Saskatchewan is notorious for its lack of rest stops. Truck stops are in short supply, but so are basic rest areas, pull outs and extra wide shoulders. To stop somewhere safely – truck drivers need rest areas. The rest area is a big part of the quality of life for all drivers. With a shortage of drivers, safety and quality of life are two primary considerations drivers must make when considering the transportation industry as a viable career. Safe options need to exist to help grow the industry and decrease the driver shortage.
According to an Analysis of the Commercial Vehicle Driver Survey, prepared by Polytechnique Montreal for Transport Canada, Saskatchewan ranks behind Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick, BC and Manitoba when it comes to good truck parking practices.
The STA, along with other provincial trucking associations, have long advocated for additional rest areas for commercial drivers, particularly given the upcoming electronic logging device mandate coming to Canada in 2021. The STA will continue to advocate for additional rest areas for commercial drivers. Not only will proper rest stops encourage more people to pursue commercial driving as a career, it will have an impact on safe driving. Adequate rest stops allow drivers a safe place to pull over and rest or sleep, it allows them to perform necessary safety checks, amongst other safety precautions.
All roads lead to safety, especially if those roads lead to proper rest stops that can accommodate commercial drivers. The STA looks forward to collaborating with the Saskatchewan government regarding the needs of drivers to keep Saskatchewan’s highways safe for everyone. The STA has consulted with its membership on the need for rest stops and has brought these concerns to the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure.
In July, Minister Lori Carr said her Ministry was previously closing nine rest stops in Saskatchewan, but due to feedback from the STA, commercial drivers, and other citizens, two of the nine will remain open. The STA is pleased that the Ministry and Minister Carr have recognized the need to work with and consult the trucking industry as a major stakeholder on the need for rest stops. This is a first step towards ensuring the needs of the trucking industry are met. As has been said before, that is one of the points of forming a membership organization such as the STA – to bring the advantages of knowledge and experience of working in the industry to government bodies that oversee regulation at provincial and federal levels. Without the input and efforts of associations, the industry’s voices would not be heard.