Feb. 23, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The Government of New Brunswick now requires all winter tires for its fleet of multi-function activity buses (MFABs) during the winter. The new policy is based upon tests completed by Transport Canada that showed this was the safest option.
Last month, the province asked Transport Canada to perform tests on MFABs at highway speeds to determine the safest configuration of tires for these vehicles.
In the absence of national testing for MFABs, New Brunswick had followed the advice of an independent consultant and two leading tire manufacturers and had been using four winter tires on the back and two ribbed, all-season tires on the front.
"There was not a national precedent to follow for these vehicles," said Transportation Minister Denis Landry. "Given that vehicle testing is a federal responsibility, and we were facing differing opinions on what tires should be used, we felt MFABs and their tire usage should be examined, especially at higher speeds."
Transport Canada conducted four comparisons with the 21-passenger MFABs using 16-inch tires and driving at highway speeds, using all winter tires and then using two ribbed all season tires on the front.
"Transport Canada has advised that the MFABs perform and manoeuvre better with six winter tires," said Landry. "Therefore, New Brunswick is making winter tires mandatory on these vehicles. I commend Transport Canada for working with us to help inform all jurisdictions on the safest tire configuration for MFABs."
Landry said his department has invested more than $5,000 ordering 28 winter tires for 14 MFABs. The tires are expected to arrive within days and will be installed over the next week at Department of Transportation maintenance shops.
Education Minister Roland Haché said the government is delivering on its commitment to implement Transport Canada's recommendation.
"Ensuring student safety is our number one priority," said Hache. "Now that a clear federal recommendation - one that takes into account the specific vehicle, its use, our climate, travel routes and speed limits - is in place, we will take immediate action to ensure our MFABs are equipped with six winter tires."
MEDIA CONTACTS: Andrew Holland, communications, Department of Transportation, 506-453-5634; Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Department of Education, 506-444-2455