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Mandatory training standards for semi drivers come into effect

New mandatory standardized training requirements take effect on Friday, March 15 for those wanting a Class 1 commercial licence in Saskatchewan to drive semi trucks.

The changes were announced in December by Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave, after consultation with those in the trucking industry, training schools, additional stakeholders and other jurisdictions. Changes were the culmination of work SGI began in 2017 to improve standards for training of commercial semi drivers.

“These changes will improve safety on our province’s roads by ensuring Class 1 drivers receive more rigorous standardized training, based on strengthened curriculum requirements,” Hargrave said.

Highlights of the changes include:

• Drivers seeking a Class 1 commercial licence in Saskatchewan to drive semi trucks will be required to undergo a minimum standardized 121.5 hours of training (in-classroom, in-yard and behind the wheel) focusing on priority curriculum areas including basic driving techniques, professional driving habits, vehicle inspections and air brakes.

• More rigorous driver’s tests, aligned with the new curriculum.

• A 12-month safety monitoring program is in place (as of December 4, 2018) for all new semi drivers; SGI is monitoring semi drivers more stringently for a year post-testing so remedial action can be taken if there are safety concerns.

• Class 1 road tests will be undertaken with SGI examiners only (previously, certain accredited training schools were allowed to test students).

A standardized curriculum has been rolled out to training schools across the province since the changes were announced in December.

Existing Class 1 drivers are grandfathered in as of the implementation date.

Under the new requirements, anyone wishing to drive a semi used in farming operations as of March 15, 2019 will need to pass the same more rigorous tests, to get an “F” endorsement on their existing driver’s licence. They will be restricted to operating within Saskatchewan’s borders and will be subjected to the same 12-month monitoring program as Class 1 drivers.

More information is available online at the SGI website.

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