OTA not concerned about A/Z licence restriction delay

by Today's Trucking

The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says a delay in restricting the use of manual transmissions for A/Z drivers who trained and tested on an automated is not an issue for most carriers, and that the Ministry of Transportation should focus on other more pertinent issues.

“The OTA has no objections to this extension,” the association said in a statement, noting the majority of the market is currently comprised of trucks with automatic transmissions.

automated transmission shifter
(File photo)

“Based on feedback from fleets and truck manufacturers, over 90% of the sales in the tractor-trailer market are automatic transmissions and have been for some time. Based on these sales figures and the general movement of the industry towards automatic transmissions, newly minted A/Z drivers should not find it a challenge to their employment status to find a fleet with automatic transmissions. Based on this market based and operational reality, the impact of the MTO policy change, and its associated implementation date change, is expected to have an extremely limited to no impact on the OTA carrier membership.”

The OTA said it would prefer the MTO focus on: implementing an electronic logging device mandate (ELD) for provincial and federal carriers; enforcement on delete kits and emissions tampering; SPIF enforcement; heavy-towing utilization on major highways; truck and driver licence/permit renewals; heavy truck parking and restroom access and; WSIB/Driver Inc enforcement, among other issues. 

“By focusing on these issue areas, OTA expects the government of Ontario will continue to make significant progress towards increasing road safety and supporting businesses in our sector that strive to run compliant, safe, and competitive businesses,” it concluded.

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  • Why would they, it only kills people on the hwy not in their office. But if it was a family member they would cry like a baby. The problem only be have is it effects their payroll or a personal member . OTA is never to help the industry only to help big corporate companies.

    • OTA does not care about safety like the rest of professional drivers do. They are an industry organization manned by self-serving members, influencing government and giving bad ideas to the detriment of safety and health.

      I can attest with full authority that driving an automated transmission and a manual still requires a lot of attention… Big time. One who knows how to drive standard and goes to an automated one will drive that truck a lot safer… Especially when you have to put it in manual and shift accordingly to avoid a rollover. Complacency is much more existant if you just let that computer do all the work… Something the OTA will never understand.

  • There is a clear difference in SAFELY operating commercial vehicles when equipped with auto vs. manual transmissions. Those who were not effectively trained nor officially tested on manual transmissions have no business operating said gearboxes under real-life conditions. Pandering and catering to various ‘special interest’ or lobby groups has been the downfall of every well-thought out intelligent solution offered by industry professionals and recognized accredited subject matter experts.

  • Why does the OTA just make up a number like “90% are automatic”? That’s not close to the percentage published by the manufacturers. Why the misinformation? It doesn’t matter anyway; the issue is giving out an unrestricted license to someone who tests with an automatic truck. There’s a reason no other jurisdiction in North America allows it. It’s a reckless disregard for public safety. How can the OTA say that’s ever a good idea? Why are they so adamant about allowing untrained people to drive standard trucks (regardless of their popularity)? Shame on the OTA for apathy towards road user safety.

      • ND, you add a great point to the conversation. While the issue of auto/manual transmission operation should be debated, the more critical piece of truck safety includes qualified instructors and appropriate curriculum. Unfortunately, OTA does not want to address this issue, leaving the industry with no credible, independent voice regarding effective training. In addition, MTO & MCU does not work collaboratively regarding truck training school operation, enforcement, etc. Too many inexperienced fingers in the pie and not enough qualified enforcement personnel. No wonder truck-involved collisions are trending upward at an alarming rate.

  • This is ridiculous why would you not train anyone properly on both transmission types. So should someone who cant drive standard be paid less?
    Also if you want to drive standard do you have to back to school to learn? How does this work?