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‘We can never be safe enough’ – school buses in Canada to get major safety makeovers

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Important technical and regulatory changes will be made to school buses in Canada as part of a major drive to make them safer for children. 

The Canadian government says the priority of road users’ safety ‘starts with the safe transportation of our school children’.

While school buses, it adds, have an excellent safety record and are the safest way to transport children to and from school, there is much room for improvement.

Omar Alghabra, Canadian Minister of Transport, has announced some recommendations for key regulatory changes to further strengthen school bus safety. They include equipping all new and imported school buses with extended stop arms and a new visibility system for the bus driver to better see around the bus, and clear requirements be set for the voluntary installation of infraction cameras. These devices can help law enforcement catch unsafe driver behaviour around school buses.

‘We can never be safe enough when protecting children’

The Government says these measures can help deter vehicles from illegally passing a stopped school bus, while also helping improve the bus driver’s ability to see children outside the bus. The plans follows the 2020 Report of the Task Force on School Bus Safety, which recommended new measures to protect children outside the school bus, where they are at the highest risk.

Omar Alghabra said: “When it comes to protecting our children, we can never be safe enough. Passing any school bus with its stop arm deployed is reckless, and these proposed measures will help deter this. At the same time, the new visibility system would give school bus drivers a better view around the outside of the bus. I want to thank the Task Force on School Bus Safety and our many partners for bringing this proposal forward.”

Some 2.2 million Canadian children travel to and from school every day on over 50,000 school buses, yet fatalities on school buses account for less than 0.1 per cent of all motor vehicle-related fatalities in Canada.

Author: Simon Weedy

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