Friday, September 18, 2009

B.C. mom joins fight to ban 15-seat vans

By Richard Foot, Canwest News Service

(Click here to read full story in the Victoria Times Colonist)

September 18, 2009

Stella GurrA grieving British Columbia mother has joined forces with the families of the seven boys killed in last year's infamous high school van crash in New Brunswick, adding her voice to their struggle for safer student travel laws and a nationwide ban on 15-passenger vans.

One year ago next week, 26-year-old Michael Benedetti Gurr was killed when the Ford 15-passenger van he was riding in flipped several times on the Trans-Canada Highway near Brandon, Man.

His mother Stella Gurr, who lives in Nanaimo, B.C., says her son — like the seven boys in New Brunswick — would be alive today if the federal government had banned the sale of the crash-prone vans in Canada.

She has spoken to some of the New Brunswick parents and promised to support their campaign to have the provinces, and Ottawa, implement the safety recommendations of a coroner's inquest into the high school tragedy.

Chief among the recommendations is that 15-passenger vans should be banned for student travel, and children should only be driven to extra-curricular school events in certified minibuses or school buses with professional drivers.

Gurr says governments should go even further, and ban 15-passenger vans not only from schools but for all passenger purposes.

"I called one of the parents last week and said: 'You know, you're fighting over there and I have my own battle over here. We should work together.'"

Michael Gurr, a former football player for Champlain College in Quebec, was a drummer for the Vancouver rock band The Hotel Lobbyists. Click here to read the rest of the article in the Victoria Times Colonist

This article also appeared in the Nanaimo Daily News on September 19, 2009. Click here to read the article.