Calls grow for in­de­pen­dent probe

PressReader - Tke Channel - Calls grow for in­de­pen­dent probe
There were grow­ing calls Tues­day to have in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tors look into Fri­day’s OC Transpo bus crash, even as dis­cus­sions are un­der­way about bring­ing in tech­ni­cal sup­port from the Trans­porta­tion Safety Board.Ot­tawa West-Ne­pean Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive MPP Jeremy Roberts called for an “in­de­pen­dent and thor­ough” investigation into the deadly bus crash. He wants to see it run jointly by the TSB and Ot­tawa Po­lice.Mean­while, Glouces­ter-South Ne­pean Coun. Carol Anne Mee­han said an in­de­pen­dent, arm’slength investigation into the crash would “in­stil more con­fi­dence” in OC Transpo.“There are a lot of peo­ple who are ques­tion­ing the safety of the buses and won­der­ing who has got our backs on this one,” she said.Mee­han sug­gested ex­perts from the Mon­treal or Cal­gary tran­sit au­thor­i­ties be brought in to re­port on the deadly col­li­sion that killed three peo­ple and sent 23 to hos­pi­tal late Fri­day af­ter­noon.“It would give a lot of peo­ple con­fi­dence to know that some­body who doesn’t have a vested in­ter­est in OC Transpo and the city is tak­ing a good look.”Roberts noted that Ot­tawa has suf­fered a dis­pro­por­tion­ately large num­ber of tran­sit-re­lated deaths com­pared with Toronto.“This form of trans­porta­tion is based on an in­her­ent ex­pec­ta­tion that ci­ti­zens’ safety is para­mount to the sys­tem. Over the last decade, the City of Ot­tawa has twice failed the pub­lic in this re­gard.”There have been other calls for the in­de­pen­dent Trans­porta­tion Safety Board — which in­ves­ti­gated the 2013 OC Transpo bus-train crash — to in­ves­ti­gate the most re­cent crash, in­clud­ing from some par­ents of hockey play­ers who died in the Hum­boldt Bron­cos crash.TSB chair Kathy Fox has of­fered tech­ni­cal sup­port to Ot­tawa po­lice, who are lead­ing the investigation, and the coro­ner’s of­fice, say­ing the agency learned a lot about the crash­wor­thi­ness of the dou­ble-decker buses dur­ing its 2013 investigation. In­ves­ti­gat­ing the crash is not within the TSB’s man­date, but Fox said Tues­day that dis­cus­sions were un­der­way about the agency’s sup­port in the investigation.“We will see where they go.” Cap­i­tal Ward Coun. Shawn Me­nard said the city and Ot­tawa po­lice should ac­cept the TSB’s sup­port.“Par­tic­u­larly given that this is the sec­ond in five years with a bus this large and the amount of in­juries and death, to me it makes a lot of sense to have them sup­port the investigation, which the OPS would still lead.”Me­nard added that he has “con­fi­dence in the Ot­tawa Po­lice Ser­vice and the dou­ble-decker fleet, but I be­lieve the TSB should be in­volved here.”Af­ter the 2013 crash, in which six peo­ple died, the TSB is­sued a re­port rec­om­mend­ing the fed­eral govern­ment in­tro­duce stan­dards to make large pas­sen­ger buses bet­ter able to with­stand crashes.OC Transpo and other of­fi­cials have em­pha­sized that its buses meet all safety reg­u­la­tions. But Fox said it’s the reg­u­la­tions that are faulty.Buses over 26,000 pounds, which in­clude the buses in­volved in Fri­day’s crash, the 2013 crash and the Hum­boldt Bron­cos crash, have some of weak­est reg­u­la­tions of any ve­hi­cles when it comes to crash­wor­thi­ness.“Although they meet cur­rent reg­u­la­tory stan­dards, the prob­lem is that the stan­dards don’t go far enough,” Fox said.Af­ter the 2013 crash, the TSB rec­om­mended Trans­port Canada bring in stan­dards to re­quire frontal im­pact, side im­pact, rollover and crush pro­tec­tion stan­dards that would pro­tect pas­sen­gers dur­ing col­li­sions.“The cur­rent stan­dard doesn’t go far enough to pro­vide pas­sen­gers with suf­fi­cient ac­ci­dent pre­ven­tion,” Fox said.We saw it as an un­for­tu­nate ... op­por­tu­nity to re­mind Trans­port Canada that the rec­om­men­da­tions need to be acted on.As of Jan­uary 2018, Trans­port Canada had yet to be­gin what it says will be a three-year crash­wor­thi­ness test­ing pro­gram, be­cause it was un­able to ac­quire a bus shell for test­ing.The TSB has in­ves­ti­gated col­li­sions in­volv­ing school buses — which have much tougher crash­wor­thi­ness stan­dards — and trains, where the pas­sen­gers and ve­hi­cles “fared much bet­ter.”Fox said when she saw images from Fri­day’s crash she was “sick­ened, hor­ri­fied and shocked.”The TSB is­sued a state­ment in re­sponse to calls for it to in­ves­ti­gate. It clar­i­fied that bus ac­ci­dents are not part of its man­date, but of­fered tech­ni­cal sup­port.It also pushed Trans­port Canada to do bet­ter when it comes to mak­ing pas­sen­ger buses safer.“We saw it as an un­for­tu­nate and tragic op­por­tu­nity to re­mind Trans­port Canada that the rec­om­men­da­tions need to be acted on and they need to ex­pe­dite their ac­tiv­i­ties.”

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