Saskatchewan Government Insurance recently announced mandatory training requirements
By Diego Flammini
Some new training requirements for semi drivers in Saskatchewan won’t apply to the province’s producers.
On Monday, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) set out new mandatory training prerequisites for drivers seeking a Class 1 commercial license.
As of March 15, 2019, prospective drivers will have to undergo 121.5 hours of formal training. The curriculum includes 47 classroom hours, 17.5 driving in the yard and 57 hours behind the wheel on the road.
Anyone driving a semi as part of a farm operation, however, won’t need to complete that extensive training.
“Anyone wishing to drive a semi used in farming operations will need to successfully obtain an “F” endorsement on their existing driver’s license and will be restricted to operating within Saskatchewan’s borders,” SGI says.
Farm trucks are exempt because they travel shorter distances and through smaller communities, the insurance agency added.
Farmers won’t be exempt from all of SGI’s new requirements, however.
All new semi drivers will participate in a 12-month safety monitoring program. And as of March 15, 2019, Class 1 road tests will only be conducted under SGI standards.
Training schools will receive SGI instructions on the new curriculum, and trainers will be held to higher standards. Currently, training schools submit their individual standards to SGI.
Saskatchewan’s farm community is supportive of the exemptions and the opportunity it creates for open dialogue.
If “there is an issue for safety for farm driving let’s talk about that, and if we need more training, let’s get it,” Todd Lewis, president of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, told CBC yesterday.
But for growers like Scott Hepworth, a grain producer from near Assiniboia, Sask., it’s important for drivers to have the full license.
“On my farm it won’t make much of a difference because if you’re hauling grain for me you’re going to have your full 1A license,” he told Farms.com. “Typically, our longest haul is about 45 km. We like to keep our drivers fully licensed, and I would imagine other farmers feel the same way.”
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