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CFMS Special Report

Steer in the Right Direction...

Steer in the Right Direction

Fifteen steps to maintaining your trailer’s self-steering axle

By Julia Kuzeljevich

There are three main maintenance objectives to perform on self steering axles, according to Jules GuiIlemette, product development manager, steering axles, IMT Corporation: to minimize tire wear, one of the biggest costs, through proper toe-in and alignment; to optimize performance through correct installation; and to achieve the proper centralizer setting and operation.

The next step is to enhance stability, through side to side balance in operation, and brake performance, he says.

Guillemette, in a presentation to attendees of the annual Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar, advocates a 15-step procedure for self-steering axles which he says outlines the proper sequence, method and methodology to follow so that you are only doing each step once.

1. In starting maintenance first ensure everything is in good working order. Suspension should be the right model and capacity. Install a suspension shock kit if unusual axle hop or bounce is experienced.

2. Check for mechanical looseness/wear/damage on the suspension/axle/frame and all other components.

3. Verify toe-in. “The method is to paint a broad band on the tires on both sides, and scratch a fine line, exactly perpendicular to your spindle and your bearing, which can be used for measurement and that is done to eliminate all variations in tire tread and wheels that are not actually true. Measure front and back, and the front must be 1/16 narrower for toe-in. In doing that you’ll have proper toe-in,” says Guillemette.

4. Verify alignment. “This is very specific. “Y” is the distance of the axle kingpin to the trailer kingpin. If Y1 is not equal to Y2, the kingpins can be at two different positions, and then the rest of the alignment will show properly but the wheels still won’t be pointing forward.” This would result in tire wear, since the centralizer will fight the tendency for the tires to straighten when the axle is going forward.

5. Verify the caster. “The caster is set at the time that the axle is welded into the suspension at the factory. Check this during maintenance because several factors can affect it. If you’re switching tractors fifth wheel height could vary and change the position of the caster setting,” he says.

6. Diameter of the tires is fairly important. Keep as designed and as specified. Tires must be: (a) Same size designation and tread; (b) Same type: all radial -or-all bias ply; (c) Balanced; (d) Inflated to recommended pressure for actual load.

7. Rims (both sides) must be the same part number and mounted the same way. “There are some rims that are very close in the offset,” says Guillemette.

8. Hubs and drums (both sides) should be the same part number with balanced drums preferred.

9. The brakes (both sides) must be the same size and adjusted the same way.

“It’s very important to have the same friction, especially for self-steers. If you don’t have exactly the same lining on both sides, one side will brake more than the other, and every time you brake your self-steer will want to turn. The original length push rods should be used. Your brake package must be completely self-contained on the wheel. Always contact the manufacturer if you have any doubts,” he says.

10. Wheel bearings should be adjusted correctly.

11. Check for wear in the kingpin and bushings.

12. The steering damper and/or torpress should be installed and in working condition. “It should be adjusted to give good solid resistance to shimmy and stabilization but still allow full turning of the axle. A manual operation involves putting a regulator in-line and sending the pressure for the centralizer. A load-sensing valve works very well, taking the pilot from the primary suspensions. The pilot will set the valve and adjust the pressure in the centralizer. If there is more load on the primary suspensions, then there will be more pressure and more centralization.”

13. The reverse lock should be installed and working. It takes a signal from one of the suspensions and it’s a device almost identical to an ABS sensor, notes Guillemette. As soon as reverse direction is detected the suspension is lifted.

14. A good check for adequate clearance between frame, tie-rod, air chamber and tires at maximum turning angle is always required.

15. Verify that the axle is installed with the thrust washer below the beam. The kingpin itself is held in place in most self-steers today by draw keys. These should be torqued to 50 ft-lbs, says Guillemette.


Stay Grounded

Governments to hasten migration to self-steering axles

In a recent speech to attendees of the annual Canadian Fleet Maintenance Se minar, Ron Madill, project leader, vehicle weights and dimension reforms at Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, set out to build context around the subject of self-steering axles.

“We’re in the midst of a significant four phase vehicle weights and dimensions reform of which the third phase will be implemented middle of this year,” he said, noting there are two primary reasons the provincial governments are aiming to migrate commercial vehicles over to self-steering axles.

Speaking for Ontario, Madill said some 4.3 billion dollars have been spent between all levels of government on roads in Ontario, and a recent audit report said that 1/3 of all bridges, and 1/2 of pavements in the province will require repaving this year.

“Some heavy trucks cause $300 million/year in avoidable damage. It’s not the weight that is a concern per se, but that certain configurations are causing excessive and avoidable damage, and the main culprits are multi-axle vehicles with liftable axles for manoeuvering corners,” said Madill.

The second reason he cited deals with highway safety.

“While Ontario has some of the safest highways in North America there are still 17,000 heavy duty vehicle accidents annually, one third of which involve tractor trailers. In analyzing the data, we found certain tractor-trailers having a disproportionately high rate of accidents (# of accidents per million km of travel). The primary culprits were multi-axle semi trailers, the same group we’re concerned about for infrastructure damage,” he said.

The primary belief why they’re involved relates to stability, controllability, and the space they occupy during various high and low speed manoeuvers, he added.

“The way we’re addressing these issues is through vehicle weights and dimensions reform, for example by identifying alternatives to the ones we view as problems. The alternatives must have dynamic performance characteristics, be productive (We have no intention of general reductions in types of weights but in getting it properly distributed), and must be infrastructure-friendly (in general this means replacing liftable axles with self-steering), with load equalizing on all the axles,” said Madill.

These vehicles will be identified as “Safe Productive Infrastructure Friendly” (SPIF) vehicles.

“There are three basic types of SPIF tractor trailers – those equipped with fixed axles, single, tandem or tridem. There are 3-,4-,and 6-axle self-steer versions, A-, B-, and C-train double-trailers. All self-steering axles must load equalize, with whatever weight is on the fixed axle group within five hundred kg. Many wheel cuts are specified for these, ranging from a minimum 20-30 degrees required wheel cut,” said Madill.

The further the self-steer axle is mounted from the pivot point of the trailer (the centre of the fixed axle group) the more sharply it will have to turn. Self-steer axles may be equipped with single or dual tires. In all but one case there is no impact on the maximum weight of the vehicle.

Self-steers may be liftable if the vehicle is empty or lightly loaded, but there are limits on the controls for raising or lowering the axle. They cannot be located in the cab of the tractor, (excepting vehicles that can carry rough force products). There can be automatic controls self-contained on the trailer that automatically raise the self-steer when the vehicle is reversing. There will also be provisions for an emergency attachment to raise the self-steer axle and transfer the weight onto drive axles in emergency conditions.

Madill said he expects a configuration migration of around 7000 self-steer tri-axle vehicles, 15,000 existing self steer quad trailers, 3500 5-axle and around 1000 6-axle versions.

“How are we going to cause the migration? We need to group the trailers into three as a good starting point. The first group involves light semi-trailers-1, 2,3 axle. These must conform to SPIF standards by the end of this year. The next group involves dump semi-trailers – any of these built since 2003 have had to be built to SPIF standards or face immediate weight reductions. The third group involves heavy (non-dump) semis and doubles 4-,5-,6-axle semis and all doubles – any built from 2006 onwards have to be built to SPIF standards or face immediate weight reductions. Any vehicles on the road prior to the end of this year will be grandfathered for their reasonable weight,” he said.

By 2025, Madill said he expects 25-30,000 self-steer SPIF trailers to be migrated over.


See the Light

Proper lighting maintenance contributes to better safety

While some of the most visible components of your vehicle are its lights and markers, they can often be overlooked from a maintenance perspective. But lighting performance and maintenance are key to the successful running of your fleet, and attention paid to your vehicles’ markers and graphics can also be good advertising.

The forty-second annual Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar in Toronto offered attendees some salient advice on lighting systems in their vehicles.


Trucks typically receive 10 million viewer impressions per year. This increases to 14 million if reflective material is used, said Ted Lawson, account representative for 3M Commercial Graphics.

“Some 91% of viewers notice words and pictures, and 70% develop an impression based on a vehicle’s look,” he says.

He adds that 98% of drivers say the outward appearance of their vehicles is important.

“The flip side is you can get negative impressions too, for example if the decals are shrunken, pulled back, cracked or blistered.”

Graphic materials can be reflective or opaque, and the reflectives can be rigid or flexible, with brightness levels of bright, brighter and brightest. There is a minimum reflectivity level in terms of colours and patterns specified at the manufacturing level. But the standards don’t address maximum coverage, longevity of reflectivity, and adhesion, says Lawson.

Conspicuity striping, which includes side, rear, under-ride and upper corner type marking, has been legislated and is mandated on all trailers since 1993.

“The benefits are a 22% reduction in nighttime accidents, and a 17% reduction in daytime accident. If people can see you more easily, it’s safer,” says Lawson.


Grote Industries Canada’s Mike Marchese has a troubleshooting principle called EAT: for environment, abuse, and time.

“Within one winter you can see a perfectly good harnessing lighting system turn to nothing,” he says.

“Around 40% of discarded lamps are still in good condition,” Marchese notes, adding you can determine quite a bit about your required lighting maintenance from the state of discarded lamps.

For example, stretched or broken filaments in bulbs mean they were subjected to heavy vibration, while black heavy soot deposits indicate a voltage surge.

There are nine common causes of lighting failure to note, he says: moisture and corrosion, chemical damage, abrasion (running wires not protected), impact (cracked, broken lenses), vibration (LED products can offer a solution, he notes), grit and sand, extreme temperatures, tensile loads (wiring is not an appropriate load bearing component), and flexing (make sure you run a good enough length of wire.)

“Never use a test probe to pierce wire insulation. Use the right tools for the job, i.e. a crimping tool so you won’t crimp through wire,” says Marchese.

He advises using shrink tubing for exposure, and flameless torches for wire repairs so that there will be a proper temperature that won’t overmelt the shrink tubes.

“Use shrinkable terminals to see the crimp,” he adds.

The compliance document

A key step in outfitting your fleet’s lighting components is understanding the compliance requirements.

Transport Canada and the provincial ministries of transportation offer pamphlets and documents detailing mandatory positioning of lighting and markers on vehicles.

Truck Lite’s Ed Ruediger also suggests producing an in-house document as a final step that lays out your requirements.

There are programs available as schematics to lay out lamp locations and to provide a detailed bill of materials, says Ruediger.

“The document pays off to satisfy legal and company requirements.”

Ask yourself what kind of geography your fleet is passing through – are you running through four seasons in one day? What kind of overall power consumption do you have?

“Pay attention to mounting designs to satisfy the requirements,” says Ruediger, i.e. mount lamps inside enclosures, and use corrosion preventive compounds including lamp pigtails and junction boxes.

Secure all harnessing every 18″. Use harness protection at conduit passages, and add corrosion preventive compounds at all boxes and plugs, he advises.


Why tow truckers aren’t all bad guys

By Ingrid Phaneuf

Any fleet owner who’s received a towing bill for one of his trucks knows recovery can get pretty darn expensive.

But few know exactly why.

Speakers at the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar got the opportunity to inform delegates of exactly how recovery, costs and subsequent billing procedures break down, and give the lie to the popular image of all tow truck operators being “vultures” looking to cash in on the misfortunes of others.

First up on the topic at this year’s seminar was Brian McLaughlin, a senior constable with the Ontario Provincial Police RIDE Unit, and a specialist in collision investigation.

McLaughlin walked CFMS delegates through what happens once police arrive at a collision scene.

“We don’t call them accidents,” McLaughlin emphasized. “Because an accident implies the collision is something that isn’t anyone’s fault.”

Once a technical traffic collision reconstruction is called to the scene, the scene belongs to the police and the police alone, said McLaughlin. Investigators request resources, which sometimes includes towing (if the fleet doesn’t already have an ongoing contract with a truck tower, or if one has not already been contacted), assess the situation, remove immediate dangers (which means the truck may be towed to the side of the road), interview witnesses and suspects, including the drivers, record the scene, gather and seize evidence (which can include the truck) and finally release the scene, including the truck to the tower once they’re finished with the investigation.

Truckers would do well to have all their documentation ready when police arrive, said McLaughlin. And they’d also do well to be driving trucks that were in good, safe driving condition before the crash, hauling legal weights distributed correctly.

Once the documentation and vehicle are checked, investigators proceed with collecting short-lived evidence (e.g., vehicle position, debris, road marks, etc.). Only after this has been done do police allow the vehicle to be towed to a secure facility for further examination. Police usually will obtain a warrant to do so.

Then investigators conduct an analysis, recreating the incident using physics and information they’ve obtained from the drivers involved. This is what allows them to determine the causes of the incident.

What can a trucker do to help speed things along?

Well first, if they are in good enough condition to do it, they should contact their dispatcher, superior or insurer, to let them know that an insurance adjuster is required at the scene immediately.

The sooner the insurance adjuster gets there, the better, speaker Paul Beard, an adjuster with AZ Claims Services Inc., told delegates.

“A claim that is not reported on time, denying proper investigation, can cost up to 48% more to resolve,” according to a recent study, said Beard.

The key to reducing cost is to have a response plan and make sure your trucker knows what it is.

“A plan is only as good as its weakest link,” said Beard. “Most of the time that is the communication between the driver and the trucking company, after a loss has occurred.”

But the driver can also be the company’s strongest asset when it comes to reducing recovery costs, especially if he snaps photos and interviews witnesses immediately after the crash, before police investigators and insurance adjusters have time to arrive.

Insurance companies can educate your drivers about how to respond in the moments following a collision, Beard said.

Drivers should also know that the OPP is mandated to ask the truck driver whom they want to respond for towing and recovery, said Beard.

Which is why developing an ongoing relationship with a particular towing company is a good idea, said Doug Nelson, president of the Ontario Recovery Group and former owner of the Northland Truck Centre in Bracebridge, Ont.

Nelson gave a breakdown of costs and time associated with towing and recovery, as well as an overview of the towing industry.

“The industry is shrinking,” Nelson told delegates. “We’re facing a serious staff shortage, due to early burn-outs and concerns with the perceived image and reputation of towers.”

But towers are not the “vultures” many perceive them to be, said Nelson.

“The industry today is very capital intensive,” he said, meaning costs of towing are also driven by the costs towers must face themselves, including, the cost of new equipment to tow the latest trucks and the cost of insuring the towers themselves.

Costs are also driven by whether the fleet owner can or can’t make an informed decision about which tow firm to hire. Sometimes, police will call the most readily available tower at hand, which is the source of many problems for the industry, explained Nelson.

Police are not concerned about the cost of making the tower wait while they investigate the scene. Nor are the towers able to wait for hours without getting paid.

Secondly, an unknown tower will not be able to offer the advantages of one who is known to the fleet owner.

And thirdly, the fleet owner may object to paying the tower he or she has not called, which is a major source of costs to the towers, sometimes necessitating that the tower go to court to get paid.

Calling a tow company with whom you have a relationship is also key to reducing time-related costs, Nelson added. For example, a known customer can more easily be fit into a tower’s schedule, cutting wait times. An emergency tow call demands an instant response, interrupts the tower’s schedule and may require specialized equipment or specially trained staff that the tower does not necessarily have available immediately. These sorts of complications can result in some pricey wait times.

Again, companies can reduce their costs somewhat by planning ahead, said Nelson. Making sure their vehicles are easy to tow or knowing what kind of specialized equipment is needed to tow them can help. Having a driver on the scene who knows who to contact and when also helps.

And when the bill finally arrives, fleet owners shouldn’t be surprised by what they see on it, said Nelson. Police, ambulance and fire department personnel all charge extra if required to remain on the scene for safety reasons. Fire departments can currently charge up to $500 per hour per truck, and police can charge up to $46 per hour plus cruisers.

Fleet owners should also be aware that tow companies are privately, not publicly funded, but are obliged to respond to emergency calls from police. That means if the fleet doesn’t have insurance or the owner declares bankruptcy, the tow company doesn’t get paid.

Capital investments also play a significant role in cost, said Nelson.

He gave a comparison of operation costs for towing companies in 1961 as compared to today.

In 1961, a heavy duty tow truck cost about $12,000. Today it could cost between $250,000 to $650,000.

Drivers earned up to $1.25 in 1961, while today they earn up to $45. Fuel cost .26 cents per gallon in 1961, compared to $4.13 per gallon (.91 cents per litre) now. And that’s not even covering the cost of special permits now required by all levels of government, sometimes on a one-off basis to haul overweight in a municipality, and always for operating permits on highways throughout the year.

Never mind the special equipment and staff required for hazardous materials recovery.

Clean-up costs may be covered in the towing bill if the fleet owner hasn’t already engaged an environmental cleaner. There’s storage too, as well as fees for lane closure (extra police).

In other words, the cheapest part of the invoice you get may in fact be the part that covers the actual towing.

All this to say that towing isn’t something that comes cheaply, and often for good reason.

Still the overall cost of towing can be reduced, said Nelson, who shared a few tips.

Expensive low slung bumpers on some trucks make them harder to tow, he said. Make sure your truck has tow pins or receivers, and standardize them so they all have two proper receivers at the front of the truck. This eliminates the need for front axle connections, and the need to remove driveshafts or axles.

Install independent air and electrical access points at the front of vehicles, for total control of all brake and light functions.

And build stronger trailers, added Nelson, so that they won’t be structurally damaged in a rollover or when police insist they be towed on their sides to the shoulder because they are blocking traffic.

The future could very well see this happen, he said.

“Loads will be left in the ditch,” he said.

Formula for the Future

Benchmarking fleet costs helps maximize efficiency

By Adam Ledlow

With industry costs on a steady rise, it was with welcome ears that four seasoned veterans of the trucking industry were met when they came to discuss benchmarking fleet costs at the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar in May.

The audience, seated at the DoubleTree International Plaza Hotel, heard first from Charlie Clairoux, fleet supervisor with The Pepsi Bottling Group.

Clairoux opened by mentioning what a juggling act working with a budget can be.

“Balancing costs is much more difficult as it (has become) necessary to operate on a tighter budget due to increased costs and competition,” he said. “Fuel costs are highest and often fuel budget allowances are inadequate, so there is constant pressure and juggling going on.”

Warranty doesn’t factor much into Clairoux’s fleet since not much of it is still warrantied.

However, he did stress the importance of parts warranties, which he said could save a fleet as much as 20% on parts and labour cost.

Preventative maintenance plays a key role in Claroux’s benchmarking plan.

“When I became fleet supervisor, some of my peers and I implemented a preventative maintenance plan,” he said. “Two of my night crew continuously work on preventative maintenance while the other two mechanics work on daily repairs and driver reports.”

Clairoux said the advantage of evening or night shifts allows fleet downtime to be minimal and promotes a better distribution schedule. Repairs and maintenance are also scheduled, which helps ensure fleet availability.

Claroux’s suggestions on how to meet your budget included shopping around and not being afraid to ask for a better rate; developing and maintaining a relationship with outside vendor and service providers; developing and implementing a fleet maintenance program to help ensure all vehicles are in peak operating condition; keeping vehicles a few extra years and leasing trucks and trailers to help reduce capital costs; and standardizing your fleet.

He also spoke about the importance of tracking costs. “Fleets that don’t know their costs are asking for trouble. With the high costs of running a prosperous business you need to track this information. A company needs to know where it stands at all times.”

Gary Moulton, fleet maintenance manager for J.D. Smith and Sons Limited, said parts and labour are first and foremost when he looks at the fleet’s annual budget.

“We have tried to base our labour costs on the number of hours that are generated by our mechanics on a monthly basis,” he said. “By accumulating this information, we have tried to structure a budget that can be based on a percentage of sales within our cartage department. By keeping our parts and labour costs within this percentage, we have been able to meet our monthly goals and projections over the past year.”

For tracking and measuring his costs, Moulton said J.D. Smith has implemented the latest software version from Maddocks Truckmate, which has allowed the fleet to develop its own method of tracking equipment costs.

“We have put together a system that will capture our month-to-date or life-to-date cost per kilometre,” he said. “With this system we are able to break down all the components of a vehicle and separate the major ones for easier tracking and data collection. (With this software) you can effectively control fleet size for maximum efficiency.”

J.D. Smith also has Fleetmind onboards installed in 50 of their cartage units, which Moulton described as a “very easy driver interface.”

The Fleetmind system was described by Moulton as having many cost-saving applications including allowing for smarter, more efficient dispatches; having the ability to monitor fleets proactively with little effort; and the ability to easily compare productivity and driving skills between drivers.

Moulton concluded: “Although we will face some challenges as fleet maintenance managers, there has never been a better time to make some significant gains. Technology is often seen as the culprit when the issue may be the organization’s ability to adapt. We at J.D. Smith take pride in the fact the preventative maintenance program that has been implemented has allowed us to achieve an ‘Excellent’ CVOR rating. Like I always tell management, in a perfect world you can always create the perfect budget.”

Next up to share his wisdom was Harley Bickmore, fleet maintenance coordinator with Petro-Canada.

He stressed that before you put a budget together to help benchmark costs, you need management’s commitment to a realistic number.

“Do you want it cheap or do you want it safe?” is the question Bickmore first put forward. “Once you have management’s buy-in, you can build a budget that you think meets your needs – then be prepared to explain it.”

But an effective budget plan doesn’t happen overnight.

“When I first became responsible for the Petro-Canada fleet, we had various tractor and trailer configurations,” he said. “In 1997, the average tank trailer age was 18 and a half years old. You couldn’t really budget for that. You just kept throwing money at it and doing a lot of explaining.”

But by 1998, Bickmore was able to convince the team to get serious about a fleet replacement program.

“Between 1999 and 2004, we replaced five “B” trains a year, all identically spec’d and at the same time implemented a 10-year replacement program. The benefits became apparent the following year as the numbers started to drop and continued to do so as more new units were added. Also, we can now track any component failures and take corrective action before it happens on newer units.”

Tracking the numbers ranks high on Bickmore’s list.

“If you really want to know what your equipment is costing you, you need to know where that money is being spent. That means breaking out expenses as many ways as you can think of.”

Personally, he breaks down his budget into 10 categories including communications, delivery equipment, tires and maintenance contracts. The end result, according to Bickmore, is a budget that makes sense, though he was quick to remind that budgeting is an all-year affair.

“Just because you’re ahead now doesn’t mean you’re going to be ahead forever.”

Ted Batchelor, regional fleet and TMT manager for Lafarge Canada Inc., spoke last, stressing the importance of establishing standards for the future. “(Without benchmarking costs) you have no way of planning a course of future action,” he said. “It’s a matter of getting out a pencil and paper and deciding there are things you need to keep track of.”

He suggested starting by measuring everything possible, including tire costs, fuel costs, repair costs, labour costs, warranty costs, distances travelled, hours worked and engine hours.

“There’s no limit on what to measure,” he said.

Batchelor further explained how benchmarking will help if you’re asked to present a long-term projection of costs with only a short time to do it.

“(Benchmarking) gives the fleet manager a tool to enable him or her to converse properly with upper management in terms they can understand. If you can’t communicate in terms people will understand, you won’t last very long where you are.”

When it comes right down to it, he says, “If you can’t measure it – you can’t manage it.”


Best of the Best

International Freight Systems’ Bob Gibson is named Fleet Maintenance Manager of the Year

By Adam Ledlow

The winner of the 2005 Volvo Fleet Maintenance Manager of the Year award, Bob Gibson, sat humbly unaware that the list of career accomplishments being read during the award’s presentation at the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar (CFMS) were his own.

It wasn’t until the announcer mentioned the name of his wife that the veteran of 40 years realized he was about to be named winner.

“I didn’t know that I’d won until they got to my wife, Pat,” said the grandfather of 15.

“I was very surprised because there are so many people that deserve it. It’s still hard to believe.”

The presentation of the award was the grand finale of events taking place at CFMS’ new venue, the Double Tree Plaza and Hotel in Mississauga, Ont. in May.

The winners of the prestigious award are chosen by their peers and truck magazine editors, including Transportation Media editorial director Lou Smyrlis, based on a lengthy list of criteria.

Few are more proud of Gibson’s accomplishment than his colleagues at International Freight Systems (IFS) in Oshawa.

“He’s very dedicated to this industry, to the field of transportation and to the company,” said operations manager at IFS, Nick VanderMeer. “I’m very proud of him and honoured that I could be here too.”

Gibson acknowledged that he couldn’t have gotten to this level in the business if it wasn’t for his co-workers.

“Every one of the workers make my job that much easier. Because that’s what it’s all about. You can’t do it on your own. Everyone plays their part. That’s what gets you to where you are,” he said.

Gibson got started as a driver with IFS back in 1968.

Since that time, he has been highly involved with the company’s operations and took over responsibility for the safety and maintenance of the Oshawa facility seven years ago.

Gibson’s long list of achievements include extensive work as a trainer, with seven years as a registered WHIMS trainer, 15 years as an air brake instructor at Centennial College, 16 years training for the Ontario Safety League and 17 years as a motor vehicle driver trainer.

As a member of the Free Methodist Church, he has also donated much of his time to his community by transporting young people at the church to different events, excavating the church’s yard using his own resources and even flying to the Dominican Republic to help build churches for the less fortunate.

For Gibson, the award stood as not only the climax of the week’s events, but also his career.

But Gibson says he doesn’t see the honour as the point in his career from which he will steadily decline, but rather a peak of excellence he intends to maintain for years to come.

“When you get (to this level) you can’t back off, because when you back off you can only go downhill,” he said.

“And that’s what you’ve got to be afraid of: that you don’t get on top and fall off. It’s one thing to get there, it’s another thing to keep going and not stop. You’ve got to keep shooting higher.”

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