The United-Nations-sponsored International Road Assessment (iRAP) Programme attempts to increase road-user safety through its encouragements focused on roadway improvements. As stated in their recently distributed material:
“iRAP is a global charity with a vision for a world free of high-risk roads that works in partnerships with the UN, Development Banks, National and Local Governments, Industry and Academia in over 100 countries worldwide.”
In letters sent to many government leaders this past week, iRAP has focused on each country’s abilities to improve road safety by upgrading roads to their 3-Star or better rating. In Canada iRAP indicates that “road crashes cause the death and life-changing injury of 23,298 every year. iRAP indicates that changes toward safer roads in Canada “will save an estimated 102,751 deaths and injuries over the life of the treatments with an economic benefit of US$75,346,808,345”. Numbers like these are staggering.
iRAP continues to focus the world on a commitment to “halve road deaths and injuries by 2030” and is sponsoring a “high-level” meeting on road safety on June 30 and July 1, 2022.
These announcements are ironic considering what is actually happening in Canadian road safety. As an example, recent news articles describe some new developments stemming from the Humboldt Broncos tragic bus crash that occurred in Saskatchewan on April 8, 2018. The Canadian Press has reported that the driver of the truck, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, which struck the Humboldt Broncos bus, has been ruled ineligible to remain in Canada due to “allegations of serious criminality based convictions in Canada”. In other words the criminality stems from his pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death in the crash. As best can be known, on the day of the collision he was distracted by developments around his truck and failed to bring his truck to stop at the stop-sign controlled intersection. This was ultimately determined to be the reason why, in the subsequent crash, numerous occupants on the Humboldt Broncos bus sustained fatal injuries. In reality we cannot know the true circumstances of the crash because the police report was never made public. Given the high publicity of the crash, such that numerous news organizations surrounded the collision site for many days, it is truly ironic that almost no useful information about the details of the crash were ever publicly revealed.
Early in the developments an examination of the site characteristics was conducted by Gorski Consulting using the simple Googlemaps tool. This had to be done because, otherwise, there was no diagram available of the dimensions or characteristics of the site as would be the case when a properly disclosed investigation is made available. This rudimentary analysis revealed that there was likely insufficient visibility at the intersection which likely contributed to the consequences. Furthermore tidbits of information regarding the police speed calculations suggested that the bus driver began braking before he could see the truck – something that cannot occur unless there are some errors in the calculations. Furthermore, the roof of the bus was found to have separated from the rest of the structure – something that should not occur if the bus was reasonably crashworthy. No details have ever been publicly presented as to how the bus occupants sustained their fatal injuries. All these facts demonstrate how the details of one of the most publicized tragedies in Canadian highway history have been kept from the public’s knowledge. This is an indication of the true status of efforts in correcting road safety problems in Canada.
This single incident highlights the vast number of instances where nothing is publicly revealed about how Canadians have come to their deaths and serious injuries. So-called stakeholders who have control over such information use their powers to control what information is leaked out. They are stakeholders because they have a stake, or vested interest, in the outcomes of the collisions that are reported. In many instances these stakeholders are more willing to protect their limited “kingdoms and castles” from civil litigation rather than working toward the common Canadian good.
The efforts of iRAP are likely doomed to failure in Canada not because Canada is incapable of creating safe infrastructure. The efforts of iRAP will fail in Canada because there is too much politics and corruption in those who control its transportation systems. This is a sad condemnation of the otherwise superior conditions which many Canadians are fortunate to experience in other aspects of their lives.