This past spring, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) discovered approximately 4,000 public school buses operating in Virginia lacked the parking brake interlock feature as required by state specifications. The feature prevents accidental release of the parking brake.
Upon becoming aware of the situation, Sonny Merryman Inc. took immediate action to bring all affected Thomas Built Buses into compliance prior to the start of the 2017-18 school year. During the course of the summer, a specialized team of nearly a dozen Sonny Merryman Inc. field technicians installed the feature on more than 2,000 public school buses manufactured by Thomas. Over a recent ten week period, the team traveled to 86 school districts in every corner of the Commonwealth to perform the interlock installation procedure.
“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,” stated Floyd Merryman, President and CEO of Sonny Merryman Inc. “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.”
VDOE is continuing to track the brake interlock installation progress of all other manufacturer’s affected public school buses.