It was just 6 months ago when the Humboldt Broncos Hockey Team was in a collision that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
And now, some parents of those involved have begun pushing for seat belts on buses.
Michelle Straschnitzki’s son Ryan was paralyzed from the chest down when his junior hockey team's bus collided with a semi-trailer in Saskatchewan.
She says the horrific accident should make the need for more safety clear.
“It seems like right now is the time to make everyone aware that the buses need to be safer,” says Straschnitzki. “They need to have seat belts, they need to have 3-point harnesses.”
Straschnitzki joined the fight after Tricia Wack began the “Buckle up for the Broncos” campaign in early September.
Wack’s son Stephen died in the crash.
While the federal government has announced shoulder seat belts will be included on all new buses after September 2020, Michelle says that’s not enough.
“That’s why we want to go hard on this campaign and make sure than buses are installing them before it becomes mandatory,” says Straschnitzki. “It’s something that they can do proactively and it needs to be done now, not 2 or 3 years from now.”
Ryan’s father, Tom Straschnitzki contacted the Airdrie Minor Hockey Association earlier this month about the issue.
He realized buses carrying players, including his younger son Jett, didn't have seat belts because it isn't yet mandatory.
Soon after, the association made changes to ensure seat belts were used.
“If people don’t have the foresight or don’t proactively do this as a bus line, were just not gonna be using them,” says Straschnitzki. “It has to come down to value on lives rather than your bottom line.”
Michelle’s son, Ryan, also spoke out on the topic, saying he isn't sure seat belts on the Humboldt bus would have made a difference, but it's worth having them, just in case.
“Certainly you know he’s behind this just as much as anybody else and he believes that it’s only a good thing going forward,” says Straschnitzki. “Change has to happen.”
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