Same Old Same Old

Same old, same old, just as I’m trying to determine the content for this month’s article I get an email from a distressed entry level driver who received subpar training, funded by “We The” tax payers and they are of course having an issue finding work. This is again a perfect example of a broken system where substandard training schools are looking for cash and don’t care what the outcome is for the student or whether they ever become employed by an acceptable trucking company. When I say acceptable company I refer to a company with a decent finishing program and an infrastructure of support for the newbie’s to our industry.
In order for this bad scene to happen of course there needs to be an enabler, some source of money to pay for the training and since we know that the majority of entry level drivers to this industry have their training paid through some source of government assistance. There to help are you and I the taxpayer, so we end up being the enabler and we didn’t even get a say in the matter, If this isn’t a broke system there never has been one!
Let’s go back to the start and try and fix this thing, at some point someone in this great country decided that they wanted to become a truck driver, a good start would be to ensure that training schools had a minimum curriculum standard that they had to live by and that they were audited on a regular basis to ensure that they were in line with the minimum training standards and if they weren’t they would be blocked from receiving any students funded by “We The Taxpayers”. With that one sensible action we have fixed the majority of the issue, but there is still work to be done, so let’s move on.
Now that we have fixed the school let’s talk about the students, we as a society are paying the price of telling our kids that they can be anything and do anything they set their mind to it, what a crock. Here is another crock, do what you love for a living and you will never work a day in your life, are you kidding me, success is hard work always has been. Here is the black and white; some folks are just not cut out to be truck drivers’ period, they might not have it physically, they may not have it mentally, they just might not have what it takes!
The sad piece here is that most government funding agencies would consider it a capital crime for anyone to be turned down for assistance, assuming that they qualified through the paperwork process to get the money. It would not occur to them to go any further, nothing else matters to them, for them to go any further than this would look like they were picking on someone even if the person were obviously not going to become employed in the industry, now does that make sense?
Once again lets go back to the start, the person qualifies for government funding it could be UI, WSIB through whatever program available, this is step I. Step 2 lets now ask the individual to pass a behavioral modeling questionnaire, for those of you who don’t know what this is it can come in a variety of styles but usually it is a quick 15-20 minute set of questions that are designed to reveal an individual’s dominant behaviors and the behaviors that are not as important to them. For instance if you are not at all interested in safety and don’t appreciate the implications of being not safe, then I would suggest that once this is revealed that you NOT be allowed to take the training to drive a tractor trailer and you should be coached to look to other career options immediately. Step 3 let’s put the candidate through a medical to ensure that they can physically handle the job function at a minimum pin to pin company.
Finally on the driver, since was a gift of training funds it should be required that each graduate be required to inform the funding/government agency through a central location where they are employed every three months. The purpose being to ensure that the system is working and to be able to react quickly if it is not working in any giver area, if you don’t report in as to your status then you are required to pay the loan back. By doing this schools could also be measured and rated by how many graduates actually have stayed in the industry.
Not to leave the carrier out lets licence them to take entry level drivers and the way they get their license is to register their entry level driver finishing program with the ministry of transportation. Their trainers would have to pass a minimum requirements standard to ensure they know what they were doing with new folks in the truck. The program must meet a minimum requirement or the company is restricted from hiring new drivers.
So the schools have been fixed the student has been screened properly and the carrier is prepared for the challenge of finishing the new recruit and having a qualified competent driver is the outcome. This whole scenario works for me and it starts at the start which is usually a good thing.
On a final note I applaud the CTA’s newly formed “Blue Ribbon Task Force” and the content it has produced so far, I for one think it is a great wish list and I wish all the participants and contributors the best of luck in seeing it through to some result that we can all benefit from, next steps are critical.
Safe Trucking

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Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.

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  • Ray, I have tried to comment, but if I write more than a one line comment, there is a message that says “In an effort to curb abusive users, the comment has failed”! What I had to say would take more than 1 or 2 lines of text! this happens regularly when I try to comment on this site!?????

  • The folks who are responsible for the training should be in the industry, not schools, because it is the industry that is “stuck” with the outcomes from the training. And, ultimately, it is industry that is the judge. The government monitors schools to be sure that training is being delivered and the paperwork is complete, but passing a government road test does not make a useful or competent driver. THe answer to this dilemma is this: Form a partnership between government (financing) and trustwrthy companies to do the training. (The student still has to pass a gov’t road test) Let the reps from the company interview candidates and train them with a grant from the government, along with a contract with the student that he will work for that company (or group of companies) for a minimum time for an agreed-upon wage or he has to pay back the grant. Companies get suitable candidates that they can train properly. Call me crazy but I think it could work!

  • I am glad you sent the concern, Trck News is the administrator of this and I will get you an answer ASAP.

  • Ray, I think you have hit the nail on the head when you say some people are just not cut out to be truckers. However they should know this before they finish their internship. Also they should be told from the get go that insurance costs to companies hiring them are astronomical But let them know that. Also many newbies on an internship are only used as lumpers not as new driver’s and are not given better tips by the experienced driver’s. All this should be taken into account.

  • Driving schools are the problem. Listen to your audience of experienced drivers. They have sacrificed familly friends and a home life for millions of miles on the road. ever consider why, For most it is not a job or vocation it is a lifestyle. They are the reason there are truck shows the reason that long hood trucks will not die and most importantly they are the source of the information that employee manuals saftey manuals and best practices come from. This is the source of all things trucking not wannabe never been there instructors who charge hudge fees to generate poor quality drivers. Companies that are serious about their future would be well advised to pay their very best and most experienced drivers a comanding salary to apprentice these drivers. Most old hands would take less than a day to weed out those who are not suitable and have no feel for equipment. The result would be a more committed safer knowledgeable driver.

  • Ray…I know you are impassioned about this issue and as such I concur with the “same old, same old” ‘cuz this has been a lament within the industry for decades (particularly amongst the dedicated). Schools are trying to measure up but frankly the industry doesn’t step up as often as it should. We have always blamed the shortcomings of the newbie on the provincial licensing systems and the educational facilities but it is the companies who need to invest in their future by committing to producing the professional vehicle operator needed for future sustainability. Focusing on education, development and opportunity for those entering the industry is critical. The foundation for this business is providing safe, legal and efficient transportation services from the ground up! And….it ain’t for everybody! But someone has to be able to deliver what Logistics sells so why not concentrate on making that committed candidate the best they can be. Kudos to those companies doing it today. The rest…pay attention!

  • Ray, I agree that the industry needs to step up, and “finish” drivers so to speak that come from schools. Unfortunately, some of the “raw materials” aren’t worth trying. As others have said…just not cut out to be drivers. You’d better have a good vetting process, else Labour Canada will have a field day with you.
    Why does no one push for skilled trade status? There seem to be some very lame points our good friends in the lobby groups pursue, why not Journeymen status for drivers. Gain some credibility, develop apprenticeship steps and stages to full licensing, establish minimum training criteria and time…it seems to be exactly what people need.
    For God’s sake…hairdressers are a skilled trade. I’ve never seen a fatality from a bad haircut. Not that I need one often anymore.

  • Ray, this is a great topic and i am not sure if i am responding to the correct area But here i go. The trucking industry has changed dramatically. The new generation of truckers out there now with the exception of very few are not helpful at all to other truckers especially new ones. I just finished up on an 8 day run and to find directions from another trucker forget it. Most truckers i met in the USA would not even help. This is not an industry i would recommend to young people today. The FMCSA in the US has it right 11 hours then shut it down. Dispatchers still want you driving like an animal without sleep or eating to get the load there. Over run your hours and cheat the logs if you know how and keep going. You cannot even stop for a shower. This activity has to stop if the industry wants to attract new drivers. I have even been threatened with my life out there on the road by irate truck drivers. the industry has gone or at least made truckers crazy. It is not a safe industry for New People anymore unless it changes.

  • Comments
    Ray, I have tried to comment, but if I write more than a one line comment, there is a message that says “In an effort to curb abusive users, the comment has failed”! What I had to say would take more than 1 or 2 lines of text! this happens regularly when I try to comment on this site!?????
    Posted by: Stephen Large | August 8, 2012 12:50 AM
    SAME THING just happened to Me on Lou s blog.
    It seems to be taking a long time to get a answer.