Widow’s petition demands mandatory training for truckers

Truck driver Stephen Babij was killed in a head on semi truck collision on Highway 1 in 2017

A widow has launched a petition demanding national training standards for semi truck drivers.

Stephen Babij was killed in a head on collision on Highway 1 between Revelstoke and Golden in March 2017 when the other driver crossed the middle line. Both Babij and the other driver were in semi trucks. Babij’s dog was also killed in the crash.

READ MORE: Fiery crash kills one, closes Highway 1

“He always complained about the lack of training of commercial Class 1 drivers before he was killed,” says Pattie Fair, Babij’s widow.

Fair’s petition asks the House of Commons to regulate the Class 1 commercial licence and for it to be considered a skilled trade, make it easier for prospective drivers to get funding for training, store and collect information on training for each commercial driver and implement a mandatory entry-level training curriculum.

Stephen Babij was a hay broker. On that fateful day he was transporting straw. He usually drove with his dog in the cab. (Submitted)

At the moment, Fair says hair stylers have more requirements than truck drivers.

“And I don’t mean any disrespect to hair stylers whatsoever. I’m glad they have that training, but I don’t understand why mechanics, carpenters, hair stylers, are all considered professional trades. But a Class 1 professional driver isn’t.”

So far, only Ontario requires truckers to take a training course. However, Saskatchewan and Alberta are making it mandatory this spring.

Fair says it’s important for this to be federal legislation, not just provincial.

“Right now, if you get a license in Saskatchewan with just a single cab and a flat deck trailer, tomorrow you can come to B.C. over mountain passes and haul logs.”

As of Jan. 23, the petition has more than 2,500 signatures from across Canada and was posted on the House of Commons website last week after it was sponsored by Saskatchewan MP Kelly Block.

Fair says she is receiving an overwhelming amount of support from industry and in particular truck drivers.

“I was expecting more push back. That really surprised me. There are some truck drivers that have told me that they don’t feel safe driving.”

Babij had been driving semi trucks for more than 20 years. Fair and her husband owned/operated a family farm and Babij was a hay broker. On that fateful day in March 2017, he was transporting straw. However, after her husband died, Fair says she had no choice to let the business go.

“I had to write off the truck, trailer, and my husband. That was our business. The truck, the trailer, and my husband. There was nothing left,” says Fair.

“I had to replace his truck and a driver within a week and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t recover that quickly.”

Media at the time described the crash as “Fiery”. There are four vehicles involved. A third semi headed eastbound collided with the crash scene. Also an SUV also suffered front-end damage. The drivers of both those vehicles experienced minor injuries, police say. (File)

Fair says her husband loved his snow mobile, was a mountain man and was always more than willing to help other truckers.

“He helped people at brake checks all the time when drivers had to put chains on. He use to tell me all the time that drivers didn’t know how to put chains on.”

“People don’t necessarily believe me that some drivers don’t know how to put chains on. It’s pretty well known in the trucking industry. And the government is okay with that? I don’t get it,” says Fair.

In November last year, the B.C. government amended the Motor Vehicle Act that included new chain up requirements. However, there are no requirements for drivers to learn how to put chains on.

READ MORE: New chain-up regulations for commercial vehicles

“I’m trying to do something positive because I feel like my husband’s and dog’s life, our business and farm was taken. And it wasn’t really a big deal to the government,” says Fair.

However, things are changing. After the Humboldt Broncos hockey team accident that killed 16 people last April, calls for mandatory training has intensified.

READ MORE: Truck driver in Broncos crash pleads guilty

On Jan. 21, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that new regulations for semi truck drivers will take effect country-wide next year, but few details have been released. Garneau noted that there will be a minimum entry-level training standard.

A link to Fair’s petition can be found at https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2005&fbclid=IwAR2nz5i5mM2-uRe_EeX7KRywQJfVesQOitavrFAj6_eLW7Oez5YDUyEHLW8

Fair has also created a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Safer-Public-Roadways-for-Steve-and-Zak-241879183058180/


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Stephen Babij was a hay broker. On that fateful day he was transporting straw. He usually drove with his dog in the cab. (Submitted)

In better and lighter times. (Facebook)

“He always complained about the lack of training of commercial class 1 drivers before he was killed,” says Pattie Fair, Babij’s widow. (Submitted)

Pattie Fair says she is receiving an overwhelming amount of support from truck drivers. (Submitted)

Fair says her husband loved his snow mobile and was a mountain guy. And was always more than willing to help other truckers. (Submitted)

Pattie Fair has submitted a petition to the House of Commons that demands national training for semi truck drivers. (Submitted)

Just Posted

Downtown Creston activity hub for Kootenay Lake Gran Fondo

Downtown Creston will be a hub of activity on Saturday when the… Continue reading

Creston Fire Rescue respond to six calls

Creston Fire Rescue responded to six calls from Sept.10-15 it reported. September… Continue reading

“Music of the Night: The Concert Tour” to Play at Prince Charles Theatre

The Concert Tour is a concert celebration of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 70th… Continue reading

Latest round of Columbia River Treaty talks wrap up in Cranbrook

Federal, provincial, U.S. and Indigenous representatives recently met for eight round of discussions

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Most Read