Tour buses are a key part of B.C.'s tourism industry

Crashes spark tour bus safety review

U.S is requiring seatbelts in new motor coaches starting next year, and the Canadian tour bus industry supports them

A recent tour bus crash on the Coquihalla Highway that injured 30 passengers and threw the driver out through the windshield has prompted a review of motor coach safety in B.C.

One likely change is the requirement for seatbelts in motor coaches, which has been adopted south of the border. A 2013 survey of motor coach operators by the B.C. Trucking Association found that most B.C. companies support mandatory seatbelts, and many have already introduced them.

New U.S. government regulations take effect in 2016, requiring new motor coaches to have three-point lap and shoulder seat belts on passenger seats. The U.S. regulation does not extend to transit and school buses, and does not require retrofitting of existing buses.

Announcing the safety review Thursday, Transportation Minister Todd Stone referred to the June 27 collision on the Coquihalla Highway, and another on the same highway a year earlier.

Stone stressed that these incidents are rare, and commercial vehicle crashes in B.C. have declined by 24 per cent in the past decade, thanks to strict licensing and vehicle inspections.

Stone said the review will look at other measures such as mandatory rest periods for drivers.

Doug Switzer, CEO of national industry group Motor Coach Canada, said most safety regulations are set by the federal government, and consistent from province to province. He said the Canadian industry supports introducing seatbelts.

“Whether or not people will wear them is another issue, but we would certainly support making seatbelts mandatory on all new coaches,” Switzer told CBC radio. “That’s probably the biggest thing we can do to reduce the impact of collisions when they do occur.”

One issue for the industry is enforcement, and whether the driver can be ticketed if bus passengers don’t wear their seatbelts.

Transport Canada’s position has been that school buses are safe with closely spaced, high-back seats that reduce passenger impact in collisions.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Wind warning has ended for Metro Vancouver

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast

Downtown Mission: Ready to revitalize

With the bidding process underway, construction could start by mid-March

Guilty plea issued in case where man, 86, was assaulted and robbed

Hughie Stump pleads guilty to break-and-enter in relation to Abbotsford incident

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blanked by Portland Winterhawks

Saturday’s 2-0 setback marks first regulation loss for G-Men in 10 games

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Most Read