Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Moncton Times Transcript: Concerned mother to meet with Education Minister

Times Transcript
Mother of Bathurst crash victim to press Jody Carr on bus safety issue

A11 BY SHAWN BERRY TIMES & TRANSCRIPT STAFF

Education Minister Jody Carr will meet today with the mother of a teen killed in the 2008 van crash in Bathurst.

Click here to read the original article in the Moncton Times Transcript

The recent news that two buses carrying 60 middle-school students from Sackville were ordered off the road by authorities in Nova Scotia because of balding tires is prompting Isabelle Hains to press Carr to put an end to school groups using private buses.

Hains will ask Carr to abide by the final recommendations of the coroner's inquest into the crash that claimed the life of her son Daniel and six of his teammates from the Bathurst High School basketball team, as well as their coach's wife.

The recommendations in question state that only yellow school buses or multi-functional vehicles driven by qualified school-bus drivers should be used for travel to and from extra-curricular school events.

In the most recent event, the two buses owned by Prestige Bus Service of Sackville, were stopped by Nova Scotia motor vehicle inspectors in Halifax on Nov. 24. The officers ordered the defective tires immediately replaced.

The driver of one of the buses told a Halifax newspaper that two worn tires on the tag axles of each bus were identified prior to departure from Sackville and a decision was made to replace them the next day.

The incident was one of concern yesterday during question period in the legislature.

"We were very lucky that our neighbours in Nova Scotia were so vigilant in forbidding the buses from going back on the highway," said H├ędard Albert, the opposition critic for Education and Early Childhood Development.

"Obviously something went wrong if this bus got approval to take to the road in such a state," he said, calling on the government to provide assurance such a situation won't be repeated.

Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors said the incident is under review.

"The Department of Public Safety is investigating this matter as we speak," Trevors told the legislature.

But he said that because the company in question has been charged in Nova Scotia over the incident, his department won't comment on the matter until it has completed a full investigation.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Jody Carr said his department will provide more information on the incident as it becomes available.

"It is also the responsibility of bus drivers and the owners of the companies to adhere to the standards every single day. It was very clear that these standards had not been met while travelling in Nova Scotia. It was very clear that highway inspection services worked well," Carr said.

Carr has instructed school boards across the province not to use Prestige's services until further notice.

Click here to read the original article in the Moncton Times Transcript