Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Revised Final Recommendations to the Coroners Jury

We want a Van Angels law in memory of our boys that includes the following recommendations to the Coroners Jury:

1. The New Brunswick Department of Education to take full responsibility for the safety of children travelling to off-site, extra-curricular events when they are representing their schools.

2. Nothing less than qualified, Class 2 yellow school bus drivers with endorsements B (valid for school buses) and E (valid for air brakes) for all student travel to off -site extra-curricular events. Teachers, coaches, parents and volunteers should not be driving children to off-site extra-curricular activities.

3. A central student travel office at the Department of Education monitoring all student travel to off-site extra-curricular events.

4. Department of Education, Environment Canada and Department of Transportation work together with central office to receive special in-depth weather forecasts, storm alerts, weather advisories and road condition updates.

5. A weather law preventing students from being transported to off-site extra-curricular events in bad weather. If there is a storm alert, the game is cancelled. If the weather changes at the destination, students stay overnight. The weather protocol should be used for co and extra-curricular.

6. At destination, a list of hotels readily available.

7. At destination, bedding (blankets and pillows) available.

8. New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association (NBIAA) adapt scheduling and rules to reduce team travel for winter sports.

9. 15 passenger and 7 passenger vans banned for student travel across Canada. Only yellow school buses and Multi Function Activity Vehicles (MFAVs) are built to withstand impact in a motor vehicle accident.

10. Mandatory winter tires for all vehicles in New Brunswick (NOT M&S Tires, it has to have snowflake and peaked mountain symbol).

11. Widen roads from the edge line to the shoulder of the road on RUA Highways

12. An evaluation of the current Motor Vehicle Inspections process in New Brunswick with a view to eliminating grey areas, increasing the number of Auditors in each district and setting higher standards for Motor Vehicle Inspections across the board.

13. Improve communications between Inspection Stations and the Motor Vehicle Branch so that mechanics are fully aware of their responsibilities.

14. Minimum standard on tire tread depth has to be raised to a minimum of 4/32 and tread depth should be measured across the full width of the tread. Clients advised that their tires are approaching replacement time.

13. Multimedia public awareness campaign on driving while fatigued and the dangers of winter driving in this snow belt province.

14. DOT Inspection of Multi-Function Activity Vehicles (MFAVs) held to the same standard as yellow school buses, every six months in DOT garages only, not in private sector garages.

15. Spot inspections of MFAVs and log books for pre-trip inspections.

16. DOT implement a trigger value for road drop edge maintenance to 2.5 inches (compared to Nova Scotia trigger value of 4 inches).

17. If the estimated time of arrival (ETA) from an off-site extra-curricular activity is after 10 pm, then the team is to stay overnight. No night driving after 10 pm.

18. Transportation to off-site extra-curricular activities be part of the core funding provided by the Department of Education. Transportation of students should not be dependant on fund-raising on the school level.

19. Drivers should drive no more than the recommended hours of driving. (14 hrs on duty time).

20. Process in place to ensure recommendations from this Coroners Inquest are monitored, audited and enforced.

21. On an on-going basis, counselling to educate children on grief and suicide prevention as part of the school curriculum.

22. We want some kind of process in place so that persons employed by the Department of Education who fail to fulfill their duties as outlined in the Guidelines, Policies, and Regulations of the Department are reprimanded. The reprimand is recognized and serves as a reminder to other staff that they MUST do their job or they will be confronted with a reprimand or dismissal.

23. We want the new Multi-Function Activity Vehicles (MFAV) to be held to the same standards as yellow school buses as noted in the Pupil Transportation Regulations Education Act 2001-51, specifically School Vehicle Driver Responsibilities (sections 11-18) and Vehicle Specifications and Maintenance (sections 19-22).

24. When there are upgrades or new purchases of MFAVs, that they must include air brakes.