A local driving instructor believes new trucking requirements will make roads safer. As of March 15, drivers seeking a Saskatchewan commercial Class 1 license will be required to perform a minimum of 121.5 hours of training.

Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance Joe Hargrave announced the changes in December after speaking with many parties including those in the trucking industry and training schools. SGI Class 1 instructor for Border City Driver Training Manzoor Asmed believes the requirements are due to worries towards the lack of Class 1 training after the Humboldt accident.

“[This will give] more experiences to the guys and this will probably help and reduce the risk of accidents.”

SGI says prior to the new requirements there were no hours needed to challenge the Class 1 test. Going forward only SGI examiners are able to certify the test. In the past, there were a small number of certified schools that did require some hours of training. SGI adds about 90 per cent who had previously taken the test had some amount of training. Asmed says the required training hours will help, but he believes the accidents are due to the attitude and road sense of the drivers as opposed to their skill level.

“This will give more time to the student to learn more about trucking because the new program it’s fully and completely in detail of the trucks. If you take the lessons you should know everything about the trucks.”

Asmed says one of his concerns is the financial situation surrounding potential students. He says that training will cost each student between $9,000 to $10,000 in Saskatchewan.

“Nobody has that kind of money, so it might be slow right now but eventually, in the long run, people will have to get their license. They will have to do something about the finances.”

The minimum hours required will include in-classroom, in-yard and behind the wheel training. The curriculum focuses on basic driving techniques, professional driving habits, vehicle inspections and air brakes. SGI says the driver’s test will be more rigorous. SGI will be keeping tabs on new drivers for one year after testing in order to monitor safety.