Party bus safety rules now in place

Maple Ridge family can now step back

Shannon Raymond.

Danielle Raymond and her mother Julie no longer have to fight to improve party bus safety so that no other family has to endure the loss they suffered in July 2008.

Shannon Raymond, Danielle’s sister and Julie’s daughter, died after ingesting ecstasy on a night out that involved a party bus ride. She was 16.

Now, the provincial government has enacted what the two have been asking for, to make it safer to ride in a party bus.

As of April 1, party buses must now have a safety monitor on board anytime minors are on board. That monitor must be trained in first aid, including administering Naloxone.

The change was announced earlier, but came into effect this month.

“They did everything that we’ve been asking for and more, so we’re very happy with this, for sure,” Danielle said Wednesday.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena announced the regulation Wednesday before the high school grad season starts.

In addition, operators are also required to obtain consent forms from parents and guardians, so they know children and teenagers are safe when getting on a party bus.

The Passenger Transportation Amendment Act, passed in fall 2018, includes higher administrative fines for operators who fail to comply with the act.

Washington and California already have similar rules to prevent party bus deaths, injuries, fighting or overdoses, Danielle said.

Improved safety for party buses, however – a result of a decade-long campaign – has not removed the pain of losing their sister and daughter.

“As far as carrying Shannon’s loss, that’s a lifetime,” Danielle said.

Shannon, who attended Westview secondary in Maple Ridge, died on July 26, 2008 after drinking alcohol during a birthday party for a friend, then was given an ecstasy pill on the party bus trip.

“Her death was so senseless and preventable,” Danielle said in a news release.

“We carry her loss with us, and we are going to miss her every day for the rest of our lives. We are thankful for these regulations, which will help improve safety for teenagers who travel on a party bus.”

It is still against the law to consume alcohol and cannabis inside a vehicle.

The RCMP and local police will conduct focused enforcement during the grad season and will continue to ticket people breaking the law.

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