Garneau announces task force to look into seatbelts on school buses
The federal government is creating a task force to explore the possibility of retrofitting school buses with seatbelts, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said on Monday.
The provinces, territories, school boards and school bus manufacturers will be included in the task force, which will analyze the implications of installing seatbelts on existing buses, Garneau said in Montreal where he was meeting with provincial transport ministers.
While the federal government can mandate the use of seatbelts on new buses, Garneau said the retrofitting of existing school buses falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces.
“We think it’s better for us to work together,” Garneau said. “If you’re mandating on a large school bus with 90 students on it… then there are implications for how you ensure that they are properly attached, properly worn, what happens if there is an emergency and everyone has to get out of the bus very quickly.
“There are issues that come with the decision of making [seatbelts] mandatory.”
Pilot projects will be set up “as soon as possible” to assess the use of seatbelts on school buses, Garneau said.
He added that school buses currently have safety features, including crush-resistant roof structures and electronic stability control, and that authorities will “continue to look at ways to improve school bus safety.”
Garneau also announced that the country’s transportation ministers have agreed to develop an entry-level training protocol for semi truck drivers.