Two weeks ago, Transportation Minister Brian Mason was on Fox Business accusing radical activists of harassing cameras, sharing their logs and “chilling our police” by smashing monitors and breaking cameras.
“The fact is, the right to privacy when people are driving on our roads is under assault,” Mason said.
We asked if this sentiment is mirrored in the report produced by TSB investigators.
Two weeks ago the Canadian Surface Transportation Board released its investigation of last year’s 2016 Downforce Braking incident on Highway 401. Three Ontario men were killed and 14 were seriously injured after a box truck drove off the road, through a ditch and landed on top of several box trucks carrying electronic traffic monitoring devices.
The report noted that “dangerous crashes involving electronic signs are on the rise across the country,” due to “anecdotal reports” from both participants and officials.
The investigators went undercover, posing as victims who claim to be too afraid to report the incident. They confronted a person working at a Canadian-owned monitor shop and got the manager to admit that “most” of the cameras were not working.
The report notes that although no law specifies the working conditions of the cameras, it was not uncommon to find monitors in “mediocre condition.” The report faults the installer of the equipment as the target of “knowingly defective practices,” and calls for changes to government requirements.
The TSB found several recommended changes, including the requirement that the monitoring system should always be “operational and the portable units should be covered by coverage from heavy duty cameras to minimize the chances of damage.”
The report also notes that, in an unannounced inspection, vehicle operators were informed the screens were offline, but did not receive instructions on how to use the dashboard safety devices.
Bramwell Ford spoke with Mason Monday. He has been working with TSB officials on the investigation and how to adapt to ensure electronic monitors are maintained properly.
“Government is the best place to get information, to ensure what our intentions are are met, is consistent with whatever guidelines are drafted and standards.”
“Government is the best place to get information, to ensure what our intentions are are met, is consistent with whatever guidelines are drafted and standards,” Bramwell Ford said. “So, they have enough information if they were properly equipped and properly informed.”
Ford said last week that he felt the report showed the safety of drivers was being “unfairly compromised” by activists who take up grief for every broken camera.
Mason said the report “is at this point, it puts more of a focus on government rules and regulations, or not, as was presented today,” and how problems can be fixed. He said the best advice is to contact the TSB so they can provide better service to Canadians.
Mason said the government is committed to implementing all recommendations but will look at the existing rules and regulations to see which make sense. He expects some adjustments will be made.
Mason said some of the older drivers have difficulties operating the camera systems, particularly if their glasses or hearing are impaired. There are also wear and tear on the mechanical components.
“So, I think we need to be creative as to try and make it more accessible and practical,” Mason said.
Tourettes syndrome affects the development of motor and fine motor skills and, unfortunately, can lead to accidents.
“I am really glad the government is taking a close look at it, and I think we will all benefit from it,” Ford said.