REGINA, Sask. – After a speech that covered a wide range of trucking issues, Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation Minister Maynard Sonntag found himself getting a relatively easy ride from representatives at the Saskatchewan Trucking Associa-tion (STA) annual management conference last month.
The biggest concern from attendees regarded the increase in trucking operations from farmers. Many are using semis to haul their crops over longer distances, yet they don’t have to pay for commercial licenses, address the same maintenance issues, or take safety courses.
“I’m concerned about the negative image by farmers with semis who get into an accident because they haven’t been properly trained, and the entire trucking industry gets blamed,” said an audience member.
Another added that farmers needed more education on safety issues to become better drivers.
Sonntag responded that while the department has looked at this issue, so far it didn’t have a policy in place. Any initiative the department undertakes in this area would consist of improved safety for all drivers.
During his speech, Sonntag said the department agrees with the STA that the dollar value of an accident that could trigger an audit under the carrier profile is too low. An audit can stem from a $1,000 accident under the existing system, and considering the cost of today’s rigs and the high cost of repairs, a relatively minor collision can lead to $1,000 in damage. A more reasonable figure is $5,000. That was good news to the ears of those in attendance and one member urged the Minister to take the lead across Canada in making this figure the national standard. n
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