March 27, 2019 7:12 am

Truck driver hopes Manitoba’s new driver training rules make roads safer

A long-time truck driver hopes Manitoba's new mandatory entry-level training for commercial truck drivers will lead to improved safety on the roads.

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A long-time truck driver hopes Manitoba’s new mandatory entry-level training for commercial truck drivers will lead to improved safety on the roads.

Marzenna Smigiel said she went through an intense four-month program before getting behind the wheel, and hopes new drivers will receive similar training to hers.

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“To make young drivers more comfortable and safer behind the wheel they should get the proper training, to make them relaxed and know what they are expected to do to be safe on the road and do the job.”

READ MORE: Manitoba announces mandatory entry-level training for commercial truck drivers

The mandatory training for Manitoba truck drivers will come into effect Sept. 1 and the requirements will include 121.5 hours of training, which is the equivalent of three weeks of training.

Smigiel, who has been driving a truck across North America with her husband for 19 years, said the biggest change she’s noticed in the trucking industry over the years is the increasing number of dangerous drivers on the road.

“The most visible changes are younger drivers,” she said. “They are driving like there is no tomorrow. They try to be faster than time.”

Smigiel said she has been uncomfortable driving near trucks like hers on the road, adding she’s seen drivers using cell phones while hauling a load.

“Lots of young drivers want to be in contact with families, girlfriends,” she said. “That’s not acceptable.”

READ MORE: Manitoba trucking industry wants higher mandatory standards for driver training

Smigiel said getting to the final destination safely is a success in the trucking industry.

“The road is very long,” she said. “If you want to touch the end, please plan your route — plan your time, plan your safety — and then you will succeed for years.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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