Anyone wanting an “F” endorsement must complete 40 hours of commercial training beginning in 2020
By Diego Flammini
More changes are coming for people in Saskatchewan’s ag industry looking to obtain a trucking license.
Starting in March 2020, anyone wishing to add an “F” endorsement on his or her existing driver’s license will need to complete 40 hours of commercial truck training, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) announced yesterday.
The “F” endorsement will also come with restrictions. They include only driving the truck within a 100 km radius of the address on the vehicle registration and staying within the provincial borders.
SGI made the decisions after speaking with members of the ag industry, said SGI Minister Joe Hargrave.
“We wanted to take some more time to consult with the farm sector on the impacts mandatory training would have on the industry, recognizing that vehicles used in farming operations are – in most cases – not on the roads as much as commercial semis; they also tend to travel shorter distances and through areas with lower traffic volumes,” he said in a statement.
Producers support increased truck training.
All truckers, regardless of what they’re hauling, should have safety training, said Jake Leguee, a cash crop producer from Fillmore, Sask.
“I wasn’t overly happy with the idea of farmers being exempt from safety training,” he told Farms.com. “We use semis a lot and they’re on the road a good chunk of the year. In my mind, there’s no difference between one of us driving a truck down the road or anyone else. We should all have the same level of training.”
The 40-hour training requirement will only be in place for one year.
Starting in March 2021, SGI will eliminate the “F” endorsement entirely. After that date, anyone wanting to operate a semi will need a Class 1 license and 121.5 hours of mandatory training.
Drivers with the “F” endorsement who completed the 40-hour training will be credited for those hours towards the total 121.5.
The challenge could be finding the time for drivers to fulfill that training requirement, Leguee said.
“My concerns are about how drivers are going to reach that number of hours,” he said. “I hope (the government) puts some thought into how that’s actually going to work.”
The changes in 2021 will align the mandatory truck training programs across the Prairies, SGI said.