Let our po­lice han­dle probe of bus crash ADAM

PressReader - Tke Channel - Let our po­lice han­dle probe of bus crash ADAM
The OC Transpo dou­ble-decker bus crash at West­boro Sta­tion that left three dead and 23 in­jured has trau­ma­tized the city. And com­ing five years af­ter an­other dou­ble-decker was in­volved in a Via train col­li­sion that took six lives, it is easy to see why peo­ple are de­mand­ing quick an­swers. You should not leave work to go home on pub­lic tran­sit and end up dead or in­jured. It shouldn’t hap­pen.But the grow­ing de­mands for an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the crash, es­pe­cially from politi­cians, are mis­guided and un­help­ful, and must stop. It’s not clear why we need such a so-called in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion and what it would achieve. Fun­da­men­tally, what hap­pened on Fri­day was a ve­hic­u­lar crash with tragic con­se­quences. A tran­sit bus veered off-course at a sta­tion where it was not even sup­posed to stop and crashed into a bus shel­ter, re­sult­ing in car­nage. Sad as it is, this is the kind of crash po­lice deal with all the time. They are trained for this, and im­me­di­ately af­ter the crash, po­lice Chief Charles Borde­leau said all nec­es­sary re­sources would be de­voted to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.Was the crash the re­sult of driver er­ror? Me­chan­i­cal fail­ure? Speed­ing? Ice on the road, or some other cause? Let the po­lice do the work for which they are so em­i­nently qual­i­fied, tell us what hap­pened, and then we can move for­ward with other steps. If the Ot­tawa po­lice need help, they know where to look. They have now asked for tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance from the Trans­porta­tion Safety Board, and that’s good. But at this stage, this is essen­tially a po­lice col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and we need to let it run its course with­out in­ter­fer­ence.The idea that we would need an in­de­pen­dent body to un­der­take this in­ves­ti­ga­tion im­plies that Ot­tawa po­lice are in­ca­pable of such an un­der­tak­ing, and that’s ab­surd, as is the sug­ges­tion that we should bring in tran- sit ex­perts from Mon­treal or Cal­gary to in­ves­ti­gate, os­ten­si­bly to pre­vent peo­ple with a vested in­ter­est in OC Transpo and the city from muck­ing it up. Let’s re­mem­ber that this is not an OC Transpo or city hall in­ves­ti­ga­tion; it is a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion. What do tran­sit ex­perts from Mon­treal, Cal­gary or any other city know about col­li­sion in­ves­ti­ga­tion that Ot­tawa po­lice don’t know? What vested in­ter­est does a pro­fes­sional po­lice ser­vice have in a tragic crash other than dig­ging up the facts?There’s no doubt that peo­ple are hurt­ing. Some groups wanted the mayor to make the Trans­porta­tion Safety Board the lead on the safety in­ves­ti­ga­tion. TSB chair Kathy Fox her­self has come out swing­ing, slam­ming Trans­port Canada for ig­nor­ing the board’s rec­om­men­da­tions on bus safety stan­dards fol­low­ing the 2013 fa­tal bus-train crash. In par­tic­u­lar, the rec­om­men­da­tion to dras­ti­cally strengthen the front-end fram­ings of dou­ble-decker buses went un­heeded. Who knows? A stur­dier up­per front-end of bus 269 might have saved lives when it crashed into the shel­ter.And yes, in the sad af­ter­math of the 2013 Fal­low­field crash and last year’s Hum­boldt Bron­cos tragedy, there is an ur­gent need for im­proved safety stan­dards for buses. It may even be nec­es­sary to pull dou­ble deck­ers from ser­vice and per­haps re­design some tran­sit sta­tions. We just don’t have enough in­for­ma­tion to make those de­ci­sions yet. Un­ques­tion­ably, TSB has a role to play go­ing for­ward, but let’s not make de­ci­sions in a vac­uum.Our Num­ber 1 pri­or­ity right now is to find out why Ex­press Bus 269 ca­reened off the tran­sit­way and slammed into a bus shel­ter. That’s the key to the puz­zle and that’s what the po­lice are fo­cused on. Leave them to do their job and when they are done, the TSB can deal with any sys­temic is­sues. In the mean­time, let’s de­vote our­selves to sup­port­ing the fam­i­lies of those who so trag­i­cally lost their lives and to the in­jured who are still re­cov­er­ing in hospi­tal.

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