Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released the report on its safety study, Expanding the use of locomotive voice and video recorders in Canada. The study looked at technology, legislative and regulatory issues, the potential safety benefits of installing recorders in locomotives, and the appropriate use of locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVR) information, among other subjects.

“The need for on-board voice and video recorders has been on the TSB Watchlist since 2012,” said Kathy Fox, TSB’s Chair. “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 concluded that expanding the use of these recordings has the potential to enhance safety and provide a better understanding and assessment of operational and human factors within the locomotive cab. In addition to their use in TSB accident investigations, railway companies 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 behaviour.

The study also recognized concerns that the expanded use of LVVR could infringe on employees’ rights, concluding that successful implementation of LVVR will depend on ensuring that the appropriate balance of rights and obligations for all key stakeholders is achieved through the establishment of a clear framework and guidelines for the use of the data.

Key railway stakeholders participated in the safety study, including Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada, Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National Railway, VIA Rail, GO Transit, and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference.

Now that the study is completed, TSB calls upon the Minister of Transport to take concrete action to initiate implementation of LVVR as soon as possible, and to introduce legislation to permit the expanded use of on-board recorders in all modes of transportation. TSB is committed to working with Transport Canada on the development of an action plan and appropriate policy options.