Road inspectors are required to make records of road safety deficiencies. These log books are as important to public safety as the log books filled out by truck drivers. News media have reported that Jaskirat Singh Sidhu’s log book contained 51 violations of trip documentations and another 19 related to provincial trip inspection regulations. But what kind, and how many, violations existed in the road inspectors’ log books with respect to documenting the visibility obstruction that existed at the intersection of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash?
In 1997 six persons died at the same intersection and a Coroner’s Inquest was held. If the intersection was not studied before that time then such a study must have been required for the purpose of the Inquest. Twenty-one years passed between the six-fatal crash in 1997 and the Homboldt Broncos crash in 2018. Road inspectors are typically required to examine highways at the rate of once or twice per week. Thus in 21 years there could have been at least 1092 to 2184 inspections that were required of the noted intersection. Notes should have been made to document the presence of the trees that blocked the intersection sight triangle. Those notes should have been incorporated into a prioritized list of projects that needed to be completed.
Procedures for prioritized listing of future road works were well established for many years before 1997. For example Gorski Consulting has a copy of an Ontario Government manual from 1991 entitled “Inventory Manual for Municipal Roads” that provides strict instructions for filling out “Road Appraisal Sheets” for every road segment within a municipality’s jurisdiction. Such sheets document every possible safety problem. These sheets needed to be completed every five years. This process was not unique to Ontario. Nor has the need to make these documentations changed.
So where are these log books and what was contained in the Road Appraisal Sheets for the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 where the Broncos bus crash occurred? Official news media were quick to distribute the Government of Saskatchewan report that discussed the various documentation infractions by Mr. Sidhu but they provided no information to the public about the road inspectors’ log books or the Road Appraisal Sheets. The Government of Saskatchewan is not a neutral party in this tragedy. By failing to provide sufficient visibility at the intersection they should be held liable for the collision consequences. So why would the official news media be using the report supplied by the government but fail to obtain the additional data about the government’s liability toward the collision consequences?