While much focus has been on the driver of the Humboldt bus crash, it’s become evident that an insidious behavioural pattern of distraction while at the wheel is underlying the cause. Although it was a flapping tarp and not a cell phone, every single driver who owns a smart phone and is compelled to jump to its chime indicating the latest facebook notification should take heed. Speaking to passengers is distracting, changing CDs is distracting, and soothing crying babies is distracting. Some minds may be better equipped to deal with distractions than others but should you really be assigning yourself the confidence to multi-task while at the wheel when one misstep can lead to a life-long occupation of guilt.
It’s certainly easy to judge this man responsible for the deaths of these Humboldt teens but hypocrisy given one’s own behaviour is peculiar.
In addition to the driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, law enforcement and the regulatory framework of the transportation industry must also answer to this event. We put doctors in this country through seven years of training and a driver of a transport truck through three weeks, if that. Mr. Sidhu may have lacked training in how to properly secure a load. Our justice system is structured in such a way that police tend not to put resources where they believe that the probability of conviction is low. I postulate that in the minds of law enforcement, the process of obtaining the necessary evidence to charge a suspected distracted driver is not worth the application of resources and hence this matter is at large with you and I witnessing distracted drivers in metropolitan centres daily.
If the financial penalties were materially strong and the justice system had the practical powers to enforce, we could actually make headway toward significantly reducing this problem.