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B.C. review finds motor coach industry safe

The tour bus that rolled over and crashed on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt, B.C., is pictured in Kelowna, on Friday August 29, 2014.
The tour bus that rolled over and crashed on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt, B.C., is pictured in Kelowna, on Friday August 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A review of bus companies in British Columbia has found the number of crashes involving motor coaches has declined by a rate that is ahead of the national average.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone ordered a private consulting firm to conduct a study after dozens of passengers were injured in two unrelated bus crashes in 2014 and 2015 on the Coquihalla Highway.

The review says crash rates for coaches in the last 10 years have declined in B.C. by an average of 5.4 per cent a year, well ahead of the 2.9 per cent drop nationally.

READ MORE: August 2014, 22 passengers in hospital after tour bus crashes on Coquihalla; three in critical condition

Stone says the province is committed to maintaining strong regulations for the bus industry as well as regular mechanical safety inspections.

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He says the province will also working with the federal government, which has jurisdiction over interprovincial and international bus travel, to review new technologies and improvements that could make bus travel even safer.

The review found regulatory requirements in B.C. are strict, while safeguards including mandatory inspections and a high level of driver training are also in place.

“Even though the review found that our motor coach industry in B.C. is already very safe, we know that we can always do better,” Stone says in a news release.

Buses in this province must be mechanically inspected every six months, regular roadside inspections are also conducted and companies with the worst records must undergo National Safety Code audits, the ministry says.