Transport Canada to launch school bus seatbelt pilots in Sudbury, Ont., and B.C.

OTTAWA — Some kids who take the bus to school in British Columbia and Sudbury, Ont., can expect to buckle up as part of a new seatbelt pilot project announced by the federal government on Friday.

Transport Canada says a number of new school buses will be equipped with three-point seatbelts that follow the latest federal safety standards.

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It says the participating B.C. location will be announced at a later date.

The agency published new requirements for installing seatbelts on school buses if a province, school board or operator chooses to do so in July 2018.

In January 2018, a national, intergovernmental task force was created to examine school bus safety, with an emphasis on seatbelts.

It says seatbelts can provide an additional layer of safety for more than 51,600 Canadian children who use school buses each day.

Transport Canada says the B.C. government and the Sudbury Student Services Consortium expressed interest in the pilot project, and it's open to partnering with other governments or jurisdictions too.

"School buses continue to be the safest means of transporting children to and from school in Canada, but if there is an opportunity for improvement, we will explore all options as we continue to study and analyse the potential use of seatbelts on school buses," federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2020.

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