Fatal school bus crash: The seat belt controversy ignites

At the moment, there is no indication that wearing the belt would have saved the life of the young boy who died in Leicester, in the Center de Quebec. However, the event brings this measure considered by a working group on school bus safety to the fore once again.

In 2020, the group also referred to wearing a seat belt It can provide an extra level of safety for school buses during rare and dangerous collisions.

Pilot projects on the feasibility of implementing such a procedure are underway in Sudbury, Ontario, and the school districts of Fraser Cascade and Nanaimo-Ladysmith, British Columbia.


However, wearing a seat belt may not be the miracle recipe, warns Luc LaFrance, chief executive of the Bus Carriers Association. Such a procedure would raise issues, particularly in its application to young children.

What is still worrying [c’est] How do I make sure they are all attached? When we’re in our family car, we’ll have two, three, four kids, so easy to keep an eye on. A school bus can accommodate up to 72 passengersMr. Lafrance identifies. This is the main part.

This is why hiring a supervisor can become a must. On the Sudbury side, what we’re told is that things look fine, but then again, there’s an extra person on the bus to make sure the kids are trapped. What will it be like when there is no supervisor? Asked.

One million students are transported daily

The CEO states that school bus transportation remains safe, particularly due to the protection afforded by the access of higher, wider and farther seats, allowing children to be protected.

The system we currently have must be acknowledged. we [n’avait] No deaths since 1986, no serious injuries for several years, thought Mr. Lafrance.

« We should always put things into perspective with the number of students. We’re talking about more than 500,000 students who take the bus day and night for 182 days of the school year. We have an excellent record. Will the belts improve this record? This is what needs to be analyzed »

Quote from Luc LaFrance, President and CEO of the Bus Carriers Association

The flashing stop system, which forces motorists to stop when approaching a bus, also makes the bus less dangerous than the car. According to Transport Canada, we are the safest form of road transport, adds Mr. Lafrance.

Close-up of a deployed school bus stop sign.

The blinker-stop system protects students, according to the Bus Carriers Association, although it is not always respected.

Photo: Radio Canada

We must continue to do a very objective analysis of the equipment at hand, whether it be belts or something else, to arrive at safer equipment despite our good track record..

When the working group was formed in 2019, Ottawa’s goal was to publish the official standards around January 2020. Mr Lafrance does not know if the new measures will come into effect soon. You should ask the Ministry of Transportation, confirms.


For its part, Ottawa is satisfied with the indication that it is working with the counties on this file.

We will continue to work with our regional partners and school bus operators to ensure that children’s safety is a priority when determining seat belt use., notes Allison Saint-Jeann, a spokesman for the Secretary of Transportation.

In July 2018, we amended the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations to add technical requirements on how seat belts should be installed on school buses, should the district, school board or operator choose to do so. It is up to them to decide whether to install seat belts.Mrs. Saint-Jean concludes.

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