CALGARY, Alta. - Getting a Class 1 licence in Alberta is about to get a little bit tougher thanks to a new testing procedure to be implemented in January.Alberta Transportation is introducing new test...
COMING SOON: Pre-trip inspections, like this one are about to become part of the testing process in Alberta.Photo by James Menzies
CALGARY, Alta. – Getting a Class 1 licence in Alberta is about to get a little bit tougher thanks to a new testing procedure to be implemented in January.
Alberta Transportation is introducing new testing procedures for Class 1, 2 and 3 drivers, effective Jan. 20.
The changes include: Drivers must now conduct a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle; an in-cab inspection of the vehicle’s air brakes must be completed (for vehicles equipped with air brakes); and Class 1 students must now demonstrate the proper coupling and uncoupling procedure for trailers.
If a student doesn’t successfully pass the pre-trip inspection part of the test or if the vehicle fails the inspection, then the road test will not proceed.
The changes will increase the length of a Class 1 test to 90 minutes, bringing it more in line with the testing procedures in other provinces such as B.C. and Ontario.
Don Wilson, driver programs administrator for driver safety programs with Alberta Transportation, says the changes were a long time in the making.
The idea is to better prepare drivers for a career behind the wheel of a truck while weeding out some of the less reputable training schools.
“Let’s face it, there are some folks who just train to the test so by raising the bar obviously the training will have to come up a notch,” says Wilson.
“If anybody has not been running full programs and just training to the test they will now have to adapt to these new changes.”
Wilson predicts the new procedures will add several hours of training time per student, but it’s been well received by training institutions.
“It’s had really strong support,” says Wilson, noting a lengthy consultation process was involved.
“Once you get your Class 1 licence it doesn’t make you a truck driver but at least you should have a good foundation that the company (that hires you) is going to build on.”
As always, students will need to obtain a Q endorsement for air brakes before they can take the road test.
Prior to these changes, however, it wasn’t necessary to demonstrate knowledge of air brakes to the examiner.
The in-cab air brake inspection changes that.
“The air brake test that’s going to be involved is going to be pretty substantial – you’re going to need a pretty good knowledge of in-cab checks,” says Wilson.
“I think these are things that are important enough that if you’re heading out on a trip of your own you would want to do to make sure the vehicle is safe and roadworthy.”
Throughout the consultation process, there have been some concerns raised about the new standards.
Some examiners have voiced concern that the cost of the test will have to increase.
Meanwhile farmers who were previously exempt from air brake certification will now also have to perform the in-cab check.
“When they come in to test on that vehicle they will have to demonstrate at least a working knowledge (of air brakes),” says Wilson.
“Whether it’s got farm plates on it or commercial plates, 40,000 pounds is 40,000 pounds.”
More information about the changes is available by calling Alberta Transportation’s Driver Safety Programs division at 780 427-8901 or 403 297-6679.
You can also call toll free within Alberta at 310-0000.
“These changes are coming,” warns Wilson.
“Be prepared if you’re coming in for a test after (Jan. 20) that you are going to need to know this stuff.”