SGI look­ing at stan­dard­ized truck­ing reg­u­la­tions

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY + REGION - The Cana­dian Press with files from D.C Fraser

Govern­ment of­fi­cials from Canada’s four western provinces plan to meet next week to dis­cuss stan­dard­ized truck­ing reg­u­la­tions.

Truck­ing safety has been in the spot­light since April 6, when 16 peo­ple with the Hum­boldt Bron­cos died and 13 oth­ers were in­jured af­ter a trans­port truck and the junior hockey team’s bus col­lided.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said dis­cus­sions were un­der­way be­fore the crash, through Saskatchewan Govern­ment In­sur­ance, and he hopes any changes that are agreed upon will be brought in soon.

“SGI has been in dis­cus­sion with our Saskatchewan truck­ing in­dus­try as well as the Cana­dian in­dus­try as a whole on stan­dard­iz­ing and manda­tory test­ing here in this prov­ince,” Moe said Thurs­day.

Joe Har­grave, min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for SGI, said more than half of all truck ac­ci­dents in Saskatchewan in­volve driv­ers from out of prov­ince.

“We think that it’s re­ally im­por­tant that we have a con­sis­tent ap­proach to it in Western Canada, be­cause our trucks don’t stay in Saskatchewan and Al­berta trucks don’t stay in Al­berta,” he said. “They come through our prov­ince.”

On­tario is the only prov­ince that has manda­tory truck driver train­ing con­sist­ing of 103.5 hours.

Al­berta an­nounced ear­lier this week that it is mak­ing driver train­ing for new com­mer­cial truck­ers manda­tory as early as next Jan­uary.

Har­grave said the western provinces are aim­ing to have an an­nounce­ment by early fall.

Saskatchewan NDP critic Carla Beck said she thinks it’s rea­son­able to man­date train­ing for trac­tor­trailer driv­ers.

“Look­ing at best prac­tice and meet­ing with in­dus­try to en­sure that there is a ba­sic level or train­ing that peo­ple in the prov­ince can en­sure that all driv­ers have achieved,” she said.

Trans­port Canada said it’s mak­ing seat­belts manda­tory on new medium and large high­way buses start­ing Sept. 1, 2020. Moe said he sup­ports the move and be­lieves that some par­ents from the Bron­cos are likely to feel the same.

“We wel­come that. I’ve talked to a num­ber of par­ents from the Hum­boldt bus crash and I think they would be sup­port­ive of that as well in many cases.”

The Bron­cos bus crash oc­curred where High­way 35 meets a sec­ondary road at Arm­ley Cor­ner. The trac­tor trailer in­volved was owned by a Cal­gary com­pany. The prov­ince has hired a pri­vate en­gi­neer­ing firm to ex­am­ine the cor­ner.

News of the re­view came Thurs­day, as the prov­ince re­leased SGI’s 2017-18 an­nual re­port. The Crown cor­po­ra­tion made $59.4 mil­lion in profit, down $5.8 mil­lion from a year prior. But the com­pany is con­fi­dent in its out-of-prov­ince growth strat­egy and sig­nalled plans to re­duce auto in­sur­ance rates this year by around five per cent.

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