Are you ready to get behind the wheel and get paid for it?? You’ll need a Class 1 licence before driving a commercial truck, tractor, or trailer. The same Canadian road rules and regulations apply in a commercial vehicle, but you have added safety responsibilities.

In this article, we’ll cover the requirements for getting your commercial Class 1 driver’s licence in Alberta and share some safety tips for commercial vehicle drivers to keep you and others safe.

Obtaining your Class 1 license in Alberta

Obtaining a Class 1 driver’s licence is a crucial step towards becoming a commercial truck driver in Alberta. Let’s delve into the requirements for this license type:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Hold a valid Class 5 Driver’s Licence (minimum).
  • Complete a medical exam through a physician or nurse practitioner.
  • Pass a Class 1 Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) Driver’s training program.

Your driver’s training program is a government-mandated training that includes:

  • In-class hours: Digital or in-person instruction
  • In-yard: Activities around the yard (such as a vehicle inspection)
  • In-vehicle hours: Driving on-road or off-road, including doing driving drills and exercises

Training for your Class 1 licence costs up to $10,000 for your Class 1 MELT (113 hours + 8.5 hours for your Air Brake program) or up to $4,000 for an Experience and Equivalency Class 1 MELT (40 hours + 8.5 hours for your Air Brake program) program.

In 2025, you’ll also be required to participate in a Class 1 MELT learning pathway apprenticeship-style program. This program is currently in development and aims to help increase driver skills, improve safety, and enhance training for prospective Class 1 drivers.

Steps to apply for your Class 1 Driver’s Licence

  1. Take an approved Class 1 MELT course
  2. Pass a Class 1 knowledge test (with a score of 80% or higher)
  3. Schedule and pass a road test
  4. Register for your Class 1 licence at an Alberta Registry Agent.

Rules (and tips) of the road

Even though commercial vehicle collisions and casualties in Canada have decreased since 2019 (only slightly up in 2021), you still have an important role to ensure everyone’s continued safety. You can significantly reduce your chances of injuries and accidents by following these commercial driver’s rules (and tips) for the road:

Safety First

Did you know that 59% of all commercial vehicle collision fatalities are occupants of other vehicles? This is why all commercial drivers must practice a safety-first mentality. This means:

  • Keeping up with vehicle maintenance (yourself or ensuring your employer is)
  • Always perform vehicle safety checks before starting your vehicle
  • Never driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other driving distractions

Take breaks

If you’re a long-haul driver, ensure you take regular breaks. Take at least a 30-minute break for every eight hours of driving. In Alberta, commercial drivers can drive 13-15 hours before being required to take a consecutive eight-hour break.

If you’re feeling stiff, hungry, or tired, pull over in a pullout or rest stop for a break.

Be prepared

Road conditions in Alberta and across the country can be unpredictable and change fast. Be sure you’re truck is prepared with:

  • Warm blankets if you break down somewhere cold
  • Plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated
  • Extra food, if you break down in a remote area
  • Fully charged cell or sat phone to call for help if needed
  • Chains and snow gear for traversing mountainous passes

Trip planning

Trip planning can help you plan the most efficient route to your destination and plan for any unexpected detours that may occur. For example, if an accident shuts down a major highway you planned to take, know possible routes around it and ensure they’re safe for your rig (some small-town streets may not be suitable for larger, taller, or heavier vehicles).

While you may use a GPS, have a set of traditional, paper maps in your glove box, just in case you lose signal or your GPS stops working.

Don’t neglect your health and wellness

Your health and wellness is important. When you’re healthy, well-hydrated, and adequately nourished, driving is often safer. Ensure you:

  • Stay hydrated with water (especially if you drink energy drinks and coffee on the road).
  • Eat healthy foods (bring fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t rely on truck stop vending machines or fast foods for all your meals).
  • Do stretches or exercises when you stop for driving breaks to ensure proper blood flow and circulation.

At Bizi Transport Inc., we’re driven by safety and provide exceptional transportation services across Alberta and Western Canada. We specialize in transporting frac sand, nitrogen, LNG, sulphur, and chemical loads, and we have a newer, modern fleet of flat deck transports. Our professional drivers put safety first to ensure your shipment arrives safely, promptly, and cost-effectively.

Learn more about our transportation services and contact our team today to learn how we can help you haul your goods safely and efficiently.