Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has issued a strongly-worded annual report that says Transport Canada can do much more to prevent accidents and save lives – even though the report shows a decline in accident rates and safety improvements.
But that’s not good enough.
Says TSB’s chair Wendy Tadros: “For families that have lost a loved one at a rail crossing or in a plane crash, the fact that the overall numbers are going down isn’t going to matter.
She continues, “They want answers and, more importantly, to know that Transport Canada and industry will step up to fix the problem.”
I don’t know if family members who have lost someone particularly care if the problem is going to be fixed or not, but I do appreciate Tadros’ candor.
With regards to aviation (which is why we are all here, I suppose), the TSB says it is concerned about aviation safety in Canada, noting that the slow pace to reduce risks is ‘troubling’, adding that there has been little to no improvement on things such as collision warning systems, landing accidents and runway overruns.
The annual report said even though cutting back on the risk of collisions on runways has been a priority, the number of incidents in Canada has not come down. There were 351 in 2010; 446 in 2011; and 433 incidents in 2012.
“Despite the board’s heightened concern, [Transport Canada] has done little to encourage airports to improve procedures and adopt enhanced collision warning systems, which would considerably reduce the risk of collisions,” the report said.
The report concluded that in 2012, the overall percentage of marine, rail, air and pipeline accidents decreased by one per cent from the year before, but the number of fatalities went up by three people.
The TSB investigates civil aviation occurrences that take place in or over Canada and any place that is under Canadian air traffic control. It also investigates occurrences anywhere in the world that involved an aircraft in respect of which or that was operated by a person to whom a Canadian aviation document had been issued under Part I of the Aeronautics Act.
Every year, about 250 aviation accidents and 800 aviation incidents in Canada are reported to the TSB. It can also be involved in the investigation of some 200 international occurrences in the course of a year as well.