Ontario delays A/Z licence restriction for automated transmissions

by Today's Trucking

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation announced to a group of industry stakeholders Friday it would not be proceeding with restrictions on commercial licences obtained using an automated transmission, set to take effect July 19.

The delay caught some industry stakeholders off-guard, as it was announced at a hastily called meeting just days before the restriction was supposed to take effect. The proposal would see those who train and test using a truck with an automated transmission restricted from driving trucks equipped with a manual transmission.

The unexpected delay is expected to take as long as a year.

“The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada was and is very disappointed in this development,” says PMTC president Mike Millian.

(File photo)

“The way it was handled, being announced with zero consultation and little to no warning was unprofessional, in our view. The reversal of the decisions, in our view, also flies in the face of road safety. Ontario continues to be the only Jurisdiction in all of Canada and the U.S., that allows someone to take all of their training and their road test on an automatic, and then gives the driver a fully unrestricted licence, allowing them to drive a manual transmission. There is a reason no one else allows this, because it simply makes zero sense, and is not safe. Feel free to give me a ring if you want to chat further.”

The Ontario Commercial Truck Training Association, which says it represents about 30 training schools, had formally asked the government to reconsider the July 19 deadline, giving schools a chance to adjust and procure the needed equipment.

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  • Why not train all drivers on a standard transmission and not even bother with this nonsense? So what happens if an automatic driver now trains to drive standard what does this driver have to do another road test with a standard transmission. Stop complicating things.

  • Such garbage. Nobody needs a restriction on manual vs automatic. It’s nothing but a cheap moneygrab. Like most things these fools push for, it’s all about money and has nothing to do with real safety. If they were really concerned they’d require all training be done on a manual.
    Schools are a business pushing out a product already that meets only one standard and that’s passing the ministry road test. That’s it.

  • I think every new driver should be required to use a manual transmission for 5 years, then allowed the choice of an AMT. The manual taught the veterans: patience, gear selection on major grades and limited speed in urban areas. AMT’s have allowed a degradation of driver skills and increased urban speeds. Both are dangerous!!

  • Why does the MTO continue to insist on giving licenses to people who haven’t demonstrated an ability to operate the equipment? its just a matter of time until somebody gets killed. Maybe BC can rename their runaway truck lanes to Ontario commercial license holder lanes.

  • The Ontario Commercial Truck Training Association?
    Who are they? Which schools are these?
    I could not even find a website about them.

  • We have people on the road driving equipment they are not qualified to drive! If you can’t pass a road test with a manual transmission, why are you allowed to drive a truck with one?! It’s absurd. We will continue to see a rise in commercial vehicle collisions, because the MTO continues to give out unrestricted licenses to anyone who can put the truck into “drive” and then lets them loose on our roads. How much longer until the rest of North America bans Ontario licensed drivers from their roadways?

  • The reasoning for pushing this deadline back AGAIN makes zero sense, as the industry has been aware of this since November (thats 9 months). Ontario insists on having MELT to ensure driver safety and training requirements are met but then they allow drivers to test on an automatic and not demonstrate any of the skills they learned while in a qualified training school. The MTO needs to consider everyone on the road (commercial and non-commercial drivers) and not the few schools that aren’t qualified to teach standard training to continue to teach sub par bare minimum training to dictate what this industry desperately needs.

  • The fact that Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America that allows someone to test on an automatic and be licensed to drive a manual, is ludicrous. The safety implications that come with an unrestricted license is terrifying. It’s a matter of time before western Canada will not allow Ontario truckers in their province. The entire country has been waiting on the MTO to step up, implement restricted license and protect our road ways!

  • How is it that Ontario is the only province that does not recognize the fundamental lack of safety this decision puts on those travelling on the roads. More importantly who is this organization that holds so much weight in the eyes of the ministry to incite this knee jerk reaction to back track on enhanced safety regulations that have been in the works for some time and already previously delayed. A cursory search on this Ontario Commercial Truck Training Association only yields a result referencing this specific article and nothing more.

    The rest of Canada has already determined that restrictions are necessary for those testing on automatic transmissions and vital in keeping travelers in personal and commercial vehicles safe, what makes Ontario different?

    The lack of transparency and communication with stakeholders is disheartening and frustrating to say the least. The goal of the ministry should be to uphold the highest safety standards and protect the public, not to bend to the will of newly formed, unheard of associations looking to profit from taking short cuts and risking lives.

    • Apericate your comment ..I hope you will also asked your so-called biggest association.why they voted against Mannual Transmission in 2014 while OCTTA voted in favour of this policy.. and why they were silent on this issue since 2012

  • Every student going through a school for a commercial license should be REQUIRED to pass their license in a standard transmission truck PERIOD.
    I wonder who’s money is behind this last minute decision?!

  • This restriction is long overdue and it is disparaging to see it shelved for another YEAR??!!!

    There are places in this world with transmission restrictions for CARS.. why? Because it’s dangerous to drive one without the proper knowledge and skill. Plain and simple.

    We’re talking transport trucks here. Having been in the industry myself for a number of years, I know the multitude of things that can go wrong for a new driver, especially a new driver not familiar with a manual transmission.

    In a world of red tape and safety precautions, this seems like a pretty necessary and simple mandate to put into place.

  • This should go forward as planned sucks to be those companies. If it happened to us we would have to suck it up.
    This is systemic in the trucking industry the bigger companies get what they want and the little guys and gals gets a kick in gonads. Not fair.
    I think the truck news needs to call them out on it, so much illegal business has been going on between Trudeau and Big trucking companies like Monopoly with ups and TFL no special clause so they can have more time.
    Wrong in everyway.

  • Why you all quite for last 9 year and why pmtc let this happen in 2012.where is all the excuse now given us in 2012
    In 2012 1st excuse industry move to automatic transmission more than 85% and in 9 year may ve 100%
    2nd traffic mive quickly
    3rd encourage to female in trucking industry

    • I’m a female in the trucking industry for the past 24 years & still truckin’
      Very insulting to think an automatic would be the only way a female would be able to get her license to drive or get into this industry

  • The Ontario Minister of Transportation is Caroline Mulroney. Need I say more?
    She is experience with driving a family mini-van.
    What does she truly know about driving a five ton, a semi, or a “B” train?
    It definitely should be mandatory training and testing with a manual transmission.
    My question is this: What company is going to hire a driver, who only knows automatic transmissions, to drive their manual transmission?
    This would not happen.
    Driving schools only require manual transmissions, not automatics.
    There is no financial hardship for them. This is a play backed by money and greed.
    Even the largest of fleets, who have mostly automated transmissions, want drivers who know what they are doing. Insurance and maintenance costs, alone, won’t allow them to fool around and cut corners.

    • hy you all quite for last 9 year and why pmtc let this happen in 2012.you guys voted against manual transmission we are favour in manual transmission why everyone silent on this matter we are not against manual transmission ho response bale last 10 years happened on road?

  • Serco – DriveTest Centre stats – 60% of AZ road tests in Ontario are from two test centres – Brampton and Downsview.
    This is the same group led by Brampton West MPP that have legislation that has gone through second reading and is at Standing Committee to remove the requirement to have the Air Brake (Z) Endorsement written every 5 years – Why? – because they can’t pass it.
    In related news yesterday – Ontario does not inspect or check certification for skilled trades. What can we expect for truck driving (which is not classified as a skilled trade)
    FYI – pass rate for 1st attempt in Ontario for an AZ licence is 53% – Good training schools that have always had programs that supercede MELT (ELT) have pass rates that are 90% and better .

    Carriers that are looking for quality graduates will simply make shifting a requirement for employment as well as only fire from recognized schools – basically a licence only means you have fulfilled one step in the application process. For example, a fire fighter gets a DZ licence – still has a ton of training ahead of them in order to find employment.

  • The companies that hire drivers with only automatic experience will pay for their mistakes in damaged transmissions , drive shafts and clutches! Maybe after ten or twenty thousand in repairs they’d smarten up!

  • Thank you Ontario Trucking Association OTA for supporting MTO stance on AZ license restriction issue. Over 90% of the trucks being sold have automated manual transmission. Request to PMTC & TTSAO focus all your attention on creating another non-issue.
    This chapter is closed.

  • As a veteran commercial driver with over 3000000 miles I find this totally absurd. They want to control us veterans with e-logs and everything else we do but do NOT want to make sure someone is SAFE to drive a commercial vehicle they must know how to operate or they can kill several people. This is absolutely disgusting. Anyone driving a tractor trailer should know how to control every piece of equipment they could be assigned including those with a standard transmission.

  • When I took the AZ training course we all learned to drive manual. Anyone can drive an automatic and should never be able to get there licence using an automatic trans!