Refitting Canada's school buses with seat belts comes with a hefty price tag: Report

The debate over mandatory school bus seatbelts versus costs continues in Ottawa. The Task Force on School Bus Safety says refitting Canada’s fleet of 52,000 school buses would cost school boards £255 million, according to Blacklock’s Reporter. “It will be important to explore the impact of these additional costs,” the highway ministers’ report reads.

About 2.2 million children ride buses each school day in Canada. Transport Minister Marc Garneau promised to explore all options as the first-ever federal test of school bus belts begins this year in Sudbury, Ont. There’s also a second pilot project at a B.C. school board that hasn’t been named.

The report Strengthening School Bus Safety In Canada states buses should have external cameras so dangerous drivers can be identified. The report stopped short of mandating seat belts in buses. “At the same time the Task Force recognizes seat belts can provide an additional layer of safety,” the report reads.

The panel cited U.S. statistics that suggest school bus seat belts protect children. Despite the numbers, only eight U.S. states currently make them mandatory. “Crash testing by the U.S.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found three-point seat belts may reduce the risk of moderate to serious injury by an estimated thirty to thirty-five percent,” the report reads.

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