EVINGTON, Va. (WVEC) -- In the spring, the Virginia Department of Education discovered approximately 4,000 public school buses operating in Virginia that lacked the parking brake interlock feature required by state specifications.
School bus transmissions do not have a 'park' setting. After stopping the bus, the driver places the bus in neutral, and then pulls the parking brake valve on the dashboard. Without the interlock, the parking brake could accidently disengage.
Over the summer a team from Sonny Merryman Inc., Virginia's bus company, took immediate action and installed the feature on more than 2,000 public school buses.
Over a recent 10 week period, the team traveled to 86 school districts in every corner or Virginia to install the interlock breaks on Thomas buses.
Floyd Merryman, President and CEO of Sonny Merryman Inc. made this statement:
“I can’t say enough about our service guys and the cooperation and support we received from our customers. We were faced with this challenging task during our busiest time of the year, and we got it done in time for school start. We were absolutely determined to take prompt corrective action to ensure the safety of Virginia’s students and school bus drivers. All Thomas school buses currently operating in Virginia are now compliant with the parking brake interlock requirement.”
Virginia Department of Education is continuing to track the brake interlock instillation process of all other manufacturer's affected public school buses.