Starting today, Saskatchewan now has new standardized mandatory training requirements for a Class 1 commercial licence to drive semi trucks.
Saskatchewan is the third jurisdiction in Canada to have standardized training, Ontario and Alberta have done so previously. The standards for new drivers include a minimum of 121.5 hours of training and a 12-month safety monitoring program for all new semi drivers. Existing Class 1 drivers will be grandfathered in. The Minister for SGI, Joe Hargrave, explains why, "You have to grandfather people in, 90% of people that take the test have already had training. We have a system where we check them on points where we know their driving history. These people here, (new drivers) since we made the announcement, are all on a 12-month program where we will be examining their driving record with a fine tooth comb over the next 12 months."
When Hargrave was asked about the petition from the community of Humboldt for the graduated drivers' licence program he stated, "It is something that the federal government is going to look at. We are pleased with the program we have come out with the 121.5 hours. We know over time those programs will change and they have to change. We think this is a great start and we will see what the federal government comes out in the not too distant future."
Hargrave says consultations continue with the agriculture industry on training requirements. Hargrave noted that "farmers don't drive seven days a week with their semis, their distances are far less, and the amount of time they use their semis is far less." He cautions drivers who may be hauling livestock or grain outside our borders. "Our class Three F, which would be what the farmers use, will not be recognized in Manitoba or Alberta. So farmers, anybody travelling outside of Saskatchewan will have to have the full training program."