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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
RANDOLPH -
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.

http://www.patriotledger.com/homepa...llegally-transporting-Randolph-schoolchildren
 
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Sting operation busts drivers for illegally transporting students


GREG DERR/The Patriot Ledger
Registry Field Inspector Joanne Horigan ,center and Registrar Rachel Kaprielian(right) talk with van driver Lynn Cleveland about some missing paperwork.
More related photos


http://www.patriotledger.com/homepa...s-drivers-for-illegally-transporting-students

By NANCY REARDON
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Oct 11, 2008 @ 08:15 AM
RANDOLPH -
The drivers of dozens of private vans, carrying hundreds of Randolph schoolchildren, have been cited by state and local officials for 56 safety and other violations - from overcrowding to a lack of seatbelts to not being properly licensed.

Randolph police and Registry of Motor Vehicles officials pulled over 78 vehicles in an early morning sting on Friday at six schools. The operation was prompted by school officials' complaints this year of dangerously jam-packed and unmarked vans pulling in and out of schools.

Outside John F. Kennedy Elementary School, police and RMV inspectors chased down a red Chevrolet van with tinted windows, shouting, "Stop that van!" Inside were 10 children - two above the legal limit - and some without seatbelts.

Rachel Kaprielian, the state registrar of motor vehicles, described that scene as "the worst I've ever seen."

The van driver, Huang Thi Ly, of Randolph, was cited for three of the seven criminal violations discovered during the sting.
Those violations include three vans that weren't registered to transport students, and two overcrowded vans. Two drivers did not have the special 7D license required to transport students, which require passing a written exam covering issues pertinent to children and a criminal background check.

Overall, 48 drivers were cited for some kind of violation. The transport vans contracted by the school district for special needs students were cited only for minor compliance issues, Superintendent Richard Silverman said.

"I'm not surprised at all by the violations we found," Randolph School Safety Officer Robert Lebrice said.

Many van drivers, like Ly, started transporting Randolph schoolchildren last September, when the district eliminated its bus service.

That decision opened up an opportunity for independent drivers and private van companies to help parents who were scrambling to get their children to school. But according to police, not all of the drivers and van companies met the strict requirements for transporting students.
Ly's van only had livery plates and she didn't have a 7D license. She showed investigators her 7D application forms, which were tucked in the glove compartment.

Police wrote nine violations to Ly and one to her husband, Thai Than H Nguyen, the van's owner. She owes $780 in fines and must appear in court for a hearing on the overcrowding.

Carmen Martinez, owner of Newton-based "Are We There Yet?," faces the same violations for two of her vans, the other driven by Debbie Rios, 19, which were pulled over at the Kennedy school without the required license plates or signs identifying them as school buses.

Rios' van was carrying the legal limit of eight students when she was stopped by investigators, but she had just dropped four children off at another school.

Riosdid not have a 7D license nor is she eligible for one, because she hasn't had her regular license for the requisite three years.

"We may not be doing things that are altogether the right way, but we are responsible," Martinez said. "We do provide a great service."
Martinez became angry when investigators questioned her. At one point, an officer asked her to step away from the van still full of children when she started crying.

The blinking "school bus" signs needed to help bring Martinez's vans into compliance cost around $500 each, she said. She now owes $915 in fines and must appear in court.

The privately contracted van services are a convenient option for many parents, but they're not cheap.

Martinez, for example, charges $50 a week per student for round-trip rides, and $35 a week for one-way transport.

Lebrice, Randolph's safety officer, said he'd like to send notices home to parents to educate them about van requirements.

Superintendent Silverman said the district would like to provide bus service in the future but so far has not discussed it. He emphasized that the school district has nothing to do with contracting the private vans.

"Those are not school buses, as far as we're concerned," he said. "It's the way the parents choose to send their children to school."

Nancy Reardon may be reached at [email protected]

BY THE NUMBERS

78 vehicles inspected at six Randolph schools
56 total violations

30 vans met all requirements

2 violations, in which the van driver didn't have a 7D license
3 violations, in which vehicles did not have the right plates

$3,240 in total fines

2 pending criminal violations, for overcrowded vans

Sources: Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles

SCHOOL BUDGETS AND BUSES IN RANDOLPH

March 27, 2007: Voters reject a $4.16 million Proposition 2 1/2 override, the third override attempt in four years to fail.

Aug. 24, 2007: School board votes to eliminate school busing, saving $452,000.

Sept. 4, 2007: First day without buses marred by snarled traffic, delays.

Sept. 6, 2007: Only two parents attend first school committee meeting after school starts without busing, and neither of them complain.

April 1, 2008: Voters pass $5.48 million override for the school system, allowing them to fill 56 full-time positions; but bus service is not restored.

WHAT IS A 7D VEHICLE?

Any van, sedan or station wagon other than a school bus that transports students must be registered as a 7D vehicle. Such vehicles must have:

Yellow "School Pupil" plates - not "Livery" plates

A "School Bus" sign on top, with flashing lights

Passed two safety inspections each year, in addition to an annual state inspection

A seatbelt for every seat

An emergency buzzer or warning light to alert the driver of any open door
A fire extinguisher, first aid kit and flares on board

Cannot transport more than eight children at once, regardless of vehicle size

What is a 7D license?

A 7D vehicle transporting schoolchildren can only be operated by a driver with a 7D license. That driver must:

Be at least 21 years of age, with a regular license for at least three consecutive years

Pass a criminal background check, run by the state's Criminal History Systems Board

Pass a written test related to transporting children, plus an eye exam and a physical exam

Source: Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
 
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Did anyone really believe the 1992 merger was a financial and public safety benefit for the citizens? We now have numerous park rangers with nothing to do at the State House (hardly any watching the state parks) and now RMV inspectors. Deval wants the MSP to figure out how to cut it's budget, but these duplication of services are created and funded.
 
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We should start a lottery to guess when these RMV Inspectors get Chapter 90 authority. And because they're issuing citations, they should also be able to make arrests. And since they're making arrests, shouldn't they be armed? :rolleyes:
 

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Retired Fed, Active Special
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We should start a lottery to guess when these RMV Inspectors get Chapter 90 authority. And because they're issuing citations, they should also be able to make arrests. And since they're making arrests, shouldn't they be armed? :rolleyes:
Bruce,
Are you operating your Police-Prophet Chrystal ball with the proper permits from the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure?
:rock:
 

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I love the patches they look similar to the old RMV Patches:

I agree the RMV Police should have been merged along with the now useless capitol police. The MDC Police should have stayed.
 

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Zombie Hunter
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We should start a lottery to guess when these RMV Inspectors get Chapter 90 authority. And because they're issuing citations, they should also be able to make arrests. And since they're making arrests, shouldn't they be armed?
Well, I won't say never, because of of recent events, although I find it difficult to believe the administration could re-start a new branch of the state and claim it saves money somehow. The state is starving for cash, so I find it unlikely they would pick this time to start a new uniformed branch, be it RMV or Capitol Police.

I'm sure the presence of the Randolph Police was to address any possible safety concern for the inspectors.

On a different note, what is with unnecessary use of the word "sting" in the article? Have all journalists failed English 101? "Sting" implies using some sort of deception or con to trick people. Sending people with warrants a letter telling them they won a boat or vacation, then scooping them up as they come to claim it is a sting. Standing in front of school handing out tickets is traffic enforcement. I don't consider sitting on the side of the road looking for sticker or Chapter 90-7 violations exactly "sting" work. Just another reason I despise journalists.
 
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Well, I won't say never, because of of recent events, although I find it difficult to believe the administration could re-start a new branch of the state and claim it saves money somehow. The state is starving for cash, so I find it unlikely they would pick this time to start a new uniformed branch, be it RMV or Capitol Police.
It wouldn't be overnight; the death of a thousand cuts. I can just picture Coupe Deval at the press conference now; "We're utilizing existing resources to make the roads safer....blah, blah".
 

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This has happened twice now in NH as witnessed in our most recent bitter feud.
 

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Grim reaper
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1,361 Posts
We should start a lottery to guess when these RMV Inspectors get Chapter 90 authority. And because they're issuing citations, they should also be able to make arrests. And since they're making arrests, shouldn't they be armed? :rolleyes:
 
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