Alta. trucking changes worry farmers

Alta. trucking changes worry farmers
Feb 11, 2019

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Semi drivers will need more extensive training beginning March 1

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Potential changes to Alberta’s commercial truck driver training requirements could affect farm businesses.

All Class 1 semi drivers in the province must earn a Safety Fitness Certificate. But, as of March 1, new drivers will also be required to complete the Pre-Entry for New National Safety Code Carriers program.

Passing that program includes participating in an online safety and compliance course, scoring at least 80 per cent in a knowledge test and completing a new carrier compliance review within one year of operation.

Producers worry such extensive training requirements will cut into daily business operations.

Finding a balance between normal amounts of regulations while understanding the needs of the ag industry is necessary, said Lynn Jacobson, an Enchant, Alta. grain farmer and president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture.

“There are aspects of the commercial trucking training that we wouldn’t use in agriculture,” he told Farms.com. “It’s not that drivers don’t need safety training and we’re not talking about getting rid of the training completely but, realistically, we might be able to ask for some exemptions to help save time and the costs associated with training.”

Saskatchewan will introduce new training requirements on March 15.

But drivers working for an agribusiness can receive a special endorsement. Implementing similar rules in Alberta might be the best way to proceed, Jacobson said.

Other Alberta farm groups are asking for a deadline extension.

Complying in time for March 1 would be challenging for several farmers, said Team Alberta, which represents the province’s barley, canola, pulse and wheat growers.

“Team Alberta supports safer and more highly skilled drivers operating on our roads and highways,” Hannah Konschuh, vice-chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission, said in a statement. “But the timelines and lack of consultation with farmers would make it virtually impossible to comply with new regulations by the deadline.”

Comments (3)

As far as I'm concerned this whole thing is overblown. I'm not saying it wasn't a tragedy but at the same time I don't feel it was a lack of training , it was a lack of paying attention. Distracted driving is the biggest cause of accidents. I have been driving for over 40 yrs. been in a couple accidents, not my fault. I have had moments of distraction that could have led to accidents but fortunately didn't.
Glen Tocher |Feb 12 2019 5:59PM
Typical government buracrarcy, make everyone else pay for one incompetent, illegal driver. Call a spade a spade; and deal with the problem at hand. We are not the problem. Why why, someone please get a set of balls, or if nothing else give up your position to someone with them.
Daima Farms |Feb 12 2019 1:29PM
Tandems aren't efficient now, with the higher costs of farming. I have a class 3 which has been sufficient until now. I have part time help, two have class1. I can't take over when one can't make it, it would only be during harvest, a modified class 1 and restricted to our farming area would be perfect for me. Please mention this during negotiations. Thanks, Dwight
Dwight Perry |Feb 12 2019 10:35AM

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