Amid grief, how Humboldt Broncos families are fighting to change trucking, intersections, organ donation

Since the Humboldt Broncos crash nearly one year ago, families of victims have forced changes to the trucking industry, organ donation and many other areas.

April 6 marks one year since crash that left 16 dead and 13 injured

Families of those killed and injured in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash have worked hard to make roads safer, as well as other changes. (Humboldt Broncos/Twitter)

Since the Humboldt Broncos crash nearly one year ago, families of victims have forced changes to the trucking industry, organ donation and many other areas.

"It's encouraging a lot has been done. It's unfortunate a tragedy needed to be the impetus for that change," said University of Manitoba professor Ahmed Shalaby.

Carol and Lyle Brons applauded the changes to Saskatchewan's rules for semi drivers, but say much more needs to be done. Their daughter, Dayna, was one of 16 people killed in the Humboldt Broncos crash nearly one year ago. (Don Somers/CBC)

For years, Shalaby has been publishing studies exposing the inconsistencies and gaps in road safety across Canada. He said things finally started to change after Broncos families spoke out.

Families of the 16 people killed and 13 injured in the Broncos bus crash have said they can't turn back the clock. But they can make things better for others in the future. That's why, amid their grief and pain, they've spoken out, and lobbied, and petitioned for change.

"It shows the selflessness of those victims and their families, doing their best to ensure others don't go through the same suffering they've been through," Shalaby said.

Scott Thomas, whose son Evan was killed in the crash, advocated with other parents for changes to the trucking industry and to intersections. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Saturday will mark one year since the crash. A memorial service is planned at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt. There will be a moment of silence at 4:50 p.m. CT, the exact time that the collision happened a year earlier. 

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, the Calgary-based truck driver who drove through a stop sign into the path of the Broncos team bus at a rural intersection in Saskatchewan, was sentenced to eight years in prison last month. He pleaded guilty in January to 29 counts of dangerous driving causing death or bodily injury. 

The Saskatchewan government recently announced more than $20 million for fixing Saskatchewan intersections, including the one where the crash occurred.

An organ donor registry has been announced. Some jurisdictions are moving to require seatbelts on buses. And Saskatchewan and Alberta joined Ontario in making semi driver training mandatory last month. Manitoba will soon join them, and there are plans for mandatory training across Canada in 2020.

University of Manitoba professor Ahmed Shalaby says he's amazed by the strength of Humboldt Broncos families involved in the crash. (Holly Caruk/CBC)

Shalaby and the families said these changes are a good start, but there's still much more to be done. A petition started by an Alberta widow, and supported by Shalaby and Broncos families, calls for semi driving to be considered a trade. That would make students eligible for financial assistance, and help professionalize the industry.

They also want graduated licensing, as there is for motorcycles. Semi drivers would have to gradually operate larger and larger vehicles after proving their competence.

"There are still some alarming gaps," Shalaby said.


Jason Warick


Jason Warick is a reporter with CBC Saskatoon.


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