GREG DERR/The Patriot Ledger
School van inspections by the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Randolph Police caught five illegal operators. Houng Thi Ly at left watches as Officer Robert Legrice issues ten violations totaling $780 in fines and one criminal complaint for the operation of the red van which had ten children aboard and no permits. Only eight children are allowed by law.
By Nancy Reardon
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Oct 10, 2008 @ 01:57 PM
Last update Oct 10, 2008 @ 02:19 PM
An early morning sting operation by Randolph police and state inspectors busted five drivers illegally transporting children to schools this morning.
The sting operation was a direct response to several complaints to police from school officials about dangerously overcrowded and unmarked vans dropping off loads of students - many without required plates or "School Bus" markings.
Of the 78 vehicles stopped this morning by police officers and inspectors from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, two drivers face pending criminal violations for overcrowding, said Ann Dufresne, RMV spokeswoman.
Police issued a total of 56 violations that added up to $3,240 in fines, Dufresne said.
Three vans weren't correctly registered as student transport vehicles, and two drivers lacked a special license called a 7D.
A properly registered school bus or van has a yellow pupil license plate, "school bus" signage on top with flashing lights, and a specially-licensed driver , and it also must undergo stringent safety inspections.
Randolph eliminated school bus service in 2007, leaving parents to get their children to class each day. Private van companies saw an opportunity for business, and placed fliers around schools and ads in local papers.
There are more than 5,000 vehicles registered in Massachusetts to transport students, and about 7,000 drivers licensed to take students to school, according to the Registry.