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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Canada's TSB calls for locomotive video, voice technology

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) yesterday released its safety study and reiterated the agency's call for voice and video recorders on locomotives.

TSB's report, "Expanding the Use of Locomotive Voice and Video Recorders in Canada," examines technology, legislative and regulatory issues and potential safety benefits of installing recorders in locomotives, and the appropriate use of locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVR) information.

"The need for on-board voice and video recorders has been on the TSB Watchlist since 2012," said TSB Chair Kathy Fox in a press release. "In addition to providing important information to TSB investigations, data from these recordings, used in the context of a pro-active, non-punitive safety management system, will be invaluable to help railways identify and mitigate risks before accidents occur."

The study concludes expanding the use of such recordings can enhance safety and provide a better understanding and assessment of operational and human factors inside the locomotive cab.

In addition to their use in TSB accident investigations, railroads could — if permitted—use LVVR data to enhance safety by developing and revising employee training programs, assessing and changing equipment designs and company operating procedures, improving crew security, and identifying risky behavior, TSB officials said.

The study also recognizes that expanded LVVR use could infringe on employees' rights, but concludes that successful use of LVVR information will depend on an appropriate balance of rights and obligations for all stakeholders.

In response to the TSB report, Canadian Pacific joined federal officials who called for the use of LVVR technology. However, the Class I said the true value of LVVR technology lies in shaping behavior and preventing accidents before they happen.

CP has argued in the past that without a preemptive disciplinary option, LVVR would do little to improve safety.

"This technology needs to be implemented, but it needs to be used in a way that reinforces sound safety practices and rewards safe behaviors," said CP President and Chief Operating Officer Keith Creel in a press release. "On one hand, the TSB is saying yes to accident prevention but on the other, it refuses to allow the railroad to take appropriate corrective action, including applying disciplinary consequences, in the event of unsafe behaviors."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/20/2016