EDMONTON, Alta. – The petition calling for changes to how commercial truck drivers are trained and the industry regulated closes May 14, the first day of Canada Road Safety Week.
Launched by Pattie Fair of Alix, Alta., a year-and-a-half ago, the petition has gained support from those impacted by the Humboldt tragedy.
Carol and Lyle Brons are the parents of athletic therapist Dayna Brons, who died as a result of the Humboldt Broncos team bus collision with a semi-truck.
Lyle, a former commercial driver, said prior to Saskatchewan implementing mandatory entry-level training (MELT) for drivers, it was easy to acquire a Class 1 licence in the province.
“We’ve heard that many trucking industry associations have been requesting more government oversight of the industry for the past decade,” Lyle said. “We commend those groups of responsible, skilled drivers and operators for advocating for safer roadways.”
“We wish more than anything that it didn’t have to take the deaths of 16 Broncos players and staff, and life-changing emotional and physical injuries to the 13 survivors, before the federal government took notice and announced it would look at implementing nationwide MELT legislation by January 2020,” Carol added. “We miss Dayna every day, and it pains us knowing that this tragedy could have been prevented had there been more regulations in place to ensure Class 1 drivers are properly trained and monitored.”
Chris Joseph, father of Broncos player Jaxon Joseph, also supports the effort to bring about change.
“We cannot allow more innocent lives to be lost at the hands of ill-prepared commercial drivers,” said Chris, an Edmonton firefighter and former NHL player. “While the MELT legislation introduced in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba is a good start, we need a national standard that also includes graduated licensing to allow drivers to gain more experience and skill to prepare them for driving larger, heavier and more complex vehicles in a variety of seasons and changing road conditions.”
Fair started the petition calling for stricter regulations and improved training after her husband, a truck driver, was killed in a head-on collision with another semi-truck near Revelstoke, B.C. March 13, 2017.
With more than 7,000 signatures, the petition calls for the Class 1 licensing process to be considered a nation-wide skilled trade; the National Occupational Classification Code to be modified to provide funding for training; the implementation of MELT; and to require licensing bodies to collect and store information on training providers and each commercial driver.
“Petition E-2005 addresses a lot of problems currently in the industry, where some operators are not taking the time to train up and mentor new drivers,” said Ahmed Shalaby, professor and municipal infrastructure chairman for the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Manitoba. “It’s also important that commercial driver training schools are monitored and held accountable based on their graduates’ driving records. The points addressed in the petition support and protect both Class 1 drivers and all other drivers sharing the roads with them.”