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Tougher truck licensing rules rooted in bus tragedy

The impetus for new, tougher, Class 1 licensing requirements began April 6, 2018, near Armley, Saskatchewan.

That’s when a westbound tractor trailer, loaded with bags of peat moss, failed to stop at a flashing stop sign at the intersections of Saskatchewan Highways 35 and 335.

Crossing the north-south highway at approximately 100 km/h, the truck was struck by a northbound bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, killing 16 bus passengers.

In the following days much attention was paid to the training received by truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu.

According to reports in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix newspaper, Sidhu had a week of training before his licence test, and just two weeks driving with a more experienced operator. The week of the accident was his first operating the big rig alone.

In the wake of the crash, Saskatchewan, reeling from the accident, was the first to move to tighten licence requirements. Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) announced April 13 plans to improve training standards for truck drivers by 2019. At the time no training was required to be done by certified schools.

In the subsequent months governments in Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba also signed on to the initiative, which came to be known as Mandatory Entry Level Training (or MELT). Training is transferrable between MELT jurisdictions.

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