Fatal BC bus crash raises questions about seatbelts, driver training globalnews.ca

sad christmas eve bus accident that killed four people in BC put traveler enough Security in the spotlight.

While the investigation into the accident is in its infancy, a preliminary finding was that some occupants of the eBus were wearing seatbelts when the vehicle rolled over at the Okanagan Connector as it was traveling from Kelowna to Vancouver amid wintry conditions.

Four people died in the accident and dozens were sent to the hospital.

“I certainly think seatbelts would have saved lives, seatbelts would have reduced some of the injuries,” Const. James Ward, a veteran collision investigator with the BC Highway Patrol told Global News.

Read more:

Victim of fatal BC bus crash dreams of future for his family in Canada

Under BC’s Motor Vehicles Act, any person traveling in a vehicle is legally required to wear a seat belt while the vehicle is in motion. If the passenger is under 16 years of age, the responsibility rests with a person who is an adult or driver.

Story continues below Advertisement

But enforcing that law on buses is tough, Ward said. Police cannot look inside the coach while it is moving, and it is not illegal to unstrap them once they are stopped.

Ward said the security gap it creates deserves review.

Click to play video: 'Do you have to buckle up while riding the bus?'

Do you have to buckle up when riding the bus?

“You can’t expect bus operators to be police officers and enforce the Motor Vehicles Act – they don’t; It is right to do so,” he said.

“However, should it be treated like a plane, where everyone gets on the plane, they won’t take off until everyone has their seat belts on? Maybe the buses start doing that.” , where they are at the bus depot, the driver walks down the aisle or makes an announcement saying we will not be leaving until everyone has their seat belts on.

The accident has raised questions about the experience level of the driver as well as the road conditions at the time of the accident.

Story continues below Advertisement

Read more:

Cause of fatal Christmas Eve bus crash still under investigation: BC RCMP

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Transport Minister Rob Fleming said contractors were keeping the highway to the required standard at the time of the accident, and that bus drivers in the province must meet minimum requirements.

“It’s called a Class Two license. It covers the requirements and checks potential drivers for the skills of operating a coach,” he said.

But some in the industry say the training required to obtain a Class Two license is insufficient for B.C.’s unique and often extreme driving conditions.

James Cooper is an operator with over 30 years of experience driving all types of commercial vehicles including buses and tractor trailers.

Click to play video: 'Ministry takes note of highway condition, winter storm and bus accident'

Ministry addresses highway conditions, winter storm and bus accident

He told Global News that the province needs to update its training requirements.

Story continues below Advertisement

“I believe all commercial class drivers in BC need more advanced training to handle winter conditions,” he said.

“I think we are lacking on the training end, it hasn’t been revised since the 70s, it definitely needs to change as we are looking at the potential for climate change which will affect winter conditions going to do.”

After the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, the federal government implemented more stringent mandatory training for transportation truck drivers with Class One licenses, which Cooper said did not apply to bus drivers.

Read more:

BC Bus probe will look into earlier accident involving same company: minister

Changes in regulation often stem from tragedies like this bus accident, and once the RCMP investigation is complete, the ministry may change the rules to better protect drivers and passengers.

Cooper said he expects these changes to come, and that they are the result of careful study, not a knee-jerk reaction.

“I don’t think it is that difficult to train them to deal with different situations and scenarios,” he added.

“I think it’s a willingness on the part of the government to add in things like winter support or mountain support to give these drivers a little bit more power to get them up to speed, understand the conditions, and say no. When conditions worsen .

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.