Inside a party bus (Wikimedia Commons)

Party bus regulations overdue, says B.C. mom who’s advocated for changes

Julie Raymond has fought for changes for a decade

A conversation about party bus regulations still ends with tears for Julie Raymond, a decade after her daughter’s death.

The Maple Ridge mother has lobbied for changes for 10 years, and she had been told this week by government officials that big ones were coming. Friday the province announced the requirement of a chaperone on board if there are minors present, fines that have been quadrupled, and other stiffer regulations.

“This is what Danielle (her daughter) and I have been working for ever since Shannon’s death,” she said Friday afternoon. “It’s much needed.”

Shannon was just 16 when she died of a drug overdose. She had been on a party bus in July 2008, and taken a lethal combination of the club drug ecstasy and alcohol. She was found dead at a Maple Ridge home at 6 a.m. on July 26.

Since then, Raymond has pressed the provincial government for more enforcement of party buses, which she maintains were effectively operating outside the law, such as allowing minors to consume alcohol.

READ MORE: Party bus licensing tightened up

While the new fines will be implemented immediately, the other regulations are set to be in force next year.

“For a long time, the party bus industry has been ignored, leaving glaring gaps in safety,” said transportation minister Claire Trevena.

“Had those been in place prior to Shannon’s death, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” said Raymond. “My daughter would still be alive.”

She said this week’s changes might well have saved others, if they had come earlier.

In the intervening decade between Shannon’s death and the new regulations, there have been more high-profile party bus deaths – Ernest Azoadam, 16, collapsed on a party bus in Surrey in 2013, but the BC Coroners Service ruled out drugs or alcohol in his death. Chelsea Lynn Mist died after falling out of a party bus in Vancouver in 2016.

The ministry reminded the public it is against the law to consume alcohol inside a vehicle.

“The RCMP and local police will be conducting focused enforcement during the holiday season and will continue to ticket people breaking the law.”

Raymond said she hopes the new rules go far enough.

“I truly hope so. I don’t want any other family to go through what we went through. I wish we didn’t have this conversation. I wish my daughter was still here.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Clearwater area to benefit from forestry worker support programs

Province announces $69 million fund to assist with industry closures

Barriere couple threatened with eviction after TNRD visit

“How can they expect us to leave our land, livestock and belongings behind, unsecured”

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Community of Vavenby weekly news update

Vavenby Elementary School has two teachers this year as the number of students has increased

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Most Read