B.C. on Oct. 18 implemented its ICBC-approved Class 1 mandatory entry-level training (MELT) course, the B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) said in a news release. The successful completion of this course is required for individuals applying for a B.C. Class 1 driver’s licence.
Designed to exceed the minimum requirements set by the National Safety Code Standard for entry-level training of Class 1 drivers, the MELT program requires 140 total hours and includes more practical behind-the-wheel driving hours, in-yard hours, and theoretical instructional hours.
To ensure commercial drivers are prepared for B.C.’s highway network and challenging climates, course curriculum was added that focuses on operating practices for the province’s mountainous terrain and diverse driving conditions.
“It is a monumental day for BCTA,” said Dave Earle, BCTA president and CEO. “We have advocated for a higher and consistent standard of training for the commercial transportation industry for many years. We were pleased to work closely with the provincial government and other stakeholders to develop a system that raises the bar on safety and helps meet the needs of employers and drivers.”
The implementation of higher training standards that produce competent and skilled commercial drivers will be an essential step in addressing the growing driver shortage that plagues the industry.
“MELT is going to level the playing field,” added Earle. “All new Class 1 drivers in B.C. will now have to complete the same level of training, helping to ensure consistency and competency of skills. This standardized training will help to attract and retain qualified drivers in our province, and we look forward to further discussions with the B.C. government regarding funding to support training and the growing needs of our industry.”