New mandatory training for commercial truck drivers in B.C. will make roads safer, but it comes with added costs for new Class 1 applicants.
Effective Oct. 18, anyone applying for a B.C. Class 1 driver’s licence must successfully complete an ICBC-approved Class 1 mandatory entry-level training (MELT) course before taking a road test. The new program will cost $15,400, up from an average of $3,700. Cost of training varied depending on the driving school.
The new training requires 140 total hours and includes more hours behind the wheel, in-yard hours and theoretical instruction hours. On top of that, applicants will have 15 hours of theoretical and hands-on air brake training. There will also be a heavy focus on safe operating practices for B.C.’s mountainous terrain and drivers must demonstrate they have the knowledge to properly chain up their vehicles for winter driving.
Safer Roads Canada board members Lawerence and Ginny Hunter whose 18-year-old son Logan was killed in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash heralded the new training program as an important step in improving overall commercial vehicle safety.
“Truck and bus drivers operate some of the heaviest vehicles on our roads through a variety of climates and on challenging routes. The risks are present every day for these workers, but programs like MELT help to mitigate these risks and prevent accidents.”
Dave Earle of the BC Trucking Association said his organization was pleased to contribute to the development of the new training and believes the new program will save lives.
“Better trained operators will make better decisions and fewer mistakes, making for a stronger, more efficient trucking industry,” he said.
There are currently 46 schools across the province qualified to offer the new training. While the training is mandatory for new Class 1 applicants, current Class 1 holders will not be required to undergo the training.
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