Grewal shares safe practices with students

Amrit Grewal has almost two decades of truck-driving experience. And not a single accident. “My driver’s abstract is absolutely clean, spotless,” he said with a touch of pride.

Company driver, team driver and owner-operator; longhaul and local work, he’s done it all. He also owns a transport company and started a driving school last year.

Grewal focuses on safety when he teaches students at his Sarabha Driving School in Langley, B.C. He said students are more engaged when he shares personal experiences on the road with them.

Picture of Amrit Grewal
Amrit Grewal (Photo: Supplied)

Grewal, 42, arrived in Brampton, Ont. from India in 2003, and worked at a warehouse assembling wheelchairs. After a few months, he got his A/Z licence and began driving a truck. On a work trip he drove to Vancouver and fell in love with the weather. He soon relocated to British Columbia with his family.

He worked as a company driver for a couple of years and then bought his first truck – a brand-new Volvo with a 13-speed Cummins engine. He and his wife, who has a Class 1 manual licence, drove as a team for about six months. She then decided to focus on raising their two young sons, who are now 18 and 13 years old. She now works as a kitchen manager at a restaurant.

Safe driving honors

Grewal has hauled loads as an owner-operator for different fleets. Day and Ross honored him for one million accident-free miles. While working as a local owner-operator in Langley for Bison Transport, he was awarded a certificate for two years of safe driving.

In 2015, Grewal launched Sarabha Transport, consisting of five trucks that haul dry vans and reefers into California, to Toronto and back to B.C. via Calgary, AB.

His job has taken him all over Canada, up to Halifax, N.S. and to 48 states in the U.S. He has crossed the international border on a regular basis and driven in all kinds of weather and over all types of terrain. He estimates he has driven more than 2.5 million miles on the job.

Amrit Grewal shows students how to inspect an engine.
Amrit Grewal trains students on how to conduct a pre-trip inspection at Sarabha Driving School in Langley, B.C. (Photo: Supplied)

When he started hiring new drivers for his transport company, Grewal realized that he had to provide training to ensure they were competent and confident enough to head out on their own. He rode with them from B.C. to California and trained them on mountain driving during trips to Calgary. After a month, he said they were okay to go solo.

This planted the seed to provide training on a larger scale. Grewal obtained his four-wheeler and truck driving instructor’s licence in December 2020 and opened the school in January 2021. The school employs four instructors, including Grewal, and operates three trucks – two with manual transmissions and one automatic.

Practical training

Grewal said beside the MELT program, yard and road training, students are trained in the practical aspects of the profession. For example, he trains them on communication with dispatchers and customers and paperwork that is required to cross an international border with freight. He also advises them on mountain driving and keeping safe during different weather conditions.

He said he aims to mold his students into professional drivers who are reliable, punctual, and good communicators. He also focuses on proper pre-trip inspections and trip planning.  

Grewal said trucking is a good profession for young people who like to be their own boss. It also provides a steady income to take care of one’s family.

As the wheels continue to roll on his business ventures, Grewal aims to train many more professional drivers and grow his transportation company.

Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at leo@newcom.ca