Saskatchewan government to mandate training for semi-truck drivers after Humboldt Broncos crash

SGI will mandate a minimum 70 hours of training for semi drivers beginning early 2019. Jonathan Hayward/CP

Starting early 2019, the Saskatchewan government will mandate a minimum 70 hours of Class 1 driver training.

The news comes after 16 people were killed and 13 injured in a crash between a semi-truck and the Humboldt Broncos team bus on April 6.

FULL COVERAGE: Humboldt Broncos bus crash

A Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) memo from April 25, obtained by Global News, references the disaster at the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 335.

“As you know, a lot has been in the media following the Humboldt tragedy and there is a spotlight on Class 1 testing and Class 1 driver training and that’s OK,” the memo reads.

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Currently, all provinces require commercial drivers to pass written, medical and road tests, with training encouraged but not mandatory. Only Ontario requires drivers to complete a 103.5-hour course in the classroom and at the wheel with a licensed school.

READ MORE: Only Ontario requires truck driver training, but Humboldt crash could change that

Click to play video: 'Truck training required only in Ontario' Truck training required only in Ontario
Truck training required only in Ontario – Apr 13, 2018

The memo states the curriculum will include at least 70 hours of in-class, in-yard and behind-the-wheel training. It notes there is a possibility this will be increased to 103.5 hours to match Ontario’s legislation.

“Mandatory training will set a standard, so all drivers are trained with the right competencies. The training will produce qualified and skilled drivers and it will eliminate inconsistencies between how people are getting their training and the content of that training,” it continues. 

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It also states that SGI has been working since 2017 to come up with a standardized curriculum and a required number of hours of training.

READ: The SGI memo mandating semi driver training.

Once the new legislation is in place, a driver will no longer be able to take the road test to become a Class 1 driver, unless they have completed the training at a recognized school.

Carriers are also eligible to conduct their own training so long as it matches the provincial standards.

READ MORE: Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki sets sights on walking again: ‘I kind of want to prove them wrong’

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The crash occurred at an intersection with a stop sign as the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey team was on their way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask.

Five players remained in hospital in Saskatoon on Wednesday, while eight others have been released or transferred to other care centres.

The crash is still under investigation by the RCMP, who have only said the truck was in the intersection when the accident happened.

*with files from Global News 

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