MELFORT, Sask. – Sentencing for the truck driver involved in the Humboldt collision will be March 22 after the Crown and defense have issued their final submissions.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu spoke in court Jan. 31, with media reports indicating he told the families he takes full responsibility for the incident, saying his lack of experience led to the tragedy.
Sidhu’s lawyer said in court that his client did not register the four highway signs and stop sign at the intersection because of a loose tarp that was flapping on one of his trailers. Sidhu had pulled over to try and fix the loose tarp just prior to the bus collision.
Sidhu pleaded guilty to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
The prosecutor in the case is seeking a 10-year prison sentence, which would be followed by a 10-year driving prohibition. The prosecutor indicated that Sidhu will be deported after he serves his prison term.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) said it stood with the victims’ families, who called for more oversight and enforcement of the industry during their statements in court.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Sidhu had committed 70 violations leading up to the collision with the Humboldt Broncos team bus, most for HOS irregularities. The CTA said it has been asked repeatedly by media if this is normal for a single operator, to which they answered “no.”
The alliance did say, however, that there are a small percentage of carriers that lack appropriate safety management policies, thorough training, and oversight of drivers – something the CTA says needs to change.
In the wake of the recent announcement of a national MELT program by 2020, the CTA said there also needs to be tamper-proof, third-party certified ELDs to bring an end to the type of HOS abuse that was revealed in the Humboldt case.
The CTA is calling for strict enforcement of all ELDs in commercial trucks no later than one year after the Canadian ELD rule is published, which is expected this spring.
The alliance pointed out that according to Transport Canada, 20% of all collisions are caused by fatigue for both truck and passenger vehicle drivers. The CTA said there are approximately 9,400 HOS-related incidents per year in Canada, and tamper-proof, certified ELDs will significantly improve compliance.
“It is the responsibility of all trucking companies operating in Canada to keep the public safe and to achieve compliance by employing and properly supervising only well-trained, professional drivers who fully understand the rules of the road,” read the CTA’s statement. “CTA will therefore be closely following the upcoming trial of the trucking company owner involved in the Humboldt Broncos case.”
Sukhinder Singh, the owner the trucking company Sidhu drove for, Adesh Deol Trucking, is charged with eight counts of non-compliance with federal and provincial safety regulations.
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