Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness has joined calls to start installing seatbelts in new B.C. school buses.
Throness has teamed with Agassiz school bus driver Gary Lillico, whose online petition for the measure to begin in the fall of 2021 has attracted 124,000 signatures after a year.
“It grows daily, I spend almost every day working on it,” Lillico told reporters at the legislature Monday.
— Tom Fletcher (@tomfletcherbc) November 18, 2019
Lillico said he started the petition about a year ago after then-federal transport minister Marc Garneau announced a review of a 2010 Transport Canada study, which had never been released until then, came out.
“And it basically said that compartmentalization fails to protect the children in side-impact and rollover accidents,” Lillico said.
Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said Monday that the province is participating in a federal task force on the issue, and she will await the result of that before taking any action.
Throness presented a private member’s bill Monday in an effort to gain attention for the measure. It would amend B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act to require the change for new buses purchased after September 2021, to give school districts a chance to plan.
Throness told the legislature that Transport Canada statistics from 1995 to 2004 show more than 25,000 collisions involving school buses resulted in five passenger deaths and more than 3,400 injuries.
“The public policy response should be what is required of every other vehicle in Canada, and that is three-point seatbelts,” Throness said.