EDMONTON, Alberta — The government of Alberta is moving ahead with a 10-point action plan for improving school bus safety across the Canadian province. Implementing the plan will cost $7.5 million over two years, according to officials.
The action plan follows the recommendations in Ensuring the Safety of our Children: A Report on School Bus Safety in Alberta, compiled by government agencies Alberta Transportation and Alberta Education, which looked at factors involved in school bus collisions over a five-year period.
The report recommends that:
the Alberta Vehicle Equipment Regulation be amended to make amber flashing lights and a strobe light mandatory on all school buses
all buses be retrofitted with side and rear reflective tape
Alberta Transportation provide funding for recruiting drivers, standardize hiring criteria, provide “refresher training” throughout the year and develop a standardized route risk assessment checklist
Class 2 drivers be included in the Commercial Driver Profile program that is being developed by Alberta Transportation
a comprehensive communications plan be developed by Alberta Transportation and Alberta Education to increase awareness about school bus safety and existing laws Notably, the report does not recommend that seat belts be installed on all school buses.
The review builds on an independent report and statistical analysis by Opus Hamilton of school bus collisions in Alberta from Sept. 2001 to June 2006, including fatal collisions in June 2008.
To view the school bus safety report, visit www.transportation.alberta.ca/3112.htm and for the Opus Hamilton report, visit www.transportation.alberta.ca/601.htm.