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Mandatory commercial truck driver training to improve road safety

Mandatory commercial truck driver training to improve road safety

March 31, 2021 at 4:07 pm  BC, News, Politics

B.C.’s highways will be safer for everyone with the introduction of mandatory entry-level training (MELT) for new Class 1 commercial driver’s licence applicants.

B.C.’s program will exceed the minimum requirements set by the National Safety Code Standard for entry-level training of Class 1 drivers.

“Having mandatory entry-level commercial vehicle training will result in better-trained new drivers and improved road safety for everyone in British Columbia,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We’ve worked collaboratively with the trucking industry to create a new MELT program for B.C. that will strengthen the industry and prepare drivers to operate safely across B.C.’s challenging climates. This training will ensure new commercial drivers are trained to a higher, consistent standard.”

MELT for Class 1 driver’s licence applicants will become a prerequisite for Class 1 road testing starting Oct. 18, 2021. B.C.’s program will include best practices from other Canadian jurisdictions, and emphasize safe operating practices for mountainous geography and diverse driving conditions to ensure commercial drivers are prepared for B.C.’s highway network and the changing weather patterns encountered in the mountains.

“Mandatory training for those operating the largest vehicles on our roads will improve safety across B.C.,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “MELT is a vital step to furthering the success our province has seen in reducing traffic fatalities in recent years.”

B.C.’s Class 1 MELT program for new drivers of heavy commercial vehicles will stipulate a minimum required number of practical behind-the-wheel driving hours, in-yard hours and theoretical instructional hours. ICBC is the regulatory body for driver training schools and instructors in B.C. and is consulting with the commercial driving industry, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General to finalize the curriculum.

“Safer Roads Canada is pleased to see British Columbia join the other western provinces in rolling out a MELT program that takes into account the challenging driving conditions and terrain in this province, including winding, narrow mountain passes and icy highways,” said Lawrence and Ginny Hunter, Safer Roads Canada board members, whose 18-year-old son Logan was fatally injured in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash. “We hope this program succeeds in putting better-skilled new drivers on Canada’s roadways so future tragedies can be prevented. This is a step in the right direction in recognizing the challenging conditions these workers face every day on our roads.”

The program will be delivered by licensed driver training schools in B.C. beginning in early summer 2021. Consultation with the trucking and driver training industries in 2019 has provided valuable input to support the development of B.C.’s MELT program.

The Class 1 MELT program is being designed to align with the new Standard 16-Class 1 Entry-Level Training framework introduced as part of the National Safety Code in February 2020, and with mandatory Class 1 entry-level training standards in other Canadian jurisdictions.

Legislation to support the introduction of B.C.’s Class 1 MELT program was passed in August 2020 by the Province in Bill 2, the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2020.

Quotes:

Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO, ICBC –

“Confidence and experience behind the wheel are important in any vehicle, but it is especially important to have the confidence of good training when driving a large commercial vehicle. Future Class 1 drivers completing the MELT program will have a combination of on-road experience and theory, making them a competent addition to the industry, operating safely on B.C. roads.”

David Earle, president, BC Trucking Association –

“MELT will improve the behind-the-wheel driver training for people before they become commercial drivers, which will ultimately improve safety on our roads. Creating a higher standard of competence before people can be licensed will help improve driver decision-making, leading to fewer mistakes on the road. The BCTA is supportive of this positive move by the provincial government, as the new driver training program will benefit us all.”

Quick Facts:

  • B.C.’s MELT program for Class 1 drivers will exceed the minimum requirements set by the National Safety Code Standard 16 for entry-level training of Class 1 drivers.
  • Existing B.C. Class 1 drivers will be exempt from MELT.
    • Effective Oct. 18, 2021, individuals applying for a B.C. Class 1 driver’s licence must complete an ICBC-approved Class 1 MELT course before attempting an ICBC Class 1 road test.
  • If you are in mid-process of applying for a Class 1 driver’s licence and hold a valid Class 1 learner’s licence, more information on what this change means for you is available at: icbc.com

Learn More:

For ICBC’s FAQs for commercial drivers and driving schools, visit: https://dtcbc.com/driving-schools/melt/default.asp

For general ICBC Class 1 MELT program information for drivers: https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/types-licences/Pages/Get-your-commercial-driver-licence.aspx

For a list of funding and grant opportunities for applicants interested enrolling in a Class 1 MELT course: www.gov.bc.ca/vehiclesafety/training-grant 

For more information about commercial vehicle safety in B.C., visit Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement: www.cvse.ca

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