Government seeking input on driver training initiatives

Above: Minister Brian Mason launches commercial trucking consultations at Alberta Motor Transport Association in Rocky View.

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta is seeking input on its plan to improve training, testing, and oversight of all Alberta drivers, particularly those in the commercial trucking industry.

Consultations will take place on three initiatives: mandatory entry-level training for commercial drivers, pre-entry requirements for new commercial carriers, and modifications to the road test model for all driver’s licence classes.

“Safety on Alberta roads is a top priority and a commitment of our government,” said Minister of Transportation Brian Mason. “We have laid the groundwork for changes that will enhance safety and improve services for Albertans. Now we need to hear from Albertans and stakeholders about the best approach.”

Chris Nash, president of the Alberta Motor Transport Association said his organization puts safety above all.

“We believe minimum standard training is required for both new and existing commercial drivers and carriers to operate on Alberta’s roadways,” Nash said. “We look forward to working with government to develop standard training in the transportation industry.”

The feedback will inform the government’s plan to introduce mandatory training and enhanced road and knowledge tests for drivers seeking to obtain: Class 1 driver’s license (tractor trailer), Class 2 driver’s license (bus), and “S” endorsements (school bus).

Alberta will also consider introducing requirements for new Alberta commercial carriers to prove their compliance with national standards before receiving safety certification. Currently, companies have 60 days to prove compliance with federal transportation safety regulations.

The government is also considering returning driver testing to the hands of government examiners.

The province says the changes follow a 2016 independent report which identified issues in the industry. The announcement comes shortly after Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was charged with 29 counts of dangerous driving in relation to the Humbolt tragedy, and a day after Sukhdeep Deol was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and criminal negligence causing death in the Thorhild collision with a school bus that resulted in the death of 15-year-old Maisie Watkinson.

An online survey is available for Albertans to provide input.

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