Schools in Windsor-Essex restrict use of passenger vans
Toronto school board says it does not have passenger van restrictions
A speeding incident involving a Toronto teacher and a passenger van full of students has many wondering what regulations are in place to prevent this situation in Windsor.
Father Henry Carr basketball coach Paul Melnik was driving 12 players to the provincial basketball championship in Windsor, Ont., when they caught him traveling 46 km/h more than the speed limit on the 401.
That’s just 4 km/h below what is considered "stunt driving" under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
The Chatham/Kent OPP handed him a speeding ticket and also fined him for not having the proper license to be carrying that many passengers.
The fact that it was done with a passenger van full of kids, by a driver with the wrong classification of licence, has driving instructor Dan Carson crying foul.
"The speeding itself is ridiculous...and with students in the vehicle I mean come on," said Carson.
Passenger vans are regulated by many school boards, but banned by others.
Driving a vehicle with more than ten seats requires an F licence, according to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
"You require a commercial driver’s license. That’s a class F which means you're required to pass a medical, and written knowledge test ... plus, you have to take a road test," said Carson. "It takes a lot to handle a van like this one."
A representative for the Toronto Catholic District School Board said the board has "no specific policy" regulating the size of passenger vans used by schools.
But it’s a different story for The Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board, according to Manager of Policy Development Colleen Norris.
"We have an outright prohibition on any fifteen passenger vans," she said.
The board changed its policy after a New Brunswick high school basketball team collided with a transport truck travelling in a 15 passenger vehicle five years ago.
Ten to 14 passenger vans are allowed and it’s up to the principals to make sure those getting behind the wheel have the proper credentials, said Norris.
Scott Scantlebury of the Greater Essex County District School Board said the public board has even more rigid policies.
"Regulations in the field trip policy say explicitly that ten to fifteen passenger vans will not be rented for field trips," he said.
That may cover the schools but Carson said other groups haven’t followed suit.
"You got church groups. You've got boys scouts. You've got all kinds of social groups that gather and transport and may not be aware of the rules exactly," he said.
Both school boards said they do not check the driving records of those transporting students. A valid driver’s licence at the appropriate level is all that’s required.