Monday, October 19, 2009

Unbelievable: School violates its own policies by putting all season tires on front of new BHS vehicles: Children's safety not a priority

BHS Phantoms new multifunction vehicle in Goodyear Tire parking lot in Bathurst October 19, 2009
Today I received a call from someone who informed me that the smaller one of two new Bathurst High School Multifunction vehicles was sitting in the parking lot of the Goodyear Tire on Tetagouche Hill.

I was surprised because I thought that any maintenance on the new vehicles was supposed to be done at the Department of Transportation shop, so I decided to go up to the Goodyear Tire to see if it was true and to see for myself what kind of tires were on the vehicle.

Policy 513 of Department of Education states winter tires between November 1 - April 30

According to to the Department of Education's Policy 513, buses transporting children are supposed to have winter tires.

Policy 513, S. 6.8 b) states

"Buses must meet the following requirements

b) are equipped with winter tires between November 1 and April 30."

Click here to view the entire Policy 513

Bus in Goodyear Tire parking lot

Sure enough, the small, MFV was parked in the Goodyear parking lot. I got out of the car and looked at the tires and couldn't believe what I was seeing. The two front wheel tires were all season tires, the same tires that had been on the vehicle since I don't know when, and the back tires were winter tires. This seems to be in violation of Policy 513, Section 6.8 b), which states that only winter tires should be on the buses between November 1 and April 30.

Wouldn't you know it, just at that moment, who arrived but one of the BHS teachers, Mr. Robichaud, who had testified at the Coroners Inquest, and soon to follow him was Mr. MacDonald, who (correct me if I am wrong) but I believe he was the activity organizer for extra-curricular sports at the time our sons were killed. If I recall correctly, Mr. MacDonald was the one who organized the vans' usage and therefore, he would have been the one who assigned Mr. Lord the white van to drive that day.

Front all season M S tire on the new Bathurst High School multifunction vehicle October 19, 2009Around the same time, an employee of the Goodyear Tire came up to us as we were all standing there. I don't think he realized who I was. I asked him "That's not a winter tire is it? It's an all season tire on the front" and he said something to the effect of "Yes, that's what they wanted". Then I asked, "Isn't it better to have all winter tires on the vehicle?" and he said "Yes."

I tried to get Mr. Robichaud's attention but he ignored me. He climbed into the vehicle to drive it away. Meantime, I asked Mr. MacDonald why they have all season tires on the front and winter tires on the back. He said it was in the Policy. He refused to talk anymore and just left.

After that we decided to go do our own research about winter tires vs all season tires so we visited a local mechanic who runs a garage and inspection station and another fellow who runs a tire dealership, both in Bathurst. Both these people are experienced professionals who know what they are talking about when it comes to vehicle maintenance and winter tires. Both were unequivical in their belief that in New Brunswick in the winter, you use winter tires, not all seasons on the front and winters in the back. "I go for safety, and winter tires are the safest way to travel in the winter because they have a better grip in winter driving. They give an extra measure of protection."

As one of the experts told us, "I'd rather have a cheap winter tire than an expensive all season any day."

So, knowing that winter tires are better, that they are preferred by the experts and that given the choice between all season tires and winter tires the experts would use winter tires, and knowing what we have been through these last two years, why did Mr. MacDonald and Bathurst High School not choose winter tires for the new Multi-Function Vehicles.

They haven't learned a thing

It's obvious to me that they haven't learned a thing. They continue to go on the cheap, cutting corners when it comes to purchasing one of the most important parts of a vehicle - the tires. The difference between winter tires and all seasons is about $200-$300. They have enough money to buy the best tires for our children's safety but apparently they can't be bothered because children's safety is NOT their priority, no matter how much they say it is in their press releases.