The federal government has announced that Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district has been selected for a pilot project to test seat belts on school buses. (Nanaimo News Bulletin file)

The federal government has announced that Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district has been selected for a pilot project to test seat belts on school buses. (Nanaimo News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith selected for pilot project to try seatbelts on school buses

Transport Canada announces pilot project following task force recommendations

Seatbelts on school buses will be tested in Nanaimo-Ladysmith later this school year.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools was one of two school districts that will take part in a pilot project which will see a select number of new buses fitted with “three-point seatbelts that follow the latest federal safety standards,” beginning in January 2021, according to a press release from the Government of Canada.

The need for the pilot is based on findings of the of the Task Force on School Bus Safety, a group made up of representatives on federal, provincial and territorial levels as well as a number of school bus safety stakeholders. The project will help gather information needed for any future application of the use of seat belts, if needed, the press release said.

There are numerous operational considerations in relation to seatbelt usage, the release added, including “proper seatbelt adjustment and children moving around in their seats or unbuckling.”

Nanaimo-Ladysmith district will receive two buses, Pete Sabo, district executive of planning and operations, said at a press conference Friday, Sept. 11.

“It’s expanded past seatbelts into a number of other safety measures that Transport Canada wants to look at and so the buses are equipped with other items, including exterior infraction cameras, exterior 360-degree cameras, extended stop-arms and some buses will have automatic emergency braking,” said Sabo. “There’ll also be use of the interior camera system for monitoring seatbelt use.”

Mark Walsh, district secretary-treasurer, said prior to start-up, the district will engage in a privacy impact assessment, which will be made available to affected families.

Sabo said the district is hoping to hire someone from within to gather information for the pilot, as there is a “funded monitor” for each route.

Rob Zver, president of the education support workers union local, said he wants to see more information, but said a pilot project is the correct way to go.

“Safety is always the top thing we want, but for kids of young age, will it create more problems on the bus itself for other reasons? I don’t know…” said Zver. “They’re making the right move by suggesting that we do a pilot the way they’re going to, I just don’t know if the timing’s right. I really do think the pilot will give us the understanding of problems that could arise or not arise with seatbelts or not wearing seatbelts.”

RELATED: B.C. school district to pilot school bus seatbelts

RELATED: School buses need seatbelts, says letter writer

RELATED: SD68 combining Jingle Pot-NDSS area bus routes

Stephanie Higginson, B.C. School Trustees Association president, said seatbelts on buses are something the association advocated for in the past. She said the association has written to the provincial government to ask for full funding to implement recommendations proposed by the task force.

“As a parent, I would want my kids to be as safe as possible,” said Higginson. “I also know that school bus transportation is one of the safest ways for kids to get to school. Even without seatbelts, it’s one of the safest ways because they have so many safety requirements. They have to have body strength, roll-over protection, structural integrity, bus-window retention, all these things that are required to make them very safe.”

According to the B.C. Ministry of Education, total funding for all buses in the project is $880,000 and while costs haven’t been finalized yet, Nanaimo-Ladysmith will receive about two-thirds of that.

Fraser-Cascade school district is the other participant in the pilot and will receive one bus.

Sau Sau Liu, Transport Canada spokesperson, said the pilot will serve to validate the task force guidelines and “generate real-world evidence to help inform decision-making” on the subject.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Millstone River in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Regional district looks at value of Nanaimo’s natural assets

Report focused on the Millstone River could inform future decisions on corporate asset management

Protesters gather along the Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue in downtown Nanaimo last month as part of an event called Worth More Standing. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: B.C. hasn’t managed forests properly

Protesters opposing logging in Fairy Creek speak for many British Columbians, say letter writers

Nanaimo singer Victoria Vaughn recently released an EP with local producer Austin Penner. (Photo courtesy Taylor Murray)
Nanaimo singer and recent VIU grad releases EP about becoming an adult

Victoria Vaughn’s ‘Growing Pains’ recorded with local producer Austin Penner

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Air Canada, Harbour Air flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

Rebates through Clean B.C.’s Better Homes New Construction program are available, says the City of Nanaimo. (Vancouver Island University photo)
Energy-efficient home builds in Nanaimo eligible for up to $15K in rebates

All building permits issued on, or after, April 1, 2020 eligible, says City of Nanaimo

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Noel Brown, Snuneymuxw First Nation carver, observes the house post he carved, which now is situated in front of the Kw’umut Lelum centre on Centre Street in Nanaimo. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
House post representative of work of Kw’umut Lelum in Nanaimo

Snuneymuxw First Nation artist Noel Brown’s carved red cedar house post unveiled Friday, April 16

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read