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Truck drivers racing for licences before mandatory training
Nathaniel Dove, CTV Regina
Published Thursday, February 21, 2019 6:27PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, February 21, 2019 6:49PM CST
Potential truck drivers are racing to get their Class 1A licences before entry-level training becomes mandatory next month.
"A lot of customers are coming now over the last three months. It's really very busy,” said Rana Hameed, the owner and truck driver instructor at Skyways Truck Driving School in Regina.
“Everyone wants to get lessons before the 15 of March," Hameed said.
That’s because tougher qualifications will govern how licences for semi-truck drivers are earned after March 15. The new regulations will require a minimum of 121.5 hours of instruction and that examinations only been administered by SGI officials.
Bill Burnett has been driving trucks for almost 40 years and says that it’s a necessary step.
"When I’m doing a written test in Ontario, I’ve seen people on their cell phones contacting people” he said.
As well, those who have booked their driving test before March 15 will have until May to pass, with two attempts allowed.
A convoy of would-be truckers has signed up to take driving tests before March 15. Prior to the announcement on December 3, 2018, 509 examinations were booked between December 4, 2018 and February 20, 2019. After the changes were announced, examinations booked for that same period more than doubled to 1,122.
Gignesh Patel is a student at Skyways Truck Driving School and says that taking the test now is a matter of expense.
“After (March 15) I have to spend more money for it,” he said.
The training currently costs $3,000. After the changes take effect it will cost at least $6,000 and could cost as much as $8,500.
The new regulations will not affect those who already have a licence.
“If you hold a Class 1 licence then you'll be grandfathered in on March 15, so you won't be required to go for a road test," said Kway Quai, an SGI spokesperson.