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Canada announces joint safety study on locomotive voice and video recorders to improve rail safety

Transport Canada and Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will conduct a joint safety study on locomotive voice and video recorders.

“Locomotive voice and video recorders are a critical safety tool that provide investigators with an unparalleled understanding of how and why accidents happen. Transport Canada strongly supports the use of voice and video recorders on trains and is pleased to launch this joint initiative with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, ” said Lisa Raitt Minister of Transport.

In close collaboration with the TSB, Transport Canada will explore how voice and video recorders can be used to provide data to accident investigators and improve safety.  This study will inform the basis of any‎ regulatory or legislative changes that may be developed to improve rail safety through the use of this technology.

When an accident occurs, TSB investigators need objective data to understand what happened and how a similar situation can be prevented. Voice and video recordings would provide the TSB with the information needed to fully understand how crews communicate and act immediately before an accident.

The Government of Canada believes that voice and video recorders, coupled with strong safety management systems, will help railways better manage safety and prevent accidents from happening.

Transport Canada will consult Canadians, the railway industry, other levels of government, and partners so that they can provide feedback on the way forward.

Quick Facts

  • Voice recordings have been used in the aviation industry for more than three decades.
  • In March 2015, the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities recommended that Transport Canada require the use of voice and video recordings as part of a railway company’s safety management system.
  • On April 1, 2015, the new Railway Safety Management System (SMS) Regulations, 2015 came into effect. The SMS Regulations strengthen requirements and help railways better identify and manage safety risks.
  • On April 27, 2015, Minister Raitt launched Rail Safety Week by announcing new funding for railway crossing improvements. This year, Transport Canada will provide more than $9.7 million for improvements at over 600 railway crossings across the country through its Grade Crossing Improvement Program.

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