No need for seatbelts on school buses, says Transport Canada

A new directive for seatbelts on highway buses does not need to include school buses, says Transport Canada.

School buses have good safety record, says federal agency

School buses have special features to keep occupants safe, says Transport Canada. (CBC)

A new directive for seatbelts on highway buses does not need to include school buses, says Transport Canada.

Transport Canada announced Wednesday that as of Sept. 2020 seatbelts would be mandatory on medium and large highway buses. The change is in response to the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

The change will not apply to school buses, said Transport Canada spokesman Pierre Manoni, because safety features are already adequate.

"School buses have an excellent safety record in Canada," Manoni wrote in an emailed statement to CBC News.

"Compartmentalization (high-backed seats, padded and closely spaced together) is designed to protect children in a crash."

Manoni wrote research suggests lap-only belts would actually make occupants less safe. The department has regulations regarding the installation of lap and shoulder belts, should operators wish to install them.

The P.E.I. government, when asked about seatbelts, responded that it purchases school buses jointly with other Atlantic provinces, and the tenders require that the buses meet federal regulations.

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Kevin Yarr

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.