Mandatory seat belts on coach buses

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Unionist
Mandatory seat belts on coach buses

Can we: 1) Discuss? 2) Start a movement?

If there's already a movement, let's consider joining and playing our part.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Seems quite reasonable.  But why only coach buses?

If you're driving 25kph on a city street in a car, you have to wear your seatbelt.  If you're driving 25kph on a city bus, you're free to stand.  How does that make sense?

Unionist

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Seems quite reasonable.  But why only coach buses?

If you're driving 25kph on a city street in a car, you have to wear your seatbelt.  If you're driving 25kph on a city bus, you're free to stand.  How does that make sense?

Instinctively - I agree with you. But I thought I'd start simple, because I'm far from being knowledgeable on the subject. It would be useful to find statistics on injuries/fatalities in various kinds of buses.

For example - school buses. Why no seat belts? Apparently, the wise ones have said that their design makes them much safer than automobiles, and relying on children to put on safety belts would make things worse. Have a read of this for example, from the Canada Safety Council:

Is there a need for seat belts on school buses?

Is all that true, or is it post-facto justification? Don't know. And to your point, what about city transit buses?

 

 

Unionist

We don't even know yet whether the Humboldt team's bus was equipped with seat belts. Must be a state secret.

Seat belts on coaches need a closer look, says bus company

 

Caissa

This talks about school buses which, I know, are not the same as coach buses.

A 2016 BC report on motor coach safety.

 

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/reports-and...

 

 

https://canadasafetycouncil.org/is-there-a-need-for-seat-belts-on-school...

Unionist

Caissa wrote:

This talks about school buses which, I know, are not the same as coach buses.

 

https://canadasafetycouncil.org/is-there-a-need-for-seat-belts-on-school...

Caissa - good morning! That's the same piece I cited in #3 above. :)

But here's the Canada Safety Council renewing their call for coach bus seat belts:

Unfortunate to see conversation arise after tragedy, says CSC manager

Quote:

When Lewis Smith heard the news about the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, he was devastated — but he also knew that the carnage could have been minimized.

In his job as manager of national projects for the Canada Safety Council (CSC), Smith has been advocating for seat belts on coach buses for years. [...]

Across Canada, there are no regulations that say a coach bus must have seat belts, and even for the ones that do have belts, there are no laws requiring passengers to wear them.

Smith is quick to say he doesn't have all the information on what happened in the Broncos bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., on Friday evening.

But he said coach buses face many of the same safety factors as other passenger vehicles that are covered under seat belt legislation.

"It's hard to say without having all the facts whether seat belts would have helped in this case without having all the facts, but as a general rule, seat belts are designed to save lives."

Smith said Transport Canada has looked into the issue before, but legislation changes would have to be made at a provincial level.

Caissa

Duh! I missed that we linked the same article.  My understanding from a fdozen years on Parent School Support Comittees was in keeping with those articles. It is probably true that coaches need seatbelts.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I see plenty of different buses driving down the streets here in Toronto.

Coaches, lacking seatbelts but apparently in need of them.

School buses, with bench seats, and apparently no need for seatbelts.

TTC buses, with people standing up, basically surfing.

cco

And while all of those are indeed "the bus", they serve largely distinct routes. The average speed of a city bus in the US (I couldn't find Canadian data quickly) is 15-20 kph, with tightly spaced stops in dense traffic. If one of those rear-ends the vehicle in front of it, standing passengers have a much better chance of survival than at the freeway speeds coach buses typically travel. (That said, I have been standing on an STM express bus travelling 100kph down Autoroute 20. I had no illusions about my fate if something went wrong.)

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, fair enough.  I get that city traffic/speed isn't the same as highway traffic/speed.  But we don't tell car drivers they can take off the seatbelt in the city (and they're not even standing up).

Lemme pitch a quick theory though:  the reason city buses don't have seatbelts (even as city cabs, cars, minivans and SUVs travelling the same streets at the same speeds must) isn't because we've stopped being overly cautious, it's because if city buses had seatbelts for every seat, how on earth could we expect 1/3 of the passengers to stand?  It would be like a boat deliberately providing 40 lifejackets for 60 passengers.

cco

There's certainly a practical element to it. I'd also add that with the speed at which most passengers board and disembark, being belted into city bus seats would likely slow down the routes drastically.

But what's that really an argument for? That if city buses have standing passengers, coach buses (on which nobody's standing, and travelling at a much higher speed) shouldn't have seatbelts either, so there's some kind of intellectual bus seatbelt fairness? That we should ban city buses from carrying more passengers than they have seats for, and either triple the number of buses on the road or tell a whole lot of transit passengers "tough shit"?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
There's certainly a practical element to it. I'd also add that with the speed at which most passengers board and disembark, being belted into city bus seats would likely slow down the routes drastically.

Drastically?

You put on your seatbelt when you sit down.  You unfasten it when the bus is pulling up to your stop.

Quote:
That if city buses have standing passengers, coach buses (on which nobody's standing, and travelling at a much higher speed) shouldn't have seatbelts either

I'm not arguing against seat belts on coach buses.  I'm asking why they aren't provided on ALL buses.  Or, conversely, why they're a legal requirement in a car or taxi travelling on the same roads at the same speed.

Quote:
That we should ban city buses from carrying more passengers than they have seats for, and either triple the number of buses on the road or tell a whole lot of transit passengers "tough shit"?

It would surely be a terrible thing if buses only held as many passengers as they could seat.  Who'd want that??  But that's the kind of thing we do in the interest of safety.

And if safety isn't an issue, how about we go with "seatbelts on the highway" and "make your own decision" in the city?  Could save some policing money, too! 

progressive17 progressive17's picture

When I am on the Megabus, I am going to put my seatbelt on, even though I am not currently required to by law.

Thus any kind of bus which is going at high speeds might have to be much more heavily regulated than now. Seatbelts are always a good idea.

Concern about vehicular regulation goes up with half the square of the velocity, the relative mass of the vehicles potentially involved, and the angles of possible collision. So I wouldn't worry about city busses too much. They are generally the biggest things on the road, and they don't go very fast. Because of them, everything else on the road goes slower too, and a good thing at that. 

I suspect that regulation of large vehicle activity will become easier as technology is implemented. Heavy vehicles do significant damage to the road. If you still have a car, ride at a safe distance behind a loaded tractor trailer in the summer and literally watch their wheels make indentations in the highway. To be fair, if a truck is off the road, it does not need to be taxed. However it should be taxed per kilometer when it uses the road, as in Germany. In the beginning was the Tax.

This requires installation of a GPS unit in each truck, and a national operations centre to efficiently monitor the activity, which could be a joint operation of the RCMP, the OPP, and the SQ. We could install a system where the Authorities could literally stop the engine of the truck, and slow it down if necessary even through no fault of the driver's own. Allowable speeds could automatically change due to weather conditions.

Violations of lane policy and speed limits could be fined per metre of violation, and applied in all cases. Then we could put them in all the cars too. Then we could see on our computers what was happening on any stretch of road, if these Authorities were wise and made this information public. It would certainly be much more fun than silly pictures of cats and their snappy captions. I also think we really should not allow driverless cars until we have a system like this installed.

Grade school kids could write neat apps. Big, real data. Nosey parkers who hate cars and trucks can monitor them, and through special software flag what they think is a suspicious vehicle. The cops would be able to find them easily if in their opinion there was reasonable cause for action, especially if they got 1,297 notifications in 5 seconds. Traffic planners would be in paradise. We could narrow roads and reclaim the land. Know where to put more lights, and realize others are extremely probably not needed.

Put a bar code on your license, and scan it before the ignition will start, so we know who you are. Car and truck thieves would not like that very much. If the scan doesn't work, punch in the number on the back of the card on the contingency keypad, and vroom vroom at 63.4 km/h today here. Funnily enough, you could abolish speed limits with a system like this. If there is absolutely nothing on the road from horizon to horizon (as you can still experience if you are pootling around Ontario), you might be blessed with a 150 km/h speed limit depending on your demonstrated skill and experience. 

This is the way we can gradually bring in robot vehicles. I am hoping the drivers would benefit by being controllers at home or an office for good pay, on a regular 9-5 shift like everyone else. 5-1 shifts and 1-9 shifts would have a shift bonus. Everyone would be bright and bushy-eyed on the virtual road. You could go to the washroom while your coworker took over for a bit. The cops would well know what was going on. Hey you, how's it going? Ca va? Indeed, we could slow robot trucks way down, as no one would have to worry about being paid by the mile.

People carrying the most precious cargo of all (you) could have many eyes on them.

Gas consumption would decline considerably, and fearful drivers could laugh at them. We could even implement speed charges if you have to get it there before yesterday, with lower charges for certified haulers of perishable goods. Who cares if it takes 3 days instead of 1 if it is going to get there anyway, it is non-perishable, and you don't have to get it out for 2 weeks? Done right, you could cut the warehouse space by speeding up and delaying deliveries. "Send it on a slow boat to Lachine, please!"

As far as the collision in Saskatchewan is concerned, I suspect that one of the drivers failed to obey the Highway Traffic Act or its equivalent in Saskatchewan. 

In the Ontario drivers' manual, it says many times, "if it is safe to do so". As people drive across Canada a lot, it may be likely that the principles in law in each administrative subdivision are similar.

There is a stop sign at Hwy 355, and there are also flashing lights installed after a fatal crash 20 years ago. What part of "STOP" didn't you understand? Someone did not stop, which could have been either one or both vehicles. We do know the truck driver was detained for intoxication and mental health tests, but he was released so no criminal charges have yet been laid as far as we know.

I think this is criminal negligence causing death, on the part of one or both of the drivers. Perhaps we will find out who, although engineering studies of the crash could take some time. There are no accidents on the road. There are only collisions, with cause, even it is a mechanical failure. The probability of a mechanical failure happening simultaneously in both vehicles at an intersection is subatomic.

When death is involved, there must be fault found no matter the intent, even if the coroner's inquest finds that it was the bus driver who also died in the collision. Someone has to face the consequences for this, unless it was a mechanical failure, which still raises questions about the people responsible for the upkeep of these vehicles. The people of Humboldt and Saskatchewan deserve no less. I am sure the Sakatchewan RCMP have already dumped a load of tickets, but this is not enough.

eastnoireast

progressive17 wrote:

I suspect that regulation of large vehicle activity will become easier as technology is implemented. Heavy vehicles do significant damage to the road. If you still have a car, ride at a safe distance behind a loaded tractor trailer in the summer and literally watch their wheels make indentations in the highway. To be fair, if a truck is off the road, it does not need to be taxed. However it should be taxed per kilometer when it uses the road, as in Germany. In the beginning was the Tax.

since decades, heavy traffic (especially carrying people) is licenced in each province of operation, logs are kept and submitted for fuel use and mileage in each jurisdiction. yay paperwork. vehicle inspections, restrictions, pre-trip inspections, driver training, medical requirements, and overall monitoring is way significantly different from just cars 'n pickups. specifically because of their inherently different relationship to public roads.
progressive17 wrote:

This requires installation of a GPS unit in each truck, and a national operations centre to efficiently monitor the activity, which could be a joint operation of the RCMP, the OPP, and the SQ. We could install a system where the Authorities could literally stop the engine of the truck, and slow it down if necessary even through no fault of the driver's own. Allowable speeds could automatically change due to weather conditions.

Violations of lane policy and speed limits could be fined per metre of violation, and applied in all cases. Then we could put them in all the cars too. Then we could see on our computers what was happening on any stretch of road, if these Authorities were wise and made this information public. It would certainly be much more fun than silly pictures of cats and their snappy captions. I also think we really should not allow driverless cars until we have a system like this installed.

Grade school kids could write neat apps. Big, real data. Nosey parkers who hate cars and trucks can monitor them, and through special software flag what they think is a suspicious vehicle. The cops would be able to find them easily if in their opinion there was reasonable cause for action, especially if they got 1,297 notifications in 5 seconds. Traffic planners would be in paradise. We could narrow roads and reclaim the land. Know where to put more lights, and realize others are extremely probably not needed.

Put a bar code on your license, and scan it before the ignition will start, so we know who you are. Car and truck thieves would not like that very much. If the scan doesn't work, punch in the number on the back of the card on the contingency keypad, and vroom vroom at 63.4 km/h today here. Funnily enough, you could abolish speed limits with a system like this. If there is absolutely nothing on the road from horizon to horizon (as you can still experience if you are pootling around Ontario), you might be blessed with a 150 km/h speed limit depending on your demonstrated skill and experience. 
(snip)

holy big brother surveillance snitch candy-for-conformists police state.
progressive17 wrote:

When death is involved, there must be fault found no matter the intent, even if the coroner's inquest finds that it was the bus driver who also died in the collision. Someone has to face the consequences for this, unless it was a mechanical failure, which still raises questions about the people responsible for the upkeep of these vehicles. The people of Humboldt and Saskatchewan deserve no less. I am sure the Sakatchewan RCMP have already dumped a load of tickets, but this is not enough.

no, not enough, fault must be found, and punishment, more of it, _must be delivered by the state, the ritual must go through, to remind us we are Good people, not like those other Bad people. maybe a public stoning, with hard pucks? <br>

oh wait, that won't bring anyone back. hey, everyone involved is hurt, bad. retribution is for onlookers' entertainment. <br>

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in regards to belts on buses, i dunno, smells like moral panic to me. and trains? helmets, would, of course, often increase survivablility in crashes in all modes of transportation. so would driving less, and getting heavy traffic back onto rail lines where it belongs. <br>

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one thing to consider with seatbelts is that in a t-bone situation, you are definately better off without a belt if you are on the impact side. my friend was t-boned, he was not wearing a belt, and ended up ok but pushed into the passenger seat. the impacter was wearing a belt, so she was helped by that in the sudden stop. more frontal than side impacts occur, of course, so on balance the numbers would support use of (proper) belts. <br>

not sure who impacted who in this specific instance, but if it was even partially side impact, belted passengers might actually have increased the human cost. transport truck and bus. other than cliffs or trains that's about the worst scenario.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

If a truck driver and a bus carrying kids cannot stop at a clearly marked stop sign, along with resplendent flashing lights, we have the right to make suggestions which will increase safety on the roads.

What I thought of is the people working together with the Authorities to make traffic safer and more efficient. It might even humanize the police.

You don't like filling out the paperwork? With an automatic system it could all disappear. But you have to accept you are sharing the road with other users, and also that the road does not just belong to you. If that offends your apparently libertarian sensibilities, you have to realize that the roads were paid for by us all, giving you a very large subsidy for your truck. If you really want freedom to do what you want, build your own roads. I doubt you can afford that.

If giving up a bit of freedom to do whatever you want means that ONE life might be saved, eat it. Such a system as I proposed would give you a realtime national traffic profile, and allow you to take faster routes to avoid congestion. With speed control and reduced uncertainty, traffic could actually move much faster than it does now, and on fewer lanes. Bad situations would be announced well in advance. Do you want to wait to get through congestion because you don't know what is going on over the horizon, or do you want to be notified in advance of an alternate route which would get you there faster?

With the advent of robotic vehicles, there must be overarching and uncompromising control with extreme redundancy. A machine has no emotions, frustration, anger, or distraction, and if properly programmed, should serve the transportation industry well. In the meantime a global computer-assisted system for existing drivers will greatly mitigate the problems that human emotional states can cause, especially a driver on a 19-hour run jacked up on yellowjackets and coffee. When the robots come, the infrastructure would already be in place. "Hey buddy. You've had enough. Go have a nap in the back of your cab and we will take over for a while."

cco

progressive17 wrote:

If giving up a bit of freedom to do whatever you want means that ONE life might be saved, eat it.

The age-old cry of the oppressor.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Nosey parkers who hate cars and trucks can monitor them, and through special software flag what they think is a suspicious vehicle.

Not only would we be able to catch speeders, we would be able to catch people cheating on their spouses, employees scamming sick days and delinquent teens who didn't go straight to the library like they said.

Thing is, you're on a site where many people won't use a rewards card for fear that Shoppers Drug Mart might turn their purchase info over to the Department of Homeland Security.  You might as well be proposing that we all get "chipped" like pets.

Unionist

Thanks for the discussion, friends. My mind keeps changing as I read the comments.

What triggered my opening this thread was obviously the Humboldt disaster. I was gobsmacked that in all the pandering media reports (the grief, the ceremonies, the hockey) - there was not a single question I saw asked, never mind answered, as to "How did the victims get injured/killed exactly?" Let alone: "Would seat belts have mitigated the casualties?" This is seriously not rocket science. Not in 2018. I've seen idiotic articles about better training for semi drivers. But whether the libertarians like it or not, mandatory seat belts and air bags on vehicles were game-changers. Safety cannot be optional. If seat belts on coach buses can save lives and limbs, they must be implemented immediately.

eastnoireast

Unionist wrote:

But whether the libertarians like it or not, mandatory seat belts and air bags on vehicles were game-changers.

ok, first off, ya's can puck off with the libertarian stuff.  (see what i did there? :)

saying "yay paperwork" does not a libertarian make, and it's a lazy put down to reach for that.  thanks.

correct me if i'm wrong, but it appears i'm the only one on this thread who as ever actually driven big things containing things and medium things containing people.  inter provincially.  in the winter.  and filled out the paperwork.  and seen seen/experienced what works and what doesn't, what gets ya there in one piece.

which doesn't count for everything, but it counts for sumpin'.

and for the record, i have nothing against paper trails, taxes, or safety.  in moderation.

Unionist wrote:

Safety cannot be optional. If seat belts on coach buses can save lives and limbs, they must be implemented immediately.

sometimes they do.  i saw 2x women saved 200' in front of me by airbags _and belts.  divided hwy, sunny, everyone doin' 120.  for some reason an oncoming car "altered trajectory" and sailed off into the meridian.  caught about 100' ft of air, i saw them mid arc, screaming.  then they nosedived into the ditch, plastering my truck with mud, and then barrel-rolled 150' down the meridian, coming to rest upside down.  by the time i got stopped and ran back, they'd been pulled out.  dazed, one lady had a pretty sore back.  impressive.

Unionist wrote:

Safety cannot be optional. If seat belts on coach buses can save lives and limbs, they must be implemented immediately.

oh, really?  is this before or after clean drinking water for indigenous communities is "implemented immediately"?  or canada's support for middle eastern adventures is "stopped immediately?"

'cause, like, these and many other things would save (more) lives and limbs.

moral panic. 

(i'm not trying to create a false choice here - ie choose kindergarten lunches or homeless shelters, and don't mention the military - but the way this is being presented ends up there. 

we are not "mission accomplished" on, well, any issue that is discussed on this site... so if any effort directed at "implementing immediately" seatbelts on canadian public transit (snort), would generally result in a drawdown of our efforts, however feeble, on other fronts.  _and that costs lives_

so that would need to be part of the discussion on the worthwhileness of pushing for "immediate implementation", if in fact it were to ever clear hurdles of effectiveness, practicality, cost-benefit, etc.

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speaking of questions never asked during all this national virtue-signalling;

how about we just stop putting kids in fancy sardine cans on wheels and driving them around thousands of kms every winter? >

prolly save a few lives/yr just from the reduced emmissions.

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eastnoireast

the core of this specific incident appears to be that one or both of the drivers fucked up.  my understanding is that there was a stop or yield sign at the intersection, so somebody didn't.  

thing is, according to defensive driving, _especially driving a coach, one should never assume that something is going to stop, or not pull out in front of ya, _especially a converging semi.  the semi should be thinking the same thing about the coach, especially a coach. 

everyone _assumes everyone else is going to pull out in front of you, it's a bonus when they don't.  it's a "double safety protocol"  that happens hundreds of thousands of times a day in canada.  of those, probably hundreds or thousands per day are only averted by the second driver.  'long as somebody does...

opproaching an intersection, or blind corner, or whatever, all drivers, esp a coach driver, should be "covering" the brakes (foot perched on pedal), slowing down, looking for eye contact, judging trajectory, checking to see who's behind, flashing the brakes to alert them, maintaining an ability to stop even if the *&%# pulls out in front of you.  you want everyone safe - and to be in control, righteous, laying on the horn after their screwup. 

theoretically, if you can't see far enought to see the kid/deer/dear/semi/bus/car jump out in front of you in time to stop, = too fast.

so it's hard to understand how this happened without some combination of speed, inattention, and oddly tricky intersection.  big rigs slow down gradually.  sure you can stand on the brakes and they stop pretty quick, (assuming traction) and then the acrid smoke cloud of cooked brake shoes envelopes the cab as it wafts forward.  maybe $50 worth of brake shoe material.  coming up to an intersection, a semi is going to be downshifting and idleing the engine to drag the speed down, (saving brake $), and braking as needed, for at least 800-1000'.  with even a couple hundred feet visibility up the incoming road, one could tell instantly if the intersecting vehicle was slowing down.  it's the first thing you'd be looking for. 

mechanical failure?  unlikely as a main cause.  if you lose air a secondary braking system kicks in automatically, whether you want it or not (ie halfway up the side of a hill in st john's). 

every commercial driver who hears about this incident is trying to figure it out, because it's everyone's worst scenario, and learning from when things went wrong is an important part of how one avoids it.

one example of a possible contributing factor is how was the semi's brakes set up?  one can dial in how much braking happens on your trailer vs the tractor, a brake bias as it were, and if you're draggin' around somebody else's trailer (i have no idea if this is the case), hey, let _their brake$ do the work.  which is fine till you need to stop quick, and you're set 70/30 to the trailer.  better downshift quick.  those truck skid marks you see?  that.   combined with not noticing the intersection till 300' out..?  again, just conjecture.

the company was a two truck company.  margins are stupid thin in trucking. 

the company is daahl (sp) trucking, the owner named singh (i bet there was a wee scurry at ndp com headquarters).  i heard him on cbc once, came across well i thought "i'm sorry, i'm sorry for everything.  myself and my family are very sorry.  we are scared, of what will happen." 

the guy actually driving the truck had been hired 2weeks before, which could be neither here nor there.

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i guess my point is that there are so, so many factors at play in this (very rare) incident that call for our understanding, and possible improvement, long before we start strappin' the masses down for questionable benefit. 

remember, we don't even know at this point if seatbelts would have _decreased or _increased the human toll in this particular instance.

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Caissa

The NP discusses the use of roundabouts in comparable areas to the humboldt crash.

 

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/could-roundabouts-prevent-a-future-h...

Unionist

I have zero expertise on these matters. My point (which I apologize if it got missed through my method of presentation) was this:

Unionist wrote:
I was gobsmacked that in all the pandering media reports (the grief, the ceremonies, the hockey) - there was not a single question I saw asked, never mind answered, as to "How did the victims get injured/killed exactly?" Let alone: "Would seat belts have mitigated the casualties?"

If anyone has noticed any mainstream media items which raise these issues directly, please let me know. We need solid investigative fearless journalism in this country, and it's rare as hens' teeth.

Unionist

Finally, someone is taking this issue seriously:

Seatbelts on school buses could have prevented thousands of injuries, numerous deaths

You need to read this amazing story in full - the decades of coverup and lies about school bus safety and seat belts. And the silence continues to this day. Congratulations to veteran investigative journalist Harvey Cashore and CBC's Fifth Estate!

Unionist

Internal Transport Canada study showed school buses 'failed' safety tests

Quote:

A 2010 Transport Canada report that revealed that school buses "failed" safety tests and did not do enough to prevent "serious injuries" was kept hidden from the public, The Fifth Estate has learned.

The study, which showed that high-backed, padded seats on school buses did nothing to help children in side-impact and rollover crashes, was marked "Internal Research Report" and was not posted on Transport Canada's website or otherwise made available to the public until The Fifth Estate asked for it last month.

Suzanne Tylko, chief of Transport Canada's testing facilities in Blainville, Que., said she did not know why her report was not released publicly and that it was not her decision to make.  

"I couldn't tell you why," she said.