You have likely heard about the horrible accident in Saskatchewan earlier this year which killed the driver and 16 staff and players and injured 13 others on the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. They were on the way to a game when a flatbed truck ran a stop sign and collided full speed.
In Canada’s National Post newspaper on the weekend, Tricia Wack, a mother who tragically lost her son in the accident, wrote a plea which should make all of us and every politician in the world sit up and pay attention.
Why she asked, is wearing a seat belt mandatory in automobiles and on airplanes but not on buses (or trains – my addition)? The seatbelt laws are all enforced, either by fines or the flight attendant. On a bus, even if they have belts, who enforces their use?
Mrs. Wack’s observation was that looking at the aerial footage of the Humboldt disaster, many of the seats remained intact. Like many of the killed and injured, her son died after being launched out of his seat on impact and having his neck broken. She asks “What would have been the result if the team was all wearing seatbelts?” Surely if a seatbelt had saved even one life – maybe your child’s – that would be worth any expense? Amen.
When my son was 6 he came home with a huge welt on his face because his school bus had to stop suddenly, and he was thrown again the seat in front of him. To the best of my knowledge, none of those yellow tanks-on-wheels has belts, and our kids are in them daily. Today, my son spends many weekdays and half the winter weekends traveling to and from distant hockey arenas. He does it on coach buses which have no seatbelts, just like the Humboldt bus.
There is a Canadian law that all coach buses must have lap belts by 2020. The US and UK have bus belt laws in place, but they are seldom enforced. When the law was introduced in the US, it astoundingly did not include retrofitting existing buses – just new buses.
Surely we need to create some pressure to make installing and wearing shoulder belts in buses mandatory before more innocent people die.
You can read Mrs. Wack’s letter here: