Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Metro Calgary: New Brunswick mom wants new school bus rules

FREDERICTON - A mother from northern New Brunswick has launched her latest effort to improve the safety of student travel in the province, almost three years after her son was killed in a school van crash.

Isabelle Hains says she wants the province to enact the remaining recommendations from a coroner's inquest into the January 2008 crash near Bathurst, N.B., that claimed the life of her son Daniel, six other members of a high school boys' basketball team and the wife of their coach.

The van they were travelling in collided with a transport truck during a snowstorm.

Since then the province has prohibited the use of similar 15-passenger vans for student travel and set tougher rules for winter tires on school vehicles.

Hains wants only yellow school buses or multi-purpose mini-buses that are driven by qualified bus drivers used for student travel.

"If student transportation is really the priority of the New Brunswick government then I challenge the premier and his ministers ... to do what we all know must be done," Hains said Wednesday.

"The government is denying the safety of our children ... they need to step up and put our children in safe vehicles."

Hains and other parents of the boys killed in the crash have been lobbying for tougher rules since the tragedy.

Hains met with Education Minister Jody Carr Wednesday to push for more changes.

Carr said he will review the regulations and the coroner's report.

"We take the issue of health and safety of students very seriously," Carr said before meeting with Hains. "I will be reaching out to her to work with her as well as all of the stakeholders in New Brunswick to make sure that health and safety of students is of utmost priority."

The latest call for changes follows an incident last week when two buses carrying 60 New Brunswick students were stopped in Nova Scotia over tire-tread standards.

Carr has suspended the use of the Sackville-based bus company until his department and the Department of Public Safety complete their review of the incident. He said he expects to have the results of the review before the end of the week.