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

7th annual Invermere Music Fest

A snapshot of the festival

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Need cash to splash

Radium Sunrise Rotary Club wants to build a splash park in Radium Hot Springs

Kootenay National Park about to turn 100

Ninety-nine years of publicly-accessible wilderness

Water bottling facility proposed in Canal Flats

Source of the Columbia Beverages Inc. promises jobs and financial investment into community

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

Most Read