Saskatchewan will be imposing stricter rules and standards for semi truck driver training starting this spring.
Starting on March 15, 2019, anyone who wants a Class 1 trucking license in the province will have to go through a minimum 121.5 hours of training within a standardized curriculum.
Driver training will include instruction in a classroom and behind the wheel, prioritizing basic techniques, professional driving habits, vehicle inspections and air brakes.
According to the province, semi driver instructors and training schools will be held to higher standards and all Class 1 road tests will be done by SGI examiners and will be tougher.
“Our ongoing consultations with other provinces have helped address gaps and inconsistencies when commercial drivers cross provincial borders. Stronger training requirements in Saskatchewan and across Canada will help make our province’s and our nation’s roads safer,” Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for SGI said in a news release.
While the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy in April 2018 turned a spotlight on semi driver training standards, the province had been working to improve them since the middle of 2017.
The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA), which represents the interests of the industry, applauded the move to strengthen training requirements.
“Commercial drivers play a critical role delivering goods that keep our economy moving. Our industry also has a responsibility to make sure commercial semi drivers have the knowledge and skills to do their job, ensuring the safety of everyone on the road,” said STA executive director Susan Ewart in a news release.
Farmers who drive semis for agricultural operations will also now have to obtain an F endorsement on their existing licenses and will be restricted to driving within provincial borders. This won’t apply to any farmers who already have a Class 1 license with mandatory training.
Starting immediately, SGI will be monitoring new semi drivers more stringently for one year after they qualify for their Class 1 license.
Drivers who already hold a Class 1 license to drive a semi will be grandfathered in and not have to retrain.
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