. The braking failures, which occurred at speeds below 20 miles per hour, typically lasted for about three seconds, according to the reports.

The problem lay in the routing of a sensor wire in the Bendix brake system, which allowed a rotating surface to chafe the wire and send a false signal to the Electronic Control Unit.

Blue Bird Manufacture uses the same Bendix system in its school buses, which HUSD uses for transporting students.

Rozum said he immediately pulled the six potentially affected HUSD buses from use when he received notice of the recall last week, and assigned the district's two spare buses to cover the routes while mechanics inspected the brake systems.

The inspections took about eight hours, he said.

"The problem wire is routed with the brake lines on our buses, so there's no way it could have gotten chafed," Rozum said. "Our brake systems were clean and secure."

Blue Bird issued a second school bus recall last Thursday, warning of potential electrical shorts in steering column wiring on 1,700 buses. Rozum said the recall did not affect any HUSD buses.

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