Saskatchewan is set to introduce mandatory semi-trailer driver training, with another province mulling whether it should follow suit.
The announcement comes after the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus collision incident, wherein a semi-trailer collided with a bus carrying local junior hockey players. The crash resulted in 16 casualties and 13 injured individuals.
In an email to CBC News, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) said that it will “have a plan in place by early 2019, with full implementation shortly after,” for mandatory Class 1 driver training.
“We are all united in wanting to make our roads as safe as possible,” the insurer said in the email, referring to the Humboldt Broncos collision.
According to SGI, 10% of the more than 2,000 people who took their Class 1 license exam last year had not undergone any sort of training.
Since the infamous crash incident, there have been calls for mandatory training for semi-trailer drivers – an optional feature in every province but Ontario.
SGI said that the province’s training program will start with a minimum course length of 70 hours, and could possibly be extended to match Ontario’s requirement of 103.5 hours.
Manitoba is also looking into implementing a standardized mandatory training system for commercial truck drivers. While educators in the province already provide training approved by Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), it is entirely optional.
Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler revealed that Manitoba Infrastructure, Manitoba Education and MPI will work together on how to make a mandatory training system work.
“This concept is not novel, it’s not radical, it’s just long overdue for transport truck drivers and so this is a real good step in that direction,” commented Manitoba Trucking Association general manager Terry Shaw.
Both Schuler and Shaw claim that their announcement has nothing to do with the Humboldt crash incident, with Schuler adding that the idea has been around for at least a decade. The minister also said that he would like to see a national standard – or at least a standard for the western provinces – for the training, mentioning that he has spoken to his counterparts in other provinces.