MELFORT, Sask. – A Saskatchewan government report says the driver of a semi-truck should not have been on the road the day he flew through a stop sign and caused a crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus.
The report filed during the sentencing hearing for Jaskirat Singh Sidhu notes 70 violations of federal and provincial trucking regulations and inspection rules. It includes the 11 days prior to the April 6, 2018, crash at a rural intersection that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
“If Jaskirat Singh Sidhu had been stopped and inspected on April 6, 2018, prior to the incident he would have been placed under a 72-hour out-of-service declaration … preventing him from operating a commercial vehicle,” says the report.
The document is signed by two senior Saskatchewan government officials and is included in the RCMP’s forensic collision reconstruction report.
It expresses concerns about the distances Singh was driving as well as the amount of time he took off to rest.
The report notes that if Singh had accurately documented his time at work on April 1 it “would have resulted in the driver being in violation of the maximum on-duty time of 14 hours for the day.”
The report says questions remain about what happened the day of the crash.
“We have strong concerns regarding the timelines of Jaskirat Singh Sidhu’s day on April 6, 2018, as there are unanswered questions as a result of the incomplete log on that day,” it says. “The identified mileage and distances required to travel to the locations identified in the log and known locations also cause concerns.”
Sidhu had been driving for about a month before the crash occurred.
“For him to have that level of federal violations he probably didn’t even know what his responsibilities were. Somehow the system allowed for that,” said Scott Thomas, whose son Evan died in the crash.
“It’s a symptom to me of a much bigger problem and unfortunately the 29 families on that bus were left to deal with the aftermath of his ignorance.”
The owner of the Calgary-based trucking company, Sukhmander Singh of Adesh Deol Trucking, faces eight charges relating to non-compliance with federal and provincial safety regulations in the months before the crash.
They include seven charges under the federal Motor Vehicle Transport Act: two counts of failing to maintain logs for drivers’ hours, three counts of failing to monitor the compliance of a driver under safety regulations, and two counts of having more than one daily log for any day.
Thomas has been pushing for changes to legislation requiring better training and more oversight of the trucking industry.
“This will be my Waterloo. This will be my hill to die on,” Thomas said outside court Tuesday. “Railroads are regulated. Airlines are regulated. These guys are driving a load of weapons down the road and there’s no regulation there and 29 families can attest to the fact of the carnage … of the human disaster that’s in this courtroom.”
Celeste Leicht, whose son Jacob was killed, also addressed the state of the trucking industry in her victim impact statement.
“It is a mistake that the trucking industry is not held to a higher standard across the country and our federal and provincial governments aren’t jumping all over this to change the laws in a much more significant way,” she said. “There are excellent truck drivers on the roads … who are taking a bad rap for all of those who are inexperienced, untrained and allowed to drive.”