EX­PERTS CALL ON TSB TO IN­VES­TI­GATE LAST WEEK’S FA­TAL BUS CRASH IN OT­TAWA

The Globe and Mail (Alberta Edition) - - NEWS -

Ex­perts are call­ing on the fed­eral Trans­porta­tion Safety Board to in­ves­ti­gate a deadly bus crash in Ot­tawa to pre­vent sim­i­lar in­ci­dents from oc­cur­ring again.

Ahmed Sha­l­aby, a civil en­gi­neer­ing pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba, said the Trans­porta­tion Safety Board should be in­volved in in­ves­ti­gat­ing the deadly crash to en­sure the probe is trans­par­ent and rec­om­men­da­tions are made to im­prove safety across the coun­try.

“The bus was car­ry­ing 90 pas­sen­gers,” he said. “Is that not im­por­tant enough to war­rant a fed­eral safety in­ves­ti­ga­tion? If it isn’t, then what is?”

On Fri­day af­ter­noon, a dou­ble-decker bus op­er­ated by lo­cal trans­porta­tion agency OC Transpo hopped a curb and struck a tran­sit shel­ter, carv­ing deep into the ve­hi­cle’s up­per level and crush­ing a num­ber of seats. Three peo­ple were killed and 23 were in­jured.

The safety board con­firmed that they are not in­ves­ti­gat­ing the bus crash as the fed­eral in­de­pen­dent agency only probes ma­rine, pipe­line, rail and air in­ci­dents.

“If this bus were a train, the [board] would im­me­di­ately in­ves­ti­gate. That’s not enough to make a dif­fer­ence to me,” Dr. Sha­l­aby said.

The board in­ves­ti­gated a crash in 2013 in which six peo­ple were killed in an OC Transpo dou­ble-decker bus, but only be­cause a Via Rail train was in­volved. But Dr. Sha­l­aby said the kind of ve­hi­cle in­volved in a mass-fa­tal­ity crash shouldn’t make a dif­fer­ence in what spurs a gov­ern­ment-led in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Gra­ham Larkin, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Vi­sion Zero, which works to­ward re­duc­ing traf­fic-re­lated deaths and in­juries, said he be­lieves the board should be in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion since these types of crashes have oc­curred be­fore.

Both he and Dr. Sha­l­aby said there’s a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties in road in­ci­dents than other modes of trans­porta­tion the safety board looks into.

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