As announced on March 29th, 2019, drivers who are looking to get an “F” endorsement will need to take 40 hours of mandatory commercial driver training starting on March 1st, 2020. However, operators of F-plated commercial vehicles are only able to drive within a 100-kilometre radius of the vehicle’s registered address and the vehicle can only operate within Saskatchewan.
“We wanted to take some more time to consult with the farm sector on the impacts mandatory training would have on their industry, recognizing that vehicles used in farming operations are – in most cases – not on the roads as much as commercial semis; they also tend to travel shorter distances, and through areas with lower traffic volumes,” Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said in a news release.
The timeframe will allow farmers to get through this year’s harvest before starting the new training, Hargrave added in an interview with CTV News.
The STA and the industry strongly support the strengthened training requirements. With mandatory entry level training already in place for commercial drivers, having training for drivers of F-plated vehicles will help keep not only other drivers on the roads safe, but the operators of F-plated vehicles safe as well. Susan Ewart, the Executive Director of the STA, stated previously: “Our association believes that farmers should not be exempt,” Saskatchewan Trucking Association executive director Susan Ewart said.
“There is a lot of skill that is required to drive those vehicles, and it’s not only actual driving it’s also the regulations that go along with operating both within our province and outside of our province,” Ewart said.
“The concept of mandatory training for the ‘F’ designation is very important, I think farmers are on side with that. I don’t see any issue with it at all,” Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan president Todd Lewis said in an interview with Global News, adding that many farmers hire commercial drivers for transporting grain.
The STA believes that highway safety is a shared responsibility of all commercial vehicle drivers and fleets. Removing the F-plate exemption is a positive step to increase Saskatchewan highway safety.