DAILY NEWS Dec 9, 2013 1:37 PM - 10 comments

Truck trainers, insurers call for mandatory entry-level training

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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.”

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Reader Comments

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danial guise

to bad the us doesnt establish entry level standards 90% of these guys could drive a triscycle around the block 2 wk training and ur shoved out the door with a trainer thats only been in a truck for oh prb 3 months not even trainer material and curtiousy not even close

Posted December 12, 2013 12:39 PM

B.J Plummer

Keepleft's comments make me wonder if he is really involved in the trucking industry. I drove one kind of truck or another from the sixties to 2009 with long hauling the last 30 years. I learned a lot,what I thought I knew when I started long hauling had to be revised many times when I got to work for good companies and "The Good Old Days" were replaced by good time management and common sense.
I was an OTR coach and one of the few who actually was certified for in cab coaching I think this should be mandatory for all OTR coaches (yes we are coaches the trainers work in the schools). Learning to be a long haul driver does not happen overnight its more like training for a marathon it takes time and patience to build up to the miles and the lifestyle.
It takes a lot of time management and self discipline to get the rest needed.I have seen Billy Bigrigger OTR trainers put a new driver behind the wheel and tell them they have to run 11 hrs their first time or they will NEVER be a long hauler. I used to tell my New Drivers that it was like training for a marathon they just had to do a little more each day.
Also if we pay attention to the regs we NEVER have to pee in a bottle unless the driver is too fat/lazy to get out of the truck. Time management was my biggest asset. If I had to do a 500 mile run for Monday morning I left |Sunday noon got there did y 10 hour rest and was ready to go when I was unloaded Monday, some times you can't sleep at the customers but you can usually get close. Learning to carry food and water in the truck is a priority saves money and time and is a safety feature if you get snowed in or broke down.

Posted December 11, 2013 01:38 PM


Mandatory driver training standards is a good start, next step is similar to all the other trades, drivers have to retest whenever they renew their driver's license.

As far a experience training for new drivers, every training facility must put a driver through a driving simulator to expedite and enhance their experience level, which we know can only come from years of experience.

Who is going to pay for training? It will come from industry, who should be paying the carriers properly so that they can afford an apprenticeship program.

Any effort at all to expand driver training / experience will be a benefit to our "trade" and help get the respect back into it.

Posted December 11, 2013 12:58 PM

Training Schools


How do you expect the good training schools to lower the cost of training? What one pays is in direct relation to the quality of training they get. The current issues are arising because individuals decide to purchase training based on price rather then value. You can get AZ training for $975-$1500 to pass the test but these individuals are no where near ready to hit the road because they have not been trained properly, and have only been taught how to pass the test. Cheap training schools have unprofessional instructors, low standards, tired equipment and produce dangerous drivers. The schools that have the more expensive programs $6000-$10,000 is because the quality of training these individuals are receiving is second to none. They are trained by professional instructors (making some where between $17-$22/hour), on decent equipment, with comfortable classrooms and are provided all the knowledge required to have a successful career in the industry. Although you may think this training schools are making boat loads of money because the cost of training is so high, trust me when I tell you that the margins are very small. The issue is not the schools who are charging "to much" its the schools who are offering training at a minimal price and providing minimal training.

Posted December 11, 2013 09:06 AM


Nis, has a point on bad driving habits of older drivers, as a retired driver trainer, I've seen this when a driver came "back to school' to take a refresher course to take their 're-test" at age 65. None of them could even "start" to do a pre trip, & once out on the road, SCARY" doesn't even start to cover what they needed,no downshifting when coming to intersection to make a left turn,forgot to look in mirrors before lane change, no 4 ways while backing up or horn, & didn't get out to check out surroundings, speeding, & on & on it went & when confronted with mistakes "Don't tell me how to drive I've been driving for 30+ yrs" Not saying all "older" drivers are like this but many are!!!! Pete

Posted December 11, 2013 08:12 AM

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