Tuesday , March 21 2023

Ottawa crash latest tragedies to show new bus standards needed: Transport Safety Council


Canadian Transport Security Council chief slaming federal government on the fact that after 2013 the bus train, which was able to reduce the risk of passenger injury on Friday's death crash, failed to take significant steps.

“The Friday bus accident in Ottawa, which hit the Humboldt Bus Tragedy in 2018, and the earliest 2013 Ottawa bus and train accident, not to mention other examples, reinforces the urgent need for Canada to take action to introduce standards of commercial resistance. buses, ”TSB chair Kathy Fox wrote in a strongly formulated statement issued on Monday.

The TSB made only such a recommendation when it investigated the accident that occurred in 2013 when six people were killed in Ottawa. Since such a crash involved a Via railway train, the federal government authorized the TSB. One of the suggestions was that Transport Canada is implementing passenger bus collision standards.

Firefighters and police work in a terrible crash between OC Transpo's two-story bus and VIA train at Fallowfield Station in Barrhaven in September 2013.

Wayne Cuddington /


Currently, this country's safety standards for motor vehicles do not include the requirements for frontal impact, side impact, rollover or compression protection for vehicles over 26,000 pounds, which include most transit buses.

"In this way, buses in the weight category may have different structural features that may not adequately protect travelers," Fox wrote.

The TSB also recommended that buses be equipped with an airplane event recorder similar to airplanes to speed up investigations and accurate data collection – something not implemented.

Since the recommendations were issued in 2015, Transport Canada has done some work. "However, no significant progress has been made, and security gaps remain unresolved."

The Board calls on Canada to accelerate its work.

Last year, the TSB reported that Transportation Canada is looking for bus shells to test, but has not been successful.

The TSB's statement on the Canadian inability to make buses is more secure among the calls, including parents who have lost their children in the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus crash, for an independent agency to investigate a Friday crash.

The investigation opened by the group in an open letter is necessary to make our common transport system safer.

Friday crash killed three people and injured much more. Those killed were Bruce Thomlinson, 56, Judy Booth, 57, and Anja Van Beek on Monday.

Humboldt's parents, who were persecuted last April after a child's accident, said they had been moved to talk about the Ottawa accident because they felt traumatized again by seeing another bus without adequate protection.

A deadly crash outside of Tisdale, Sask., Visible on Saturday, April 7, 2018.



In an open letter to the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, several parents together with Professor of Transportation Engineer Ahmed Shalaby and Vision Zero Canada, a lawyer who pushed on safer roads asked Watson to call the TSB to run a Friday's Westboro double safety investigation bus accident.

"This call comes after careful thinking and consideration of the state of road transport in Canada, including our own painful personal experiences," they wrote.

"Our collective commitment to reminding loved ones who have suffered in road accidents is to ensure that Canadians traveling to their daily routine are offered maximum security."

However, Watson rejected this invitation to include the TSB, saying that he did not think it was necessary.

"I think the knowledge is for the Ottawa Police Service," he said. 'In this particular case, the TSB has no jurisdiction. They did when we had a train in Barrhaven a few years ago, but at the end of the day we really have the experience of our police service working with this kind of collision, and I have the absolute conviction that they will carry out a thorough investigation and, if necessary, release as much information as possible so that we can ensure that it will never happen again. ”

Watson pointed out that Chief Executive Charles Bordeleau has indicated that the police have the right to make recommendations to the city and that staff have said they will follow the instructions.

TSB has contacted the Ottawa Police Service, Fox wrote and offered technical assistance. It has also offered technical assistance at the coroner's office. The TSB will remain ready to provide any assistance that these organizations may require to conduct current investigations. ”

Meanwhile, Humboldt's parents and others said that it was not possible to deal adequately with the major crashes on the Canadian motorways.


“The painful road families of the victims of Ottawa will have families of survivors and other victims of preventable accidents, such as the Bathurst, NB, 15 passenger van crash in 2008, the OC Transpo-Via rail accident of 2013, and the recent Humboldt Broncos bus accident of 2018; too much among others.

“In each of these events there is evidence that regulation, inaction and inability to protect road users. This tragic status quo needs to be changed. ”

In its report on the 2013 Ottawa bus train, the TSB noted that most transit and inter-professional buses were "normally subject to the lowest safety standards".

The letter from Humboldt's parents says that the involvement of the TSB in the 2013 crash, which also involved a two-story bus, is one of the most important reasons why an independent TSB should also be involved in conducting safety investigations on Friday's crash.

“If they investigate the 2019 accident, they will update or revise their previous recommendations. We cannot refuse to make our transit system safer. ”

The letter also states that the safety investigation of buses carrying 90 passengers is no less serious or significant than an aircraft or train crash (investigated by the TSB).

Similar agencies in the United States and other countries include road safety as part of their mandate.

"On the other hand, the TSB has retained confidence in its initial mandate, despite the fact that 95% of transport accidents are out of power."

The letter also notes that the investigations carried out by the same agencies, which are jointly responsible for the transit operation, "run the risk of not finding some of the factors that contributed to the failure".

Graham Larkin, head of the road safety support organization Ottawa, pointed out that the TSB focuses on the train, sea and aviation sectors, but most deaths are on the roads. "These are the ones that lack the elephant in the room."

Larkin said it was unfair to expect that the Ottawa police would be able to conduct a complete safety investigation that could focus on systemic factors that could potentially affect the accident. "Does the police have the resources to complete this kind of investigation?" The answer is no. We are talking about safe systems. The police are not experts in secure systems. ”

In Sweden, where there is the smallest number of accidents in the world, the focus is on developing prevention systems. "They say the attack is not for a person or a user, but for a country that is implementing secure systems."

Canada, Larkin, is not seriously committed to building a preventive infrastructure. He noted that at the intersection where the Humboldt Broncos bus was towed by truck, there had been a pre-death crash. A circular junction at this place would have prevented the future tragedy.

The Ottawa police have handed over six crash investigators. They work with OC Transpo, the Ontario Ministry of Transport and Transport in Canada.

In Ottawa there is a committee made up of police officers, the coroner's office and others who investigate every fatal accident and make recommendations. The Committee looks at all the fatal collisions in Ottawa, usually within 10 days.

“It's very useful to me. This is the first of its kind in the whole of Canada, ”said Regional Monitoring Coroner Dr. Louise McNaughton-Filion.

Meanwhile, the Transport Security Council, Fox, said it would continue to move towards "no bus passengers in Canada worrying about the safety of the vehicles they use at work, at home or in the hockey arena".

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A letter:

Dear Mayor Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the 11th Westboro bus crash on January 11th, and their sincere wishes to heal the survivors, their families, and society as a whole.

Several of us have called on you to publicly call on the Transport Security Council (TSB) to conduct a Westboro accident safety investigation.

The practice of the TSB is to work together with the Ottawa Police Service, which would remain responsible for the restoration of the crashes and criminal investigations, provided that criminal or negligent charges are imposed.

This call comes after careful thinking and consideration of the state of road transport in Canada, including very painful personal experiences. Our collective commitment to mentioning loved ones who have suffered from road accidents is to ensure that all Canadians are offered the maximum level of safety.

We have been disappointed by the untapped potential to improve road safety and the many lost or severely changed people because we have not learned from the mistakes of the past.

After another avoidable tragedy, the victims of Ottawa, along with their friends and families, are moving on a painful and familiar path. We only need to recall Bathurst, NB, 15 in 2008; OC Transpo-VIA rail accident 2013; and recently in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash, to name a few.

Each of these events has evidence of unclear regulation, inaction, and inability to protect road users at many levels. This tragic status quo needs to be changed.

Perhaps there will never be a case that is more convincing than the recent OC Transpo accident to invite the Transport Security Council (TSB) to conduct a full and thorough investigation. Here are our reasons:

1. TSB offers the highest level of transport safety investigation in this country. The examination of buses carrying 90 passengers is no less serious or significant than an airplane or train crash. The fact that it is left outside their mandate is a bad excuse for inaction, and the city of Ottawa can keep them in an independent investigation.

2. The TSB investigated the safety of bunk buses after the 2013 accident. Their recommendations are at different stages of implementation. If they are involved in the 2019 accident investigation, they will definitely update their previous recommendations. It is important to know what steps have been taken since the first investigation and to learn from another mistake.

3. Investigations such as the 2013 or 2019 crashes include all the factors that contributed to the crash. Only through methodological and unlimited analysis of these factors can we ensure that they are all satisfactorily addressed.

4. We also need to learn from leading countries, such as Sweden, which have succeeded in putting in place safe systems to prevent death and injury. This means that Transport Canada should also play a critical role.

At present, 95% of all road accidents are on our roads, but the TSB's mandate is limited to maritime, pipeline, rail and air safety, and Transport Canada transfers only 3% of its security program resources to road safety. This complete refusal of Canadian security makes no sense.

The city of Ottawa is incapable of conducting an objective and thorough safety investigation, so it is time to call on the TSB to take the lead and empower the investigation into all the contributing factors without giving fault.

This is an tried and true way to ensure the safety of road users, as we saw in the results of the 2013 accident investigation. It is right to do this and it offers the best opportunity to learn from difficult failures and to transfer this knowledge to other cities and other transit authorities.

The city of Ottawa is a pioneer of fast transit buses and must also be a leader in restoring confidence in its infrastructure, transit fleet and operations. The people of Ottawa must immediately be offered the highest possible level of protection against avoidable injuries and deaths.

After two major disasters related to buses, we hope you will have the leadership and the courage to take this practical first step to ensure people's safety in Ottawa and the people around Canada.

Now is the time to act.

Will you act?


Russel Herold, Honor Adam Herold
Marilyn Hay, Tyler Bieber Honored
Tricia and Alan Wack, parents of Stephen Wack
Carol and Lyle Brons, honoring Dayna Brons
Scott Thomas honors Evan Thomas
Patriot Fair to Steve Babie (Babij died after a collision on a Trans-Canadian highway near Revelstoke, B.C. March 2017).
Graham Larkin, Executive Director of Vision Zero Canada
Ahmed Shalaby, Professor of Manitoba


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