(Supplied by B.C. Government Flickr)
The B.C. Government is implementing mandatory entry-level training (MELT) for new Class 1 commercial driver’s licence applications starting this October.
According to the Province, the shift will exceed the minimum requirements for entry-level training of Class 1 drivers by the National Safety Code Standard.
“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.”
The program will start October 18th, 2021, which is when MELT will become a prerequisite for a Class 1 road test.
“Mandatory training for those operating the largest vehicles on our roads will improve safety across B.C.,” added Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “MELT is a vital step to furthering the success our province has seen in reducing traffic fatalities in recent years.”
Tuesday marks the three-year anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Lawrence and Ginny Hunter, who lost their 18-year-old sold Logan in the crash are now board members with Safer Roads Canada.
“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 the Hunters. “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.”
Although the program is being implemented in October, licensed driver training schools in B.C. will get the program information in early summer 2021 to prepare for the changes.
“MELT will improve the behind-the-wheel driver training for people before they become commercial drivers, which will ultimately improve safety on our roads,” added David Earle, President of the BC Trucking Association. “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.”
The Province said the Class 1 MELT program is designed to align with the National Safety Code’s new Standard 16-Class 1 Entry-Level Training framework introduced in February 2020, as well as mandatory Class 1 entry-level training standards in other Canadian jurisdictions.
MORE: Commercial Driver’s Licence in British Columbia (ICBC)