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1,000 UTAH SCHOOL BUSES FACE RECALL

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Up to 1,000 Utah school buses could be affected under a manufacturers' recall of 11,500 buses that fail to meet federal requirements for fuel systems.

The recall, announced Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, followed crash tests in which a 1995 Blue Bird "All American" bus and a 1995 Wayne "Lifestar" bus exceeded the maximum allowable fuel leakage, the agency said."The nature of this recall it's not an urgent recall. They're not going to order these buses off the road," said Pat O'Hara, pupil transportation specialist for the Utah State Office of Education.

The federal agency said it was not aware of any crashes involving these bus models in which there was a fuel system fire, but the modifications are needed to meet legal standards.

"NHTSA is on record saying it's not a critical situation, otherwise they would order the buses off the road," said O'Hara.

O'Hara expects to receive on Friday a directive that specifies how many buses area affected by the recall. "It could be just a few or it could be over 1,000," he said. There are about 1,950 buses statewide.

Blue Bird Body Co. and Harsco Corp., which is handling the Wayne recall, are developing modifications to fix the problem, NHTSA said. The companies will notify owners of the affected buses and make the repairs at no charge.

O'Hara said it will take approximately one hour to repair each bus, or two hours each for buses with two gas tanks.

A Harsco spokesman said only 230 of the recalled buses were Wayne Lifestars. O'Hara said he was not aware of any Utah school district that owns the Wayne buses.