After Canadian transportation authorities announced strict minimum training standards for truck drivers, many are wondering if American authorities should ask the same of their entry-level truck drivers.
On Monday, December 3, the Saskatchewan government announced that starting in March of 2019, all student truck drivers must spend a minimum of 121.5 hours in training before they are eligible to receive their Class 1 commercial licence, according to 620CKRM.
This 121.5 hours includes 47 hours of classroom work, 57 hours behind the wheel, and 17.5 hours of training in the yard.
Authorities say that the new stricter training standards were created in part in response to a semi truck vs. hockey team bus crash back in April that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
Joe Hargrave of the Saskatchewan Government Insurance explained that the new standards are expected to keep everyone safer on the road: “It’s all about safety on the highways. Better trained drivers and rigorous testing will make our roads safer,” he said.
Saskatchewan’s stricter truck driver training standards could lead the way for stronger truck driver training requirements here in the U.S.
Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has no minimum number of behind the wheel training hours for truck driving students whatsoever. Rather, federal law only requires that students “demonstrate proficiency in knowledge training and behind-the-wheel training on a driving range and on a public road, with training obtained from an instructional program that meets FMCSA standards.”
California recently took a major step in passing legislation that requires entry-level truck drivers to spend at least 15 hours training behind the wheel before they may obtain their CDL. This law goes into effect in June of 2020.