EDMONTON, Alta. — Alberta is moving towards accepting a new training standard for truck drivers which would make it the first jurisdiction in Canada to train and certify truckers as professionals.
The announcement comes just weeks after a Calgary driving school was charged with issuing bogus Class 1 licences to unqualified drivers.
“There is a recognition on these trucks that it’s not just simply changing gears and looking in the rear view mirror anymore,” Transportation Minister Lyle Oberg told local media. He plans to seek approval from Cabinet within a month. It’s expected a 37-week pilot program could be underway by the fall and will be administered by Red Deer College.
“The whole component of taking (nearly) a year of training will increase the safety almost exponentially,” Oberg said. “You can’t just jump in a truck, take a two-hour course and be a truck driver. When you consider these people are driving these massive objects down the highway at 100 kilometres a hour, it’s a huge projectile. They’ve got to be trained.”
The new standard will reportedly be based on the Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council’s Earning Your Wheels program.
“I think the standard will come up and we’ll drag everybody upwards with us,” Cliff Soper, executive director of the Transportation Training and Development Association (TT&DA) told local media. TT&DA has been working towards getting truck driving recognized as a professional trade for years.
About 100 students are expected to take part in the pilot project, and other provinces are expected to keep a close eye on how it works. The program will involve classroom study, and a practicum period where a student is paired with a coach at a carrier.
It’s expected that insurance companies will be more willing to insure young drivers who have completed the course.
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