BC Liberal Childcare Critic Laurie Throness on Monday 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,” said 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, B.C., 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.
“I have driven thousands of children to and from school,” said Lillico. “Drivers like myself feel a strong personal responsibility for the safety of these children. I’m thankful to see MLA Throness work so closely with us to bring this bill forward.”
Gary Lillico’s Seatbelts for Canadian School Busses petition can be found here:
BILL M – 2019
Motor Vehicle Amendment ACT, 2019
HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:
1 The Motor Vehicle Act, S.B.C. 1996, c.318, is amended by adding the following section:
Seat belt assembly
220 (3) A person must not sell, offer for sale or purchase a school bus after September 1, 2021, unless it is equipped with Type 2 seat belt assemblies for use in all seats in accordance with Government of Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations.
2 This Act comes into force on the date of Royal Assent.