Few events have shaken Canada’s trucking industry more than last spring’s crash between a truck and Humboldt Broncos bus near Armley, Sask. Families were left to mourn 16 dead and support the 13 wounded. The charges against Adesh Deol Trucking and its driver are now making their way through the courts. But there are already signs that this collision will have a lasting legacy – especially as provinces look to refine the skills of those behind the wheel.
FALKLAND, B.C. – Pattie Babij is on a mission to make new driver training mandatory nation-wide.
It’s been a difficult year for Babij. A little more than 12 months ago her husband Steve was driving his truck near Revelstoke, B.C. when another semi crossed the median and hit him head on – neither he nor the couple’s dog Zak survived the crash.
To add to the grief, she’s being forced to sell her dairy farm because she’s unable to run it without her husband’s help.
The chorus calling for improved and mandatory training for truck drivers is growing louder as the days pass following the Humboldt, Sask. truck/bus crash. We still don’t know the official cause of that crash, or what role driver training — or the lack thereof — played in the incident. I’m not inclined to believe it was a primary factor. I think what is playing in most peoples’ minds is the driver’s reported lack of experience.
The only thing we really know about the collision at the intersection of Saskatchewan highways 35 and 335 is the extent of the tragedy. Sixteen members of the Humboldt Broncos family, all too young, were lost in early April when a bus and truck collided. Thirteen more were injured. The scars, both physical and emotional, remain.
Kevin James Hickson has built a career on delivering metal. It began with local deliveries and a pickup truck before a co-worker told him about the job opening for someone with a Class AZ licence. All it took was training […]
TORONTO, ON — Darryl Robitaille belongs to a rare graduating class, one of the first future truck drivers to study under Ontario’s new Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) regime. That means he had to complete at least 103.5 hours of approved training before the Ontario Ministry of Transportation would allow him to take the road test for an AZ licence to drive tractor-trailers.
He failed on the first attempt.
“The road test I did fine on,” says the resident of Caledonia, Ontario, referring to actions like steering and backing. His challenge was with new questions linked to pre-trip inspections. “I was extremely nervous,” Robitaille adds. This despite the fact that he personally completed a 200-hour training program, well above the mandated minimum introduced on July 1. But with a little extra studying he passed the test on his second attempt. Now he is looking to secure his first job behind the wheel.
Robitaille can take comfort in knowing he wasn’t alone.
TORONTO, ON — Truck driver Ahmad Al Rasoul knew it was time to leave Syria the day the bedroom where his two-year-old son Joseph was sleeping got destroyed by a bomb. Miraculously, young Joseph remained unscathed, albeit covered in ashes. Rasoul, 46 at the time, and his wife Rasmia Al Mekhlef, had four other children and lived in Homs, a community badly wracked by the Syrian civil war. You’ve probably seen the skeletal remains of Homs buildings on the news. Since he got his licence at 22, Rasoul had been a truck driver and loves the work. But he’s still waiting to apply his skills in Ontario.
TORONTO, ON — An increasing number of would-be truck drivers are lining up for licensing tests at Ontario DriveTest centers as the province approaches a July 1 deadline to introduce Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT).
The number of appointments has increased since the beginning of 2017 and was up 20% last March when compared to the same month in 2016, an Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesman confirms.
The surge was not unexpected, either. Extra examiners were trained, and more classified test slots had been allocated to respond to an increase in demand.
WASHINGTON, DC — Four groups have petitioned the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reconsider provisions of the Final Rule for Entry-Level Driver requirements, which the agency issued on December 7.