Driving schools don’t prepare new drivers for the real-world

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Dear Editor:

In response to the May letter about driving schools not preparing for the real world, I agree.

As a safety professional that has been conducting driver evaluations since 1994, I often shake my head and wonder how some of these drivers have obtained a driver’s licence.

As an industry we have a big problem that is not going to go away. Whether we represent a carrier or a driving school, we have a choice to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

Any carrier that hires a rookie driver and assigns them a truck without any type of coaching is looking for some big problems down the road.

To the rookie driver, there are opportunities when selecting a school to ask questions.

This should be like a job interview and you must have the list of questions ready.

Before selecting a driving school do your homework.

Many driving schools have a carrier day. Make sure that you attend and ask questions.

When you start the job search ask more questions. There is more to it than asking where do you run to, will you get weekends off, what type of truck will you be driving or what is your rate of pay?

These are all important questions that you need to know the answers to:

Ask about training. How much training will there be before you are assigned a truck?

How much training does your coach have?

How much of the training period will you be in the driver’s seat?

There are many ideas out there on what is the right amount of time for a rookie driver to be coached.

In my opinion I would think that it is a minimum of four to six weeks with 90% of the rookie’s time spent in the driver’s seat. This depends on the operation or the type of work that is being done.

I am also of the opinion that an experienced driver should be asking some of these questions as well for themselves.

This tells you something about the carrier and what you may be facing down the road.

The commitment to safety is important.

Mike Kroetsch

Safety Training and Compliance

Kitchener, Ont.

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