Province strengthens safety for commercial vehicles

By Jessie Weisner (Twitter: @Jessie__Weisner)
October 10, 2018 - 5:49pm Updated: October 11, 2018 - 9:19am

Changes are on the horizon for commercial truck and bus drivers in Alberta.

The province has been working on new regulations since July, aiming to make roads safer for everyone.

The Humboldt Broncos crash left the whole country in a state of shock, and with an Alberta company involved, the government has decided to take action.

As of March 1st, all commercial drivers have to take a mandatory entry-level training program for class one and two licenses.

“The tragic accident in Humboldt really brought into focus the importance of making sure that people who operate large vehicles on our highways are fully trained and competent to do the job,” says Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation.

Safety Fitness Certificates must be renewed every three years. In addition, temporary safety training will be abolished at the beginning of 2019.

“The NTA and industry developed and delivered training over the years that was optional,” said Chris Nash, President of Alberta Motor Transport Association. “The implementation of mandatory entry level training will ensure the industry has the fundamental tools to operate on public roadways, establishing a benchmark of required knowledge for commercial drivers and carriers.”

The province plans on establishing a standardized curriculum in the coming months, meant to be taught in all training schools.

Tests will also be issued afterwards, reviewing all of the content.

One local bus company says the new regulations will make it much easier to hire new employees.

“Well, it will increase, or in effect, enhance the people we can draw from to hire when people come to us,” says Brian Finn, Depot Manager for Medicine Hat-based TRAXX Coachlines. “Be they newbies or people that have been around, we know that they’ve had the basic training and so it will make us a far easier transition into the industry."

Finn says driving on Alberta roads safely is all about defence, but these regulations will allow some more trust among drivers.

“If you have some idea that the people surrounding you and that are sharing the same roads with you have the same basic training that you do,” says Finn. “It can only make it easier for everyone concerned.”

In addition to the drivers, instructors and examiners will be re-trained and tested as well.

There are more than 25,000 commercial carriers operating more than 150,000 vehicles in Alberta alone.

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