New party bus safety measures introduced in time for grad

Claire Trevena

AS graduation season approaches, teenagers and their parents will benefit from new regulations put in place by the Province to further strengthen the party bus industry.

“Grad season should be a memorable time for teens to celebrate their accomplishments with friends and family. Unfortunately, this industry has been largely unregulated for too long,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We never want to see avoidable incidents destroying lives. That’s why we’re bringing in new rules that will further strengthen the party bus industry and help ensure our kids arrive home safely at the end of the night.”

Starting with new bookings made after April 1, operators will now be required to have a safety monitor on board when there are minors travelling in a party bus or limousine. The operator will be responsible for ensuring that the safety monitor has the appropriate first-aid training and record check requirements. Safety monitors must obtain certifications that meet minimum first-aid training requirements, including how to administer Naloxone.

“We have fought hard for these regulation changes, but we didn’t do it alone. We have so much gratitude to George Heyman, Claire Trevena and many others,” said Danielle Raymond, sister of Shannon Raymond. “All we wanted was for people, especially teens, to be safe. Had someone been looking out for Shannon that night, we think she’d still be here. Her death was so senseless and preventable. We carry her loss with us, and we are going to miss her every day for the rest of our lives. We are thankful for these regulations, which will help improve safety for teenagers who travel on a party bus.”

This builds on the work the ministry has recently undertaken to improve safety in the industry, including raising fines for all party buses and commercial vehicles that do not display valid decals showing they’ve passed a safety inspection. Fines have been raised from $81 to $318, among the highest fines in Western Canada.

In addition, operators are also required to obtain consent forms from parents and guardians, so they know children and teenagers are safe when getting into a party bus.

The Passenger Transportation Amendment Act, passed in fall 2018, includes a substantial increase in the administrative fine the registrar can give operators who fail to comply with the act, the regulations, or the terms and conditions of their licence from $1,500 to a maximum of $50,000. This new regulation will go into force later in 2019.

The ministry reminds the public that it is against the law to consume alcohol and cannabis inside a vehicle. The RCMP and local police will conduct focused enforcement during the graduation season and will continue to ticket people breaking the law.