Three Bathurst mothers who lost their sons in a horrific crash nearly two years ago are asking Denis Landry, the Minister of Transportation and Roland Hache, the Minister of Education, to use one of the 21 passenger MFAVs in their fleet for scientific testing in a state of the art facility in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.
Isabelle Hains, Marcella Kelly and Ana Acevedo had arranged with Contintental Tires North America Inc. R&D to undergo testing that will solve once and for all the issue of winter tires vs all season tires on the 21 passenger MFAVs. The MFAVs replaced the 15 passenger vans that were banned by the province of New Brunswick following the tragic deaths of seven high school basketball players from Bathurst.
Joerg Burfien, Director, Continental Tire North America, Inc. R&D - The Americas, has proposed that Continental Tire would be prepared to conduct tire tests of various fitments on a MFAV 21 passenger mini-bus of the type used in Bathurst, NB.
The 21 passenger MFAVs have been a bone of contention since the mothers discovered in October that they were outfitted with all season tires in the front and winter tires in the back, contrary to the opinion of Canada's leading tire experts including Nigel Moritimer of Transport Canada and John Mahler of Wheels Magazine, who have stated publicly that these type of vehicles need winter tires all around.
Earlier this month, the mothers were put in in touch with Continental Tires, one of the world's largest tire manufacturers and a leader in the tire industry. Contintental offered to conduct tests on the same type of vehicle at its testing facility in Michigan with one catch: it needs a vehicle to test.
"We thought we had a vehicle so we did not approach anyone else," says Isabelle Hains, "But today is the deadline and we still have not been able to confirm whether we can use that vehicle or not. That is why we are asking the Ministers of Transportation and Education to allow us to use one of the 21 passenger MFAVs in their fleet for the test in January."
Marcella Kelly says "We can work out the details later. All we need is a yes or no by tomorrow morning. If it's "no", we've lost the only chance we have to conduct a free scientific test by Continental."
The mothers say they have to let Continental know one way or the other by the end of the day today, or tomorrow morning at the latest.