"As we suspected, there will be no charges laid by the New Brunswick Department of Public Safety in the Sackville Prestige Bus Service incident where 60 children from Marshview Middle School were driven to Halifax on two separate charter buses with bald tires in late November, 2010.
Citing "precedent" the Minister of Public Safety, Robert Trevors, has declined to lay charges because Nova Scotia has already laid charges in the incident. According to Minister Trevors, proper procedures and policies were followed and the investigating officers "concluded that further charges for the same violations would be without precedent, and inappropriate."
We'll tell you what's inappropriate: it's inappropriate that three years after the Boys in Red tragedy, students in the province of New Brunswick are still being transported in buses with bald tires in winter and the crime goes unpunished.
Nobody at the Department of Education paid a price for this incident either as employees there also followed proper "policy", according to the Minister of Education, Jody Carr. To quote: "I am satisfied that appropriate policies were followed by District 2 and Marshview Middle School to ensure student safety while on an out-of-province field trip," Carr said on December 3.
We say that any time childrens' lives are endangered by unsafe transportation practices and policies of the Department of Education that precedents MUST be set to prevent it from happening again. In 2009, Brice Noel, a volunteer coach / bus driver from Jacquet River was charged and fined $172 by the Department of Public Safety for failing to keep a log of his pre-trip inspection. We assumed that the actions of Prestige Bus Service of Sackville warranted similar, if not more severe treatment, given the number of buses and children involved.
Apparently, the Boys in Red tragedy wasn't enough to set precedent. Almost three years to the day and the people with the power and authority to improve student transportation safety haven't learned a thing. Prestige Bus Services and the senior administrators at District 2 didn't even get a slap on the wrist. Laws, policies, rules and regulations can be violated and nobody is held accountable. It's shameful and borders on criminal endangerment because the message is clear: in New Brunswick, it's all right to transport children in winter on buses with bald tires.
Meantime, we are still waiting for word from the Minister of Education, Jody Carr, regarding his proposed student transportation stakeholders "committee" which was raised in our December 1, 2010 meeting in Fredericton. With the 3rd anniversary of the Boys in Red Tragedy just days away, we believe the Minister of Education must show good faith and strike the committee with a view to dealing with the concerns and issues of safe student transportation without any further delay."
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For further information, contact:
From: "Trevors, Hon. Robert (DPS/MSP)"
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2011 4:13 PM
Subject: RE: Isabelle Hains question about charge under Motor Vehicle Act and MVI stations in NB
Dear Ms. Hains:
Thank you for your e-mail regarding Prestige Bus Service of Sackville, NB.
The incident on November 24th, 2010 in Nova Scotia has resulted in charges in Nova Scotia that are before the courts. It also led to an investigation in New Brunswick, which has now concluded. Our officers have concluded that the case has reached its proper conclusion. The buses were pulled over, violations were discovered and documented, charges were laid, and the buses ordered out of service until the violations remedied. Had the buses been intercepted in New Brunswick rather than in Nova Scotia, they would have been subject to inspection on the same standards, and the same charges laid. The officers have concluded that further charges for the same violations would be without precedent, and inappropriate.
The Department has four employees with the title of “Motor Vehicle Inspector”, their primary responsibility is the inspection of licensed motor vehicle inspection stations. There are approximately fourteen hundred motor vehicle safety inspection stations licensed throughout the province. It is important to note that the inspection of buses and other commercial vehicles is undertaken by carriers and their employees daily, as well as by qualified mechanics at inspection stations at least twice annually and by Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers on a random basis. We have fifty-eight Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers carrying out these duties throughout the province. A team of four National Safety Code auditors complements the highway safety efforts of Motor Vehicle Inspectors and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers by auditing the records of carriers.
The Department of Public Safety also has twenty-three compliance officers who conduct inspections under the Liquor Control Act, the Motor Vehicle Act, the Gaming Control Act, the Smoke-free Places Act, the Tobacco Sales Act, the Salvage Dealers Licencing Act, the Film and Video Act, and the Private Investigators and Security Services Act.
I appreciate the time you have taken to provide your observations and insight regarding safety particularly as it applies to students travelling on our highways. Highway safety is a priority for our Government and I appreciate the time you have taken to point out potential safety problems.
Hon. Robert B. Trevors
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: November 29, 2010 4:11 PM
To: Trevors, Hon. Robert (DPS/MSP)
Cc: Williams, Claude (Hon.) (DOT/MDT); Alward, David Hon. (PO/CPM); Johnstone, David (DOT/MDT); email@example.com; Carr, Hon. Jody (ED); Leger, Marc (DPS/MSP) - DM/SM; O'Donnell, Charles (DPS/MSP); Doucet, Roger (ED); firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Isabelle Hains question about charge under Motor Vehicle Act and MVI stations in NB
Hon. Robert Trevors
Minister of Public Safety
P. O. Box 6000
November 29, 2010
Hon. Mr. Trevors:
I am writing to ask whether you intend to lay a charge under the Motor Vehicle Act against Prestige Bus Service of Sackville, NB for its failure to comply with the Act.
Specifically, I am referring to the incident last Wednesday, November 24, 2010, when Prestige Bus Service knowingly drove 60 students from Marshview Middle School in Sackville, NB 298 kms to Halifax, NS with bald tires. In 2009, Brice Noel, a volunteer coach / bus driver from Jacquet River was charged and fined $172 by the Department of Public Safety for failing to keep a log of his pre-trip inspection. I assume that the actions of Prestige Bus Service of Sackville warrant similar, if not more severe treatment, given the number of buses and children involved.
Second, I understand that there are four Motor Vehicle Inspectors employed by the Department of Public Safety for the entire province of New Brunswick. I am writing therefore to ask how many licensed Motor Vehicle Inspection stations there are in the province?
Third, I would like to know how many Liquor Inspectors there are in the employ of the Department of Public Safety?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and I look forward to your response.
Hon. David Alward, Premier
Hon. Claude Williams, Minister, New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure
Hon. Jody Carr, Minister, NB Department of Education
David J. Johnstone, Deputy Minister, NB Department of Transportation and Infrastructure
Marc Leger, Deputy Minister, NB Department of Public Safety
Roger Doucet, Deputy Minister, NB Department of Education
Charles O'Donnell, Registrar of Motor Vehicles, Dept. of Public Safety
Delalene Harris-Foran, President, CUPE 1253