TORONTO, Ont. -- The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has responded to a request from the Ontario Trucking Association to modernize the Class A road-test by allowing all prospective, upgrading or renewing commercial drivers the option to use a truck with an automatic transmission.
In a letter to OTA, Ontario’s transportation minister, Bob Chiarelli, has announced that beginning May 1, all applicants attempting a Class A road test (upgrade or renewal) are permitted to use commercial vehicles, including dump trucks, equipped with either a manual or automatic transmission provided all other minimum vehicle configuration requirements are met.
Until this change, truck drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 were required to use trucks with manual transmissions only for their road tests.
In 2009, MTO began to allow drivers 65 years old to use automatic transmissions. The option has now been extended to all commercial drivers of any age.
“Over the past 15 years, many fleets have invested in automatic transmissions to expand recruitment and retention potential and also to try and improve fuel economy and reduce the GHG output of their fleets,” said OTA president David Bradley.
“Today’s announcement by MTO is excellent news for drivers and fleets who wanted more equipment options for their road tests at a time when the trend towards automatic transmissions is growing.”
“Not having the ability for new drivers to take the Class A with an automatic transmission created logistical challenges for a growing number of carriers,” he said. “As the driver work force ages and the driver shortage becomes more pronounced, automatic transmissions can play a role in making it easier for older drivers to stay in the seat while opening new doors for other people from non- traditional sources, such as individuals who may be embarking on a second career in the industry.”
MTO says the change reflects the growing prevalence of automatic transmissions in the trucking industry.