School bus safety advocates sounding the alarm

Leave a comment

Advocacy across Canada calling for mandatory seat belts in school buses is picking up steam with support from some members of Parliament and the launching of a new petition to the House of Commons.

I wrote about this issue in this blog last December following a CBC Fifth Estate report exposing the serious risks to children because of the lax rules across the country.

A new petition, sponsored by Rachel Harder, MP of Lethbridge, Alberta, calls upon the Minister of Transport to make it mandatory by law to have 3-point lap and shoulder seatbelts installed in every Canadian school bus, and that it be legally required to wear these seatbelts while riding on a school bus of any size. At time of this writing, 654 signatures have been gathered. The petition will close on June 8, 2019.

I strongly encourage you to sign the signature and show your support. Discuss this important issue with other school parents, friends and neighbours. If you have any doubts watch the CBC report.

And hats off to Gary Lillico who started a petition several months ago on change.org that is nearly at 100,000 signatures. You can still add your name to this growing list.


The picture above cost a child’s life because Canadian school buses have no seatbelts.

“Thousands of Canadian children are being injured and in some cases killed because school buses aren’t equipped with seatbelts. If they were, these tragedies could be prevented,: Lillico said.

“I started this petition because I’m a school bus driver and I’m the only one to buckle up. Does that make sense? It’s a dollars over safety issue!”

A previously unreleased 2010 Transport Canada test crash study revealed that school buses failed safety tests and failed to prevent serious injuries in the event of side-impact or rollover crashes. The tests were done on the heals of an Alberta teenager who was killed after being ejected out of the bus and dying on impact with the ground. The results of the test and study were not released until CBC’s investigative report show The Fifth Estate made them public in October 2018, Lillico said. “The report concluded that more needs to be done to “reduce or eliminate the serious injuries” and Transport Canada’s chief of crashworthiness research said seatbelts are “a good first step”towards improving school bus safety.

Lillico adds, nine states in the USA are required by law to have three-point seatbelts for all riders. Why can’t we do the same in Canada? Liability laws for school boards, schools and drivers in the USA have been implemented and are working nicely! Canada has already borrowed seatbelt rules and regulations for seatbelt installation on school buses from the USA. With these already in place we only need to legislate usage to law! This hasn’t been done as our government doesn’t want to spend the money. They say here’s how you must do it, if you want too, However offering no funds, help or legislation. 

“It’s time for Canada to realize that seatbelts save lives and protect our children,” Lillico said. “You can potentially save a child’s life by just signing this petition! Please SIGN and SHARE today.” 

I cannot think of a greater priority than safeguarding our children, especially as they make their way to and from school.

Please sign these petitions:

Advertisements

Feds must act to require school bus seat belts

3 Comments

Tens of thousands of school children are riding daily on buses that Transport Canada knows are not safe enough. Despite evidence showing that three point seat belts on school buses prevent or lessen injury and save lives, the government has not taken action to correct this serious situation.

In October 2018 the CBC Fifth Estate investigated the issue and concluded that seatbelts on school buses could have prevented thousands of injuries and numerous deaths.

The report continued with a follow up in December looking a the campaign to make buses safer across Canada by changing outdated legislation.

An online petition is nearing its goal of 50,000 signatures. I have signed and encourage you to do so as well.

More can be done to bring about change.

I call upon my mayor, Mitchell Brownstein, of Cote Saint-Luc, Quebec, to adopt a resolution in support of this urgent legislation at the next public meeting and ask the city to share their resolution with all municipalities across the Montreal region. You can do the same in your city or town anywhere in Canada.

As well, I am fortunate to have one of the most passionate and accessible members of parliament, Anthony Housefather, as my representative. I call upon him to speak with his colleague, Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, who has reportedly called for a report from his department in the past weeks. You too should contact your MP’s office.

Finally, there must also be pressure upon industry itself. To that end I will raise the issue with my kids’ school, where I serve on the Board of Directors. Bus companies that offer seat belts should be hired ahead of those that don’t. Bus companies should know that parents and schools are seeking providers that are proactive and take the necessary measures to keep children safe, even in advance of legislation.

Each of us plays an important role in making school buses safer across Canada.

CP Rail whistling too loud and too late in St. Luc Yards

2 Comments

CP Rail locomotive passes Richard Schwartz Park on Cote Saint-Luc Road and prepares to enter the St. Luc Yards

Last week I contacted CP Rail concerning the whistle blowing that has been sounding late at night into the early hours in St. Luc Yards.  With cooler evenings now the norm, bedroom windows are left open and the outdoor noises flow freely inside.

This is hardly the first time complaints have gone from Cote Saint-Luc to CP Rail.  In the past we were advised by CP’s Public Relations team that although whistles used to be the norm to signal from the front of the train to the back, between trains and for emergency situations that two way radios were now used to cut down on whistles in the St. Luc Yards and elsewhere across the country.  Nevertheless, whistles had to be tested periodically.

I asked CP Rail last week to remind the local trainmaster that testing late at night and past midnight in a heavily populated area such as Cote Saint-Luc is very disturbing to our residents.

“Canadian Pacific (CP) takes the safety of the public and its’ employees very seriously. The whistle is a significant safety appliance used as a last warning of an approaching train. We use this even in the yards to warn our employees that a train is on the move,” said the CP representative in an email response.  “”However, I did forward your issue to our Trainmaster in the area and he advised that occasionally we must complete horn testing to ensure compliance with Transport Canada. He will advise crews against testing through the late night hours. There may still be times where you will hear the whistle as a safety precaution.”

If you are experiencing excessive noise from train whistles late at night you can call CP Rail’s Community Connect at 1-800-766-7912 or by email at Community_Connect@cpr.ca.