A FITTING MEMORIAL FOR THE HUMBOLDT BRONCOS IS TO MAKE BUSES SAFER
The schedule for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has been posted, and the Humboldt Broncos are set to open their season against their great rivals the Nipawin Hawks next month.
The last time those teams were set to play was a Friday in April but, as Canadians know all too well, the Broncos never made it to that playoff game.
Sixteen players and supporters were killed and 13 injured when the Broncos’ team bus and a transport truck collided at a rural Saskatchewan intersection.
Now there are new players, with new dreams. But it’s a season that, undoubtedly, will be heavy with the memories of loss.
There’s plenty missing this
season, including safer travel for the team, and others.
That’s why Russell Herold, whose 16-year-old son Adam was the youngest victim in that tragic crash, is raising concerns about why more hasn’t been done to make buses safer.
His frustration is understandable. There’s been talk about improving bus safety since long before his son was even born.
As it stands now in Canada,
there are no regulations that require coach buses to have seatbelts. And for buses that do have seatbelts, there are no rules requiring passengers to wear them.
Experts have been discussing possible safety regulations for highway coaches for decades, and Ottawa finally proposed a seatbelt rule — more than a year before the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.
And yet, even now, there’s no sense of urgency.
Through an access to information request, the Canadian Press found that Transport Canada officials discussed making seatbelts mandatory on new buses immediately after the horrific crash in April. But ultimately they decided not to speed things up.
So, regulations making seatbelts mandatory on new highway buses won't take effect until Sept. 1, 2020. That’s two years from now. Herold, of course, can’t help but think about what might have been if there had been seatbelts on his son’s bus.
“You’d have to think seatbelts would have done something,” he has said. “We’ve been told by the coroner that everyone was ejected from the bus.”
Indeed, Transport Canada estimates seatbelts would reduce the probability of fatalities in a bus collision by 77 per cent in rollovers and by 36 per cent in other types of collisions.
So what’s the holdup?
AS IT STANDS NOW IN CANADA, THERE ARE NO REGULATIONS THAT REQUIRE COACH BUSES TO HAVE SEATBELTS.
Hockey sticks and messages at the intersection of the bus crash that killed 16 Humboldt Broncos players and supporters in April.