Each day, Canadian children travel to and from school on 51,670 school buses
Today Transport Minister Marc Garneau, along with both B.C. Minister of Education Rob Fleming, and B.C. Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena, jointly announced the start of a pilot project involving the use of seatbelts in school buses in two school districts in British Columbia.
The first phase begins immediately in the Fraser-Cascade school district. A second phase is anticipated to follow in January 2021 in the school district of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
“I would like to commend the Government of British Columbia and the school districts involved for their leadership in joining with the Government of Canada to conduct this pilot project involving seatbelts on school buses. School buses are the safest way to transport children to and from school, but we are always looking at ways to make them even safer. This pilot is an important step in this direction.” Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau
The pilot project involves a limited number of new school buses, equipped with three-point seatbelts that follow the latest federal safety standards.
School buses are the safest way to transport an estimated 2.2 million Canadian children to school. In keeping with a recent report of the Task Force on School Bus Safety, Strengthening School Bus Safety in Canada, seatbelts are being examined as a potential way to further improve safety.
The need for pilots is based on the findings of the Task Force on School Bus Safety, a group comprised of federal / provincial / territorial representatives, and a range of school bus safety stakeholders. There are number of operational considerations relative to seatbelt use, such as proper seatbelt adjustment and children moving around in their seats or unbuckling.
These pilot projects will help gather information needed for any future application of the use of seat belts, if needed.
The Fraser-Cascade pilot project is the first of its kind in Canada, and will help validate the Task Force’s Guidelines for the Use of Seatbelts on School Buses.