Manitoba

Manitoba orders training for rookie truckers

Manitoba truckers must soon have at least 121.5 hours of training to their credit before hitting the highways, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced Tuesday.

Humboldt tragedy showed 'this was necessary': Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler

Rookie commercial truck drivers will face strict training rules beginning on Sept. 1. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Manitoba truckers must soon have at least 121.5 hours of training to their credit before hitting the highways.

The province will mandate the training for first-time commercial truck drivers beginning on Sept. 1, following the lead of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The announcement Tuesday at the Manitoba Legislature comes just days after the truck driver responsible for the deadly Humboldt Broncos crash in Saskatchewan on April 6, 2018, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

"I think it impacted every one of us," Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler said of the tragedy, "and it showed that this [training] was necessary."

Schuler says the Manitoba government did not rush its legislation, which included consultation with more than 100 people, in the wake of the tragedy. He says the province has talked about rolling out stricter training requirements since 2012.

Existing drivers not affected

The new training requirement will exempt drivers who already possess a Class 1 truck driving licence.

The agriculture sector is also freed from additional requirements for a one-year period to allow for further discussion.

Schuler says major trucking companies already require significant training. He says the new legislation will ensure drivers behind the wheel for smaller or independent outfits are sufficiently prepared.

He did not have an estimate for how many drivers do not already meet the training standard. 

Drivers carrying a Class 1 licence must complete a practical road test and written test, but no training is required in advance.

The province currently has more than 41,000 Class 1 drivers, said Manitoba Public Insurance, which will certify driving schools to teach the new curriculum.

Schuler says he hasn't had any pushback from industry concerning the new training requirements.

"You'd be really surprised: I've heard from no one that this wasn't the right way to go."

Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Truckers Association, said the province's mandated standard for pre-licensing training is half of what the industry's norm is. (CBC)

The Manitoba Trucking Association, however, wanted more heft from the legislation, which falls short of the industry-accepted standard of 240 hours, or six weeks, for registered schools.

"To go from nothing to something is fantastic," executive director Terry Shaw told CBC Manitoba's Radio Noon.

"But our industry members, who are seeking to employ people safely and successively as truck drivers, we currently operate to a much higher standard."

About the Author

Ian Froese

Reporter

Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email: ian.froese@cbc.ca.

With files from Radio Noon

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