NEWS - Mandatory Entry Level Training for Commercial Drivers

Truck Tractor and TrailerThe Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has announced that Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) will be required of applicants for a class 1 driver's licence commencing on October 18. 2021. B.C.’s program will exceed the minimum requirements set by the National Safety Code Standard for entry-level training of Class 1 drivers and will take at least 140 hours to complete.

The training will be provided by licensed driver training schools in the province with funding and grant opportunities provided by government.

The training curriculum consists of instruction in three learning environments:

  • In‐class — refers to an educational setting including classroom, digital or blended instruction facilitated by an instructor, and if self‐directed, through a Learning Management System (LMS) as described below.
  • In -yard (around the vehicle)— occurs around the vehicle when the vehicle is not moving other than small movements needed to complete a task in a safe location (e.g., vehicle inspection or chain up).
  • In -cab (behind the wheel) activities include:
    • off -road backing and coupling manoeuvres — These activities may occur in a yard or parking lot, or in a safe and legal location at the roadside.
    • on-road driving along — The student is driving the vehicle on streets and highways. This includes short instructor driving demonstrations, where needed.

Comments

MELT

This should be a major step forward. Typically, the Driver Training business has attempted to keep costs low (favouring in-class and observation time, compared to actual behind-the-wheel instruction). Presently, the Class 1 driver applicant taking an approved course can spend as little as 18 hours behind the wheel prior to the 2 hour driving test.

That's separate from the 16 hours of Airbrake instruction in a classroom, plus the Pretrip instruction.

So after a cursory look at the minimal requirements of MELT, we see that the actual, practical instructional time will be considerable - 50 hours, instead of 18 hours. Also, and significantly, it will be mandatory that applicants learn on a real transmission with a clutch and 13+ gears (what has happened in the real world is that over the last ten to fifteen years, all the Class 1 driving schools have acquired one or more Autoshift trucks, which doesn't represent the majority of the tractor units still out there).

Significantly, ICBC have no intention of changing or raising their Class 1 Road Test standards or requirements. They have also stated publicly that they have no intention of increasing the number of test appointments available.

These changes to the training curriculum are simply intended to ensure that the absolute minimum of instruction, and time spent by the learner behind the wheel - along with the quality of that time - is greatly increased.

What we can expect to see, in the short term, is that there will be a massive scramble on the part of would-be Class 1 drivers to get themselves licensed before October. It won't be as huge as when the Graduated License Program was introduced in 1998 (our society produces a lot more teenagers than truck drivers), but also ICBC have no intention of being accommodating to those trying to rush through prior to October.

The fact is, across this whole continent, minimal Class 1 driving standards have been deteriorating for years. Even the 'best' driving schools in this province have been more a part of the problem, than a part of the solution.

It's encouraging to see that RSBC & ICBC have introduced this initiative.

 

Thank Christ.

Well....it only took....how long?

Its better than nothing, but ICBC is throwing out a disclaimer that their licensing instructors will be every bit as passive and lenient as always.

Remember, the driver in the Humbolt incident, had just been deemed eligible to operate a class 1 vehicle. The ICBC agent should have been the one getting all the flak, not the driver. These guys are the sentinels, the keepers of the key to the highway. They are the reason there is so many yahoo's going down the road today. If you know anything about the requirements of being an ICBC agent, it's pathetic.

Don't get me started.

Anyhow, back to the thread, it's a good start.

James

IFIXCATS Mobile Heavy Equipment Repair.

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu

The offending driver was a Calgary resident who worked for a Calgary based trucking company. From that, I'm guessing that he did not hold a BC driver's licence and ICBC was not responsible for him.

What little I know about being a driving examiner in BC comes from the Driver Training Industry of BC web site.

There has been some speculation that intersections like this should be roundabouts instead.

Say what?

Its better than nothing, but ICBC is throwing out a disclaimer that their licensing instructors will be every bit as passive and lenient as always.

You'll have to explain that one.

A key part of this MELT program is to not only greatly increase the number of hours of practical instruction, but to specify minimums for the various skills being taught. There's even a component specifying that the Driving Instructors should be demonstrating skills to some degree (something that top notch Driving Instructors have been doing for years anyway).

This type of instruction is way beyond anything that a Driver Examiner can be expected to measure on a road test. All that can ever be accomplished during a road test - for any class of vehicle license - is that minimum standards of vehicle control and regulation knowledge are demonstrated by the applicant.

These guys are the sentinels, the keepers of the key to the highway.

I'm going to assume here that maybe you don't comprehend the difference between a licensed Driving Instructor, or an ICBC Driver Examiner, or an ICBC Agent. Correct me if I'm mistaken.

So who exactly is it that you figure holds the keys to the highway? The instructor, the agent, the examiner?

Meanwhile, as our site host points out, in the Humboldt case there was zero involvement by ICBC. This was a case where a Calgary based trucking company sent a new C1 applicant to Saskatchewan for training. The applicant also took his test there; but I'm not at all sure that this was with a 'Government' Driver Examiner or an Instructor at the Saskatchewan DTS (can anyone clarify?).

A cursory look at the case suggests that this vastly inexperienced driver was working so many hours and loads from the moment he got his license, that his logbook was almost empty and probably meaningless. Is there any evidence that he ever actually got trained to use one, properly? He wasn't distracted, or impaired by drugs or alcohol, but he was operating beyond his capacity. Task overload and sleeplessness, is my impression.

There you go.

Thanks for the clarification, both of you. I know better than to go off on a scathing diatribe before I've had my morning coffee.

If we are talking about Calgary, that is where the worst offenders were for just flat out selling licenses to new Canadians, no training involved. I know it was only of couple schools, a few years back, but it happened nonetheless. I guess with the driver in question, it's just one of those things where a lot of deficiencies and mistakes led up to huge disaster.

I know 2 operators of schools here in BC, Mountain institute being one of them, and they are (in my books anyhow) what every school should aspire to be.

As far as ICBC goes, (correct me if I'm wrong) the info packet I received for class 1 ICBC examiner said that a person only needed to have a class 1 license for a year, with a clean abstract, to qualify for this position. So Joe Blow gets his class 1 and sits at home eating cheetos and watching Scooby Do, and a year later applies for his Examiner status? You may recall my earlier rant about the examiner in my town who gave someone a class 1 license after going around 4 blocks in a gravel truck. No backing up, coupling/uncoupling (no trailer involved) no hill start, merging, anything. This driver (sic) told me he "froze" while beginning his Pretrip and was told "don't worry about it....you'll figure it out".  

I'm sure like anything else, there are slackers employed at ICBC, it it would be improper and unwise for me to paint them all with the same brush but that's the history for the only one that I know anything about.

Back to you.

James

IFIXCATS Mobile Heavy Equipment Repair.

Reply

If we are talking about Calgary, that is where the worst offenders were for just flat out selling licenses to new Canadians, no training involved. I know it was only of couple schools, a few years back, but it happened nonetheless. I guess with the driver in question, it's just one of those things where a lot of deficiencies and mistakes led up to huge disaster.

I don't get it. This website is designed to provide relevant information about BC driving laws, and this thread is about the introduction in this province of the MELT requirements. And yet, even though that's already been brought to your attention, the first thing you come up with is some unsupported accusation about something that apparently happenened in Alberta? Let's focus on what's happening in BC.

I know 2 operators of schools here in BC, Mountain institute being one of them, and they are (in my books anyhow) what every school should aspire to be.

To the best of my knowledge, Mountain Driver Training Institute has always set the highest standards for Class 1 training in BC. Even their most fundamental 'Standard Class 1 Truck Driver Training' course is massive and thorough. In fact, I would speculate that the adjustments they will need to make to their training courses, in order to meet MELT requirements, will be easily achieved; it wouldn't surprise me if ICBC/RSBC consulted them for their expertise when designing new courses.

That said, it should be noted that the minimal C1 training course they offer costs $8,600. Compare that to a company such as Burnaby Professional DTS, who cheerfully offer a considerably shorter and less thorough C1 course for only $2,400. I would speculate that they will find it much more challenging to adequately meet the MELT requirements.

As far as ICBC goes, (correct me if I'm wrong) the info packet I received for class 1 ICBC examiner said that a person only needed to have a class 1 license for a year, with a clean abstract, to qualify for this position

OK, you're wrong. To the best of my knowledge, that is. But I called an ICBC Driver Examiner Supervisor I know yesterday, to ensure that I'm up to date on the rules and requirements. Frankly, it seems that not much has changed since I worked there as a DE more than twenty years ago. ICBC's minimal requirement for any prospective Driver Examiner positions is that they hold a valid Class 5 Driver License and few if any demerit points. But that's only one aspect of being hired for the job of a DE. There will be various other tests, requirements, interviews, etc, just for the applicant to be considered. The ability to deal with the general public every minute of your working life, for instance.

So Joe Blow gets his class 1 and sits at home eating cheetos and watching Scooby Do, and a year later applies for his Examiner status?

Oh sure, that's all it takes (that was sarcasm). Except, it requires much more than that - although being able to spell Scooby Doo isn't one of the necessities, thankfully. How can you make that statement, and expect to be taken seriously?

You may recall my earlier rant about the examiner in my town who gave someone a class 1 license after going around 4 blocks in a gravel truck. No backing up, coupling/uncoupling (no trailer involved) no hill start, merging, anything. This driver (sic) told me he "froze" while beginning his Pretrip and was told "don't worry about it....you'll figure it out".  

Let's just think about the rationality of this statement, which is apparently based on no more than hearsay. Gossip, rumour, whatever you want to call it. Because I'm certain that you can't identify that there ICBC Driver Examiner, or the ICBC/Agent Office at all. I'll bet you can't tell any of us which four blocks they had to drive along. I believe that your allegations are no more than a nasty smear, lacking entirely in facts.

The fact is, within the ICBC organization, the DE position probably commands the highest hourly wage outside of management. But it's also a position of considerable responsibility and stress. So it demands that they place the best qualified people in that job. As a union organization, they're required to post every position, both inside and outside the union, is my understanding. And, it's typical for them to initially only hire new DE's on a 6-month basis, which may later be extended based on job performance along with other factors such as the demand for new DE's (we're a growing population) and competition from existing employees such as those in Claims who see it as a way to improve their earnings (many internal hires like this don't work out for very long, due to the demands/risks of the job).

It should go without saying - but I'll say it anyway - that any DE wishing to 'upgrade' their status (such as being able to conduct other license classes, which might include motorcycles but could also include buses or trucks) will be required to receive many hours of additional training and subsequent supervision. It don't come easy. These men and women earn their credentials.

So in all seriousness, if a person has attained the status of being an ICBC DE, conducting Class 1 Road Tests, what on earth would motivate them to 'give someone a Class 1 license', as you allege? The DE would need to falsify both the Pre-Trip and Road Test paperwork (probably a criminal offence) whilst risking their entire career at ICBC. Never mind their entire reputation in the community, if word should spread about their actions.

I don't believe your allegations, your smears of the ICBC Driver Examiners, to be accurate.  There's a difference between being credible, and being opinionated. Meanwhile, you don't even identify yourself properly.

So that's my reply for you.

Paul Hodgson, Owner/Operator, Competent Driving BC.

 

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