Winnipeg, MB — Commercial truck drivers in Manitoba will be required to complete just over 120 hours of training before taking to the province’s roads and highways.
Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler says mandatory training for new Class 1 truck drivers is to begin Sept. 1.
Schuler says the government had been looking at mandatory training since 2012, but the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan last year underlined its necessity.
He says the government received support in consultations with groups that included the trucking industry, agriculture sector, municipalities and small commercial carriers.
Manitoba is giving the agriculture sector a one-year grace period, so the new training doesn’t interfere with this year’s start of the farming season.
Currently, a driver can get a Class 1 licence without any training by completing a written exam and practical road test.
Any driver who already has a commercial licence before September will not be required to complete the training.
Schuler said the Broncos crash was an impetus.
“Many of us have loved ones, in my case I have children, who would ride on these very same buses and go to sports events. I think it impacted every one of us and it showed that this is necessary,” he said.
“We wanted to be very careful as a government that we got it right.”
The 121 1/2 training hours that will be required are consistent with Saskatchewan and Alberta, which also moved to bring in mandatory training since the Broncos crash. It came into effect this month in both provinces.
The truck driver who caused the deadly crash was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving.
Court heard how Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary drove through a stop sign and into the path of the junior hockey team’s bus last April. Sixteen people were killed and 13 were injured.
Sidhu had started working for the trucking company three weeks earlier and had only been driving on his own for a few days before the crash.
Canada’s transportation ministers have agreed to develop an entry-level national training standard for semi-truck drivers. Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau has said it will be in place by next January.