Sask. initiates more stringent semi-truck driver training

Saskatchewan will implement mandatory training for truck drivers seeking a Class 1 commercial licence, effective March 15, 2019.

Testing will also be more stringent.

Farm semi operators, however, will require only an F endorsement.

The government is still working with the agriculture sector on how mandatory training might affect the industry. It noted that farm semis often travel less frequently, through less populated areas and for shorter distances.

The government said the F endorsement on existing drivers’ licences will limit those drivers to operating within Saskatchewan.

Truck drivers who already have Class 1 licences or who take the training will not need the F endorsement.

Improved semi driver training standards have been in the works for about 18 months but took on heightened importance after the fatal April 2018 bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team.

Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for insurance company SGI, said each commercial driver will have to take at least 121.5 hours of training.

This will include classroom and behind the wheel training, which will focus on basic driving techniques, professional driving habits, vehicle inspections and air brake knowledge, the government said.

Driver’s tests will be more rigorous; road tests will be with SGI examiners only.

Hargrave also announced that effective immediately a 12-month safety monitoring program is in place for all new semi drivers.

The Saskatchewan Trucking Association said it approved of the program.

“The industry is on-board with strengthened training requirements,” said executive director Susan Ewart. “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.”

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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