The proposed regulation requires certain passenger and freight railways to install voice and video recording equipment in the cab of the locomotive for the purpose of collecting data on in-cab operating employee actions. That data could become useful in managing safety efforts and ensuring accident prevention, the agency said on May 24. The proposed regulation also details technical specifications on the recording devices and the implementation of those devices.
The agency stressed that the data collection would require rail companies to respect the privacy rights of employees per the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Transportation Canada will take public comments for 60 days following the publication of the proposed regulations, the agency said.
Although the proposed regulation could cost C$76.3 million to implement (a Canadian dollar is worth about US$0.74), rail companies praised the measure. The Railway Association of Canada (RAC), a trade group representing Canadian National (NYSE: CNI) and Canadian Pacific (NYSE: CP) and other Canadian railroads, said it has been working with group members, the railway unions and regulators for several years to develop an implementation plan for the recording devices.
“Canada’s railways have long advocated for the implementation of locomotive voice and video recorders on trains,” said Marc Brazeau, RAC president. “Allowing railways to use on-board voice and video recordings in the context of proactive safety management will be instrumental in the rail industry’s efforts towards accident prevention.”
Regulation requiring the installation of voice and video recorders in locomotives has been ongoing in Canada for years. The Transportation Safety Board, which investigates transportation accidents in Canada, has recommended recording devices in locomotive cabs since 2003. It published a report in 2016 that outlined the benefits of installing voice and video recorders.
More recently,the government amended the Railway Safety Act to mandate the installation as part of the May 2018 passage of the Transportation Modernization Act.
Will voice and video recorders be required on U.S. trains?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is expected to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring inward- and outward-facing recording devices in the controlling locomotive cabs for passenger trains, including regularly scheduled intercity rail passenger trains and commuter rail trains.
Some railroads have already installed devices, although they haven’t been mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to do so, according to the FRA.
The FAST Act required the DOT and the FRA to promulgate this rulemaking.