TORONTO, Ont. – The truck insurance industry and Ontario training schools have joined the call for mandatory entry-level driver training standards in Ontario.
The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) and insurers including Northbridge Insurance, The Guarantee Company of North America, Old Republic Insurance of Canada and Zurich Canada have all penned letters in support of an Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) position that would require entry-level commercial drivers to complete mandatory entry-level training. This, said OTA, would help truck driving achieve recognition as a skilled occupation.
The OTA said it recently brought the issue to the attention of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
“There appears to be some traction gaining in certain provinces. While that’s a good sign, there is still a very long road ahead and major hurdles persist, which is why the training and insurance industries joining OTA on this issue is an important step,” says OTA president David Bradley. “The good news is that at the very least a dialogue is now underway.”
Northbridge Insurance, in its letter, said mandatory entry-level training would bring “much deserved respect to truck driving as a valued and skilled occupational skilled trade” and a “necessary step to ensure qualified men and women are behind the wheel of Canada’s distribution network.”
Old Republic wrote that “Mandatory entry-level training standards will provide that needed benchmark to ensure those licensed to drive commercial trucks have the necessary skills to help them safely navigate Canada’s roadways. Our company believes strongly that mandatory entry level training standards must be implemented.”
Added The Guarantee Company of North America: “Currently years of experience and driver vehicle abstracts are the only benchmarking criteria for determining driver’s qualifications. There currently isn’t any criteria in place to obtain a heavy commercial licence or ensure that a safety standard is maintained in the critical first three years of licensing. Having a program such as mandatory entry level training will create and maintain a culture of safe driving behaviour and increased driver confidence.”
Zurich added: “We believe that establishing a qualification standard will ensure that driving a commercial vehicle is recognized as a profession and an important career, rekindling the deserved respect for the profession while also making our roads even safer.”