Starting March 15, 2019, drivers seeking a Class 1 commercial licence in Saskatchewan to drive semi trucks will be required to undergo a minimum of 121.5 hours of training.
The change was announced Dec. 3 by the Government of Saskatchewan to make Saskatchewan roads safer for commercial semi truck drivers and everyone who shares the road with them.
“Saskatchewan has been working to improve standards for training curriculum and driver testing for semi drivers since mid-2017,” Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said. “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.”
The new curriculum will include instruction in a classroom, in the yard, and behind the wheel. Training will focus on priority curriculum areas including basic driving techniques, professional driving habits, vehicle inspections and air brakes. Driver’s tests will be aligned to the curriculum ensuring more rigour. Training schools will receive instruction and training on the new curriculum, and the people who deliver training will be held to higher standards.
“The Saskatchewan Trucking Association applauds this move,” Saskatchewan Trucking Association Executive Director Susan Ewart said. “The industry is on-board with strengthened 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.”
Existing Class 1 drivers will be grandfathered in as of the implementation date.
Government continues to consult with the agricultural industry on impacts of potential mandatory training requirements for their sector, given these vehicles generally travel less frequently, shorter distances, and through less densely populated areas. Effective March 15, 2019, anyone wishing to drive a semi used in farming operations will need to successfully obtain an “F” endorsement on their existing driver’s licence and will be restricted to operating within Saskatchewan’s borders. The “F” endorsement will not be required if they already have a Class 1 licence or have taken the mandatory training.
Effective immediately, a 12-month safety monitoring program is being introduced for all new semi drivers. This means, in addition to the existing monitoring that occurs for all drivers, SGI will monitor semi drivers more stringently for a year post-testing so remedial action can be taken if there are safety concerns.
Further, as of March 15, 2019, Class 1 road tests will be undertaken with SGI examiners only.