Canadian transportation officials have introduced an amendment to the Railway Safety Act that would mandate the installation of locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVR) in cabs, Transport Canada announced yesterday.
The proposal, included in the Transportation Modernization Act, was designed to improve the safety of rail transportation in Canada, Transport Canada officials said in a press release.
The use of LVVR, or inward facing cameras, has been on the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's (TSB) Watchlist since 2012 in response to a fatal train accident in Burlington, Ontario.
Following a joint study between Transport Canada and the TSB on the safety benefits of the technology, the TSB in September 2016 released a report that determined rail safety would be enhanced if the LVVR data could be collected and used for "proactive safety management" and accident or incident investigations.
To address employee privacy concerns, the proposal announced yesterday would limit the purposes for which that data can be used. The amendments state LVVR data would only be used by: • the TSB for accident and incident investigations; • federally regulated companies to conduct analysis via random sampling to identify safety concerns as part of ongoing safety management; to determine the cause of a reportable accident/incident not being investigated by the TSB; and to address a prescribed safety threat; and • Transport Canada, for policy development; to determine the cause of a reportable accident or incident not being investigated by the TSB; to address a safety threat; and to ensure compliance with provisions in the LVVR regime.
Canadian Pacific President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel commended Canadian government officials for announcing the LVVR legislation. CP and Creel have long advocated for the use of LVVR.
"Having the ability to use this technology in a proactive manner will allow us to prevent incidents and improve rail safety – further protecting the public, our employees and the goods we transport for our customers," said Creel in a press release.
The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) also announced its support for mandatory LVVR installation.
"This technology is working to increase safety in other jurisdictions where it has been deployed," said RAC President and CEO Michael Bourque in a press release. "This requirement addresses a key Transportation Safety Board recommendation that has been on its Watchlist since 2012."
Teamsters Canada, however, are opposed to the measure. The labor organization called on Canada's Transport Minister Marc Garneau to further explain how workers privacy will be protected.
"Marc Garneau's proposal is an unprecedented violation of Canadians' privacy," said Doug Finnson, president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, in a press release. "How can he possibly think that workers aren’t getting the short end of the stick?"