Comment on Bus Safety April 12, 2018

The horrible tragedy in Humboldt Saskatchewan took the lives of at least two kids from St. Albert, a suburb of Edmonton that has been my home for 23 years and where my kids were raised. I don’t know the families but I suspect they were not too many degrees of separation from my family. The loss here is unimaginable.

I saw an article today where the Canadian Safety Council is calling for seatbelts on all coach-style buses. They were not yet aware of whether this bus had seatbelts.

We can never eliminate all risks but I think bus safety should be reviewed as a result of this tragedy.

I have the following thoughts/suggestions and I have sent these thoughts along to the Canada Safety Council.

All buses should have seat belts. Maybe school buses don’t really need them due to their high and close-packed seats and usual slower speedsbut what would it cost to just install lap belts like on airplanes? What kind of message is it to kids when there are no seat belts on school buses?

All coach buses should have seat belts.

Obviously, when there are seat belts they should be used. About seven years ago, I was on a bus with a team of around 15 year old hockey players and we encountered very severe winds going from Lethbridge toward Calgary. We passed an overturned transport truck at one point. I had my belt on and it was at my suggestion that the coaches got everyone to buckle up. As coaches and parents and bus drivers, we adults should have required that in the first place. How many people, when they get in a taxi for some reason don’t buckle up? Seat belts are there to be used.

Coach buses may need better structural integrity and strength. The sides seem to be almost all windows. Is that part of the problem? It appears the whole top of this bus sheared off.

What about the roads? Surely rural intersections should have rumble strips. And should speed limits be reduced in both directions when approaching intersections?

And what about truck diver regulations? In this case it looks like an inexperienced new driver was driving a tandem style truck (towing two trailers). There is probably room for better regulation there.

I am not suggesting seat belt or bus structural integrity were the cause here. But it makes sense to review bus safety at this time. We can’t change the past. But we most certainly can change the future.