Saturday, January 9, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Mothers Plea for Test MVAV Loan for Scientific Testing

Dear Editor:

We are three mothers from Bathurst, New Brunswick who lost our teenaged sons in a tragic collision that claimed the lives of four other Bathurst High School basketball players and the coach's wife on the night of January 12, 2008. Known as the "Boys in Red", our sons'memory lives on in the changes that have been brought about to the transportation of children to extra-curricular activities in New Brunswick and across Canada.

Boys In Red Hanging that was hand made in Bathurst and hung on the wall in the basement of Holy Family Church on the first anniversary of the tragedy
However, there are still some changes that must be made, specifically with regards to the use of winter tires on the NB Department of Education's fleet of 21 passenger Multi Function Activity Vehicles (MFAVs). We hope that your readers can help us to solve a burning question about the use of mixed tires vs winter tires on these vehicles.

Bathurst High School's 21 passenger MFAV
In October, we discovered that Bathurst High School's brand new 21 passenger MFAV had mixed tires (all seasons on the front and winter tires on the back). This is in violation of the NB Department of Education's own Policy 513 which states that MFAVs must be equipped with winter tires between November and April. It is also 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.

Two weeks ago, Continental Tires, one of the world's leading tire companies, offered to conduct free tests of the 21 passenger MFAV at its state of the art testing facility in northern Michigan. However the company does not have an appropriate vehicle in its test fleet. When we asked the Department of Education for a vehicle, they said they could not make a decision until January at the earliest. Meantime, we have confirmed that, contrary to previous reports, BHS's 21 passenger MFAV is still being used to transport children to extra curricular events despite the considerable liability issues.

We have a very narrow window of opportunity to access Continental's testing facilities: given the circumstances, we are writing to ask your readers for help in obtaining a one tonne, dual tires, rear wheel drive, Type A 21 passenger MFAV that can be used for scientific testing by Continental Tires.

We know this is an unusual request but we believe that there are angels out there who agree that the transportation of children should not be left up to speculation. Only scientific research data can prove once and for all whether this type of vehicle should be using winter tires or all seasons tires on its front wheels.

With each passing day, as winter starts to settle in and the second anniversary of our sons' deaths comes upon us, this matter becomes ever more urgent. We firmly believe that when it comes to childrens' safety, there should be no doubt in anyone's minds.

We can be contacted by email at or by telephone at 506-546-6370 / 506-548-4973 in Bathurst, New Brunswick.

Yours sincerely,

Isabelle Hains
Marcella Kelly
Ana Acevedo