NEWS

Party buses require special license, authorities warn during prom season

06/02/2015 10:46 EDT | Updated 06/02/2016 05:59 EDT
With prom season right around the corner, authorities are issuing a warning to Grade 12 students and their families that the rules have changed around party buses. 

The provincial government announced a crackdown on the party bus industry three months ago, requiring stretch limousines to get special licence plates to make enforcement of regulations easier. So far, 71 operators have applied for plates for 195 vehicles. 

Party buses are often described as nightclubs on wheels that give under-age teenagers access to alcohol and drugs.

Julie Raymond's 16-year-old daughter, Shannon, died seven years ago after being on a party bus. Shannon's family admits she was drinking and using drugs, but believes the tougher regulations could stop another death like hers from happening. 

Now, Raymond wants it to be mandatory that the party buses also employ chaperones. 

"But not chaperones that are attached to the companies," she says. "An independent chaperone so it would be a third party that would be responsible." 

While California and Washington State have party bus rules that include chaperones, B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone says there's no need to consider the concept of chaperones because any drinking in a vehicle is illegal in the province. 

The Raymonds also want safe drop-off zones for party bus passengers.

"I would say they're probably increasing drinking and driving if anything because they dump people off somewhere and leave," says Danielle Raymond, Shannon's sister. "Those people still have to find a way home. It's not a safe ride home at all." 

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