Manitoba trucking industry wants higher mandatory standards for driver training

The province is looking at mandatory minimum training for truck drivers in Manitoba but the industry is concerned it won’t go far enough.The Manitoba government plans to hold meetings next month to find out what those in the industry think about the idea of requiring new truck drivers to receive training.Story continues below

READ MORE: Truck driver collides with motorcyclist at intersectionWhile there is no mandatory training in Manitoba, there is an industry-accepted standard for registered schools which is 240 hours, or six weeks of training.“What the trucking industry wants is our currently accepted training standard 240 hours, (or) six weeks, to be made mandatory for people prior to them taking their class one license in Manitoba,” Manitoba Trucking Association Executive Director Terry Shaw said.Alberta and Saskatchewan will soon have mandatory training of 120 hours, or three weeks. Global News has learned the Manitoba government is looking at doing the same.It’s a move the industry said is headed in the wrong direction.READ MORE: Fatal transport truck crashes up in 2018, OPP says“Alberta and Saskatchewan, to our knowledge, went from 0 to 120 hours, which for them is a pretty major step,” Shaw said.  “In Manitoba we have a 240 hour standard. So for us to go to a 120 hour standard is not a major step. It’s a backward step quite frankly.”Driver programs in Manitoba already provide training approved by Manitoba Public Insurance, but new drivers are not required to take it because it is not mandatory.“Our concern in Manitoba is that we don’t want to harmonize to the lowest standard. We want to harmonize to our current understood standard.”READ MORE: Truck industry worried after Winnipeg drug testing company charged with falsifying resultsJim Campbell runs one of five registered driver training companies in Manitoba and said there is a need to keep the current standard to maintain safety.“(The government) needs to increase their standards a little bit more,” Campbell said.He said moving to just three weeks of training is a cause for concern.“Safety is a big concern,” he said. “I think we (would be) leaving a lot of components out that we have been delivering for years and it’s essential for safety on the road.”“I’ve been on the road, did a lot of miles out on the highway around North America, and we definitely need better drivers out there,” Campbell said. “The quality of drivers in the past few years have been decreasing. We need to send better, safer drivers out on the highway.”The conversation around mandated training reignited in April after the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan.WATCH: Saskatchewan introduces mandatory semi driver training after Humboldt Broncos tragedy