Yesterday, BC Liberal Childcare Critic Laurie Throness introduced the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2019, which would require all new school buses in B.C. to be equipped with seatbelts.
“Hundreds of thousands of kids take the bus to school every day and though the likelihood of an accident is small, events like the Humboldt tragedy and the bus crash near Port Alberni remind us that accidents can and do happen,” says Throness. “I hope the NDP will swiftly call the bill to debate or bring their own to the floor so that we can ensure the safety of our children remains a top priority.”
The bill would implement regulations already passed by Transport Canada that provide standards for the installation of seatbelts in school buses for provinces, school boards or companies that wish to do so.
If passed, the bill would require any new school bus purchased for operation in B.C. after September 2021 to be equipped with seatbelts. It would not require the retrofit of existing buses, which would be very expensive for school boards.
Gary Lillico, a school bus driver who lives in Agassiz, has promoted the idea through a petition that calls on the province to take action. Gary spearheaded the petition a year ago that now bears 122,000 signatures.
Locally SD58 Nicola-Similkameen recently purchased a new fleet of five buses for the district. While the buses are not currently equipped with seatbelts, they were designed for seatbelts to be easily added.
The board was investigating the issue of seatbelts but wanted to wait for Provincial regulations to come down first and didn't want to proceed separately from the Government.
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