Just how much training do snowplow drivers get? Apparently, not a whole lot

Are your streets and sidewalks cleared by a private snow removal company?

If they are, when you step out onto the road after a snow storm, you may be putting your life in the hands of someone who is overworked and has little or no training.

"There is no law for the maximum of hours," said Marie-Jose Michaud, spokesperson for Control Routier Quebec, in an interview CJAD 800.

The 13 hour maximum work day law, which applies to heavy vehicle operators, does not apply to most street and sidewalk plows, and drivers are not required to hold a special license.

Snow plows, like tractors, are designated as 'work vehicles,' and anybody with a standard class 5 driver's license can operate them.

"If the company wants to give some (training) that's really good, but it's not mandatory by the law," she said.

An investigation by the Journal de Montreal details how a number of private companies provide as little as five minutes of training to new employees, and force their drivers to work 16+ hour days.

"There is an augmentation of the accidents for this type of vehicle," Michaud said, citing numbers that show a steady increase in plow related accidents. 

"Every year the Société de l'Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ) takes a look at all the statistics and accidents, and if they see something that is problematic, they can ask the (Transportation) Minister to change the law, she said."

She added that no such recommendation has been made.