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TO:                  All Superintendents of Schools, Business Managers, and Transportation Supervisors


FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner


RE:                   Roof Structure Failure in Carpenter School Buses


DATE:             April 18, 2003



The National School Bus Information Council (SBIC) has issued an URGENT SAFETY ADVISORY regarding Carpenter produced school buses.  All school buses equipped with Carpenter bodies that were manufactured at the Mitchell, Indiana plant from 1986 to late 1995 should be closely inspected to ensure that there are no broken or defective welds in the roof structure.  Carpenter buses built from approximately August 1995 to 1998 at Carpenter’s Richmond, Indiana plant were reportedly built using a significantly different design with single-piece body bows that required no structural welds.  Knowledgeable school bus technicians can readily identify this later design.


Additional information is posted on the School Bus Information website under Press Releases at 


Due to the nature of these defects, buses showing evidence of the defective or broken welds should be placed out of service until a remedy has been identified and communicated by the School Bus Information Council.  Carpenter Manufacturing is no longer in business.  Thus, there are no options available from the original manufacturer to help in positively identifying all of the buses that may have defective welds. 


The Department strongly recommends that each potentially affected Carpenter school bus be removed from service for inspection as soon as possible.  All subject welds should be inspected to determine if the school bus is safe to return to service.  Districts should also forward this information immediately to any transportation services provider under contract to the district.


If you have any questions or need additional information about this safety alert, please contact Harvey Boatman, Pupil Transportation Specialist at 207-624-6884 or via email at


Thank you for your immediate attention to this serious safety issue.