Party buses face regulation across North America, but not here: BC teens must use “personal judgement”

BC parents and teens are on their own when it comes to assessing the risks of using party buses, says the provincial government, despite action across North America to regulate what are usually little more than dangerous rolling bars.

Two BC teens have died and others have been injured in this runaway, unregulated industry, despite calls from action from people like Julie Raymond, who lost her daughter Shannon in a tragic party bus incident.

Vancouver city council and the Lower Mainland Government Association have endorsed a proposal I have advanced calling for regulation and now Victoria is having to come up with answers.

George Heyman, NDP MLA for Vancouver Fairview, was on his feet in the Legislature again Monday, making a member’s statement demanding government action to protect teens from the risk of injury or death as the grad season hits full stride. (His presentation  is on Youtube here.)

But the government’s reply, crafted by West Vancouver MLA Jordan Sturdy, was a marvel of platitudes and deflection. His core message: let’s cross our fingers and hope our kids make it through.

Here’s the most hard-hitting part:

“We must recognize not only that are there many transportation options that graduates will be making use of at this time of the year — transportation planning should be top of mind, given the usual intensity and duration of grad celebrations — but that there will be many other critical choices to be made that day or on any day. There isn’t any substitute for vigilance and personal judgment.

“Government has a part to play, as do parents. But ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the individual to be their own best advocate, to keep an eye out for themselves and others, to plan for the worst and hope for the best. At least, that’s what this farmer would do.

“I do welcome the chance to ruminate on our collective and individual rights and responsibilities, and I do thank the member opposite for the opportunity.”

Concluding rumination: kids, you’re on your own.