Calgary-based driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu will spend eight years in prison for his role in the Humboldt Broncos crash near Tisdale, Sask., which killed 16 and injured 13.
He had pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving causing death or bodily injury.
“This collision was avoidable,” Judge Inez Cardinal said in her decision. “He missed key indicators of an approaching intersection, and his prolonged inattention resulted in the deaths of 16 people and caused bodily harm to 13 others.”
There was nothing blocking his view, but he failed to notice the approaching intersection, bus, or five signs indicating a stop sign was ahead, she said. “Mr. Sidhu had ample time to react – over 400 meters and nearly 15 to 17 seconds – as he approached the intersection, had he been paying attention.”
“It is baffling, and incomprehensible, that a professional driver, even one with little experience, could miss so many markers over such a long distance,” she said. “His inattention displays risky behavior given he saw the signs but they did not register because he continued to focus on the trailers behind him. “
The “horrific consequences” of the collision required a sentence of more than six years, even when accounting for Sidhu’s guilty pleas and actions that were not deliberate, she said.
“Somehow we must stop this carnage on our highways. It should not take an event such as this to make people realize that operating a motor vehicle requires the full attention of the driver. Stop signs must be obeyed and everyone, regardless of what type of motor vehicle they are operating, must come to a complete stop before proceeding. As is apparent in this case and the cases noted, seconds matter. Attention to the road matters.”