ETOBICOKE, Ont. – Transport Canada says it will require all commercial drivers to have electronic logging devices – one of the recommendations out of a coroner’s report into the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. The federal department says it will make the tamper-resistant devices mandatory on June 12, 2021.
“These new mandatory logging devices in commercial vehicles will improve safety for drivers and for all Canadians,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a news release Thursday.
Electronic logging was one of six recommendations made by the Saskatchewan Coroner’s Service after the Broncos crash in April 2018. The collision between the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi-truck left 16 people dead and 13 injured.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary pleaded guilty earlier this year to 29 counts of dangerous driving and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Court heard that Sidhu was an inexperienced driver who had been on the job for three weeks. He had worked with another driver for two weeks and had been on his own for just a few days before he missed a stop sign and drove into the path of the bus.
Fatigue was not considered a factor, but the truck’s owner has admitted he did not follow provincial and federal safety rules.
Sukhmander Singh of Adesh Deol Trucking pleaded guilty to failing to keep a daily driver’s log, neglecting to ensure his drivers complied with safety regulations and having more than one daily logbook in the months before the crash. He was fined $5,000.
The federal government said mandatory electronic logging will ensure truck and bus drivers are not on the road for longer than their daily limit. The devices will track when and how long drivers have been behind the wheel.
Garneau said the decision comes after talks with industry partners and all levels of government.
“We know fatigue increases the risks of accidents and that is why we are taking action across all modes of transportation,” he said.
Industry groups said the move will improve road safety.
“The vast majority of our companies and drivers in our industry fully comply with hours of service rules, but … the implementation of tamper-proof, third-party electronic logging devices will further enhance safety,” said Scott Smith, chairman of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, added that it will allow compliant carriers to compete with rates achievable within the legal environment they operate in.
“It will help enforcement officers more easily verify compliance and remove those operators from the road who are not operating legally, improving road safety for all users,” he said.
Transport Canada announced last June that the department will require all newly built highway buses to have seatbelts by September 2020. Some charter bus companies say many new vehicles already have seatbelts, although there is no way to ensure passengers are wearing them.