Several such crashes have occurred in Canada’s British Columbia region in the past couple of years, and they were serious enough to warrant a new initiative by the B.C. Truck Association. There is only one reason for these accidents and that’s poor training of the truck drivers.
“Clearly, the individual who was driving didn't understand the dimensions or the structure of the load and how it related to the infrastructure around them,” CEO Dave Earle says about the most recent accident of the type, occurring this week on Highway 1 in Langley. “When things go wrong, they go very wrong.”
Things have been going “very wrong” for some time, with poorly trained drivers causing damage to major structures, which, in turn, drains resources and costs taxpayers a lot of money. To prevent this, learners need more on-road training and more difficult tests than those they currently take, the Association believes.
“The individual goes through a two- or three-day course, writes the knowledge test, passes the road test and they're on the road the following week,” Earle says. “That's just not going to cut it.”
Measures to ensure drivers are better equipped for road conditions include increasing the retest waiting times, with the period of waiting bigger after each failed test. Earle hopes on-road training can become mandatory, but that won’t happen until learners have access to more trucks on which to practice.
As of this moment, B.C.’s Transportation Ministry is reviewing the Class 1 license training program and is taking the Association’s recommendations under review before deciding on any changes.