A Harrison bus driver’s plea for seat belts on school buses has gained the attention of local and national media, including CBC’s The Fifth Estate.
Gary Lillico is a featured guest on the second half of an upcoming episode of the show, where he talks about his ongoing campaign and petition for seat belts – now with nearly 40,000 virtual signatures.
The Fifth Estate has been airing investigative documentaries on CBC since 1975, and its upcoming episode is the show’s second segment on the seat belt issue. Lillico said the first report was the fuse that pushed him to start his petition.
“I just want to maybe be the last nail in the coffin on the seatbelt issue,” Lillico told the Observer in a phone conversation. “Instead of having another kid in a coffin, maybe we can throw the issue in and have this be the end.”
Lillico says others, like CBC, have done the ground work on the issue, but his petition seems to have hit a nerve with Canadians.
“Everybody knows a kid or has a kid or is a grandparent to a kid…It is an issue that everybody is concerned with,” he said. “It’s about safety and wellbeing of children, that’s the focal point. It’s just…a no brainer.”
At its last regular board meeting, School District 78 Fraser Cascade decided to look into the issue after Tom Hendrickson said the district had been ‘hoodwinked’ by the transportation department into believing that seatbelts are not needed on school buses. The board voted unanimously to have the operations and facilities committee look into the issue.
|Gary Lillico’s grandchildren made him this ‘school bus’ for his birthday. He said his grandkids, pictured in the miniature buses’ windows, are three big reasons that he is fighting for seat belts. (Submitted)|
Lillico said he is waiting for the show to air before he takes his petition to the government.
“The numbers are awesome and once the show comes out it will really take off,” he said. “We let it burn as much as we can, get the numbers as high as we can and then pick date to present it.”
The Fifth Estate episode titled Unreported: The Essure Story and the Campaign for Safer School Buses will broadcast on CBC Dec. 2.