CASE LAW - Ding v Prevost

BC Courts Coat of ArmsOn August 28, 2014 a tour bus crash occurred on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt. 56 people were injured, 15 of them seriously. A civil action, Ding v Prevost, was taken against a number of parties involved in the tour that included Prevost, the manufacturer of the bus. Jie Ding and the other plaintiffs involved claim that their injuries were made worse by the lack of seatbelts on the bus.

Justice Myers stated at the start of his analysis that

Because it may be counter-intuitive, I mention at the outset that the advisability of seatbelts in motor coaches was not a simple issue. It was not a matter of “seatbelts good; no seatbelts bad”. The technology for seatbelts in cars is not directly transposable to coaches. Coaches perform differently from cars and have different safety considerations.

He continues by explaining the evolution of the rules for bus manufacture under Canada's Motor Vehicle Safety Act which did not require installation of seatbelts until September 1, 2020. Prevost offers a retrofit program at cost that requires an out of service time of up to 2 weeks and fees of between $30,000 and $50,000. This bus did not receive the retrofit.

Ultimately, Justice Myers found that

[227]   I conclude that Prévost acted reasonably in its design and manufacture of the coach without seatbelts. It followed industry and regulatory standards. The plaintiffs have not shown that those standards were negligent or unreasonable or that another industry standard existed in North America.  
[228]   Therefore, Prévost was not negligent in manufacturing the coach in 1998 without seatbelts. Nor did the lack of seatbelts make the bus unreasonably safe or defective.