Semis involved in fatal collision shouldn't have been on road: Driver trainer

A driving instructor with 22 years of experience says the three semis involved in a fatal collision north of Rosetown last week should not have been on the road, based on the weather conditions at the time.

Saskatchewan semi drivers are required to pass a road test, but hundreds have passed without any training

Swift Current driving instructor Reg Lewis says he delayed a driver test for someone on the same day a fatal collision occurred north of Rosetown last week because he "couldn't see down the block" due to fog. (Jason Warick)

The three semi-trailers connected to the death of a Rosetown firefighter should not have been on the road that morning, says one of Saskatchewan's most experienced driving trainers.

"What were those trucks doing on the highway?" said Reg Lewis. "I don't care whose load was on those trucks. I would never have left Rosetown."

Lewis, a certified semi driving instructor for the past 22 years, was in Rosetown Wednesday morning. He was supposed to take a student for his semi road test. But Lewis postponed the test after seeing the thick fog and icy conditions.

"You couldn't see a block down the street in town. I never left until 1:00," he said.

According to RCMP, at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, two semi-trailers collided on Highway 4 roughly 20 kilometres north of Rosetown. One semi was attempting to come on to the highway when it was struck by the other.

No one was seriously injured, but Rosetown volunteer firefighter Darrell James Morrison was killed after arriving at the scene to help. He was struck by a third semi and died shortly after being transported to Rosetown hospital.

Lewis, whose own parents were killed in a collision with a semi, said mandatory, extensive training is the key.

Saskatchewan semi drivers are required to pass a road test, but hundreds have passed without any training. Lewis said mandatory training time on the road with a certified instructor will save lives.

"I don't believe any of these trucks is doing anything on purpose. I do believe that it's inexperience and not thinking far enough ahead," he said.

Lewis noted that another Saskatchewan man was killed in a semi collision Wednesday morning just one hour earlier near Wakaw.

A semi hauling crusher dust collided with a car just outside Wakaw. The semi driver was uninjured but the man in the car was declared dead at the scene. His name has not been released.

RCMP said Friday there is no new information on either fatality and both investigations are ongoing.

Lewis and others have been vocal advocates for mandatory semi driver training since 16 people aboard the Humboldt Broncos team bus were killed in a collision with a semi April 6. They say mandatory training would save lives.

Ontario is the only province with mandatory training, but Alberta and other provinces have set time frames to make training mandatory. Saskatchewan officials announced a mandatory training course in the weeks following the Broncos crash, but then reversed their position the same day. They've said things need to improve and they're looking at all options.