Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Consultations to help develop British Columbia’s mandatory entry-level training for class I commercial driver’s licenses will begin this summer, as the province beefs up training to bolster trucking safety.
“Safety on our highways is our top priority, and advancing the skill development of new commercial drivers would make roads even safer for everyone,” Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure in Victoria, says in a statement on July 4, 2019. “That is why we are exploring what a practical and consistent mandatory training program for new commercial truck drivers could look like in B.C.”
The province will gather input from the trucking and driver-training industries and other stakeholders to see how a class I driver training program can be aligned with recently introduced entry-level class I driver training standards in other Canadian jurisdictions.
Consultations will also look at how a provincial program could incorporate the entry-level training guidelines that is currently under development by the Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators for inclusion in Canada’s National Safety Code standard.
“Everyone has a stake in ensuring that new commercial drivers have a minimum body of skills and knowledge before they begin operating some of the largest and heaviest vehicles on B.C. roads,” says Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General in Victoria.
The Association has recommended that the province considers minimum standards for entry-level training for class I drivers, and that this focused consultation is designed to help define and set effective standards, Farnworth notes.
“The B.C. Trucking Association welcomes today’s announcement by the provincial government to begin consultation on this critical issue,” says Dave Earle, president and chief executive of B.C. Trucking Association in Langley.
“Development of a commercial driver training standard has been a key priority for our industry for many years,” Earle says. “Our shared goal is to ensure that drivers entering the industry need enhanced training standards, improving road safety outcomes for all road users.”
Consultations on Class 1 mandatory entry-level training will be led by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, with support from ICBC and the Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor General.
While Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are proceeding with more rigorous mandatory driver training for class one commercial driving licences, B.C.’s entry-level rules haven’t changed since 2004.
The province currently only requires a mandatory minimum of 16 hours of air brake training and testing, as well as driver record screening.
Meanwhile, Alberta on March 1 boosted its minimum levels to 113 education hours (not including air brake training), that includes 40.5 hours in-class, 15.5 hours in a stationary vehicle and 57 hours of practical behind-the-wheel training.
Ontario now requires at least 103.5 hours of instruction for a class one licence, and Saskatchewan on March 15 set a minimum of 121.5 hours. Manitoba is consulting on how to toughen its rules.
Sixteen people died and 13 were injured on April 6, 2018 when the driver of a semi-truck ran a stop sign in rural Saskatchewan and hit the team bus of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team.
The driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, was sentenced to eight years in prison for driving offences. He was an inexperienced new driver, who missed four highway signs while distracted by a flapping tarp before he T-boned the bus. The owner of the trucking company, based in Calgary, was also fined.
It seems that legislation is updated ONLY after a person or persons die. Why do those in power get proactive instead of facing a disbelieving public expecting that change was already in place? The province of British Columbia has always been a leader in health and safety and I cannot believe that they were behind standards of many of the other provinces.
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