Improve or shelve any unpopular CTHRC products

In response to George Lloyd’s letter (Mailbag, November/December issue) accusing me of beating up on the CTHRC on a regular basis, let’s get the facts clear. I have never “beat up” the CTHRC. I have only stated facts: Ontario has yet to see a graduate from the “Earning Your Wheels” program.

I couldn’t agree more with Lloyd that occupational standards are important tools for our industry. I also agree that “industry-approved standards” are necessary to reach “performance-based outcomes.”

These types of standards have been developed by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) and have been embraced by the industry, endorsed by the Ontario Trucking Association and sought after by campuses across North America. That number continues to grow as the number of “Ivy League” campuses recognize the value in the challenging and industry-focussed process.

I also agree with Lloyd that training to a high set of standards is a stretch for KRTS Transportation Specialists Inc. facilities…we educate to the highest set of standards on a daily basis… the PTDI standard. Is it the highest standard? Ask the hundreds of carriers who deal with us on a daily basis.

I have always encouraged the CTHRC to continue to improve and offer products the industry can use. Some of those products are good and can be used. The ones that are not being used should be improved or put on a shelf. Your group decides that.

Your associates at the CTHRC office tell me that you are the “acting chairman”, replacing Sam Barone. To give your organization the credibility it is looking for, you should have accurately stated your full title in your letter.

Kim Richardson
KRTS Transportation Specialists Inc.
Caledonia, Ont.

Acceptance of long driver waiting times is unacceptable

It is with interest (and anger) that I read the letter “Proposed HOS changes have their problems too” from Paul Dunham, compliance supervisor at Midland Transport of Moncton, NB., in the November/December issue of Motortruck.

Dunham cites a “typical” situation and, I agree, it is an all-too-common situation where many drivers spend needless hours waiting: at shippers/receivers docks, at truck stops or terminals, hanging on the phone for the inevitable “call me in an hour” from dispatch, etc.

What I, and undoubtedly many drivers, find so appalling about Dunham’s position is the fact that he, and many management staff, find this a normal, acceptable situation. It seems that it is perfectly and normally acceptable to keep drivers standing around waiting for hours and then still expect them to drive great distances. It seems that it is perfectly and normally acceptable to expect a driver to unload his own truck after driving for 12 1/2 hours (and then often times be reloaded and back on track). It seems that it is perfectly and normally acceptable to think that drivers can just “go lay down for a few hours and sleep” (read: “log this as sleep time”). Do they think they’re dealing with the truck or the driver (as an asset), or do they recognize the difference?

Dunham and these companies “promote safety and compliance”?

It is exactly for these types of people and companies that there were exhaustive studies done to examine the relationship between driver fatigue and current logbook regulations. It is exactly for these types of people and companies that the new HOS regulations were drafted and proposed the way they are. It is time that these companies treated their drivers like people, not equipment or assets!

Maybe the problem, Mr. Dunham, is not your drivers’ adherence to the new HOS regulations, but your (company’s, shippers/receivers, etc.) reluctance for appropriate scheduling and dispatching to comply with the proposed regulations?

I’d like to suggest to Dunham and others who seem to think like him, that their time would be better spent in improving “driver retention programs” and recognizing that drivers really are people too and they’re entitled to have a life outside their trucks. Perhaps then not as many experienced drivers would be looking to get out of trucking.

I think that if drivers were recognized as human beings with normal limitations, you would have safer drivers on our highways – never mind trying to get as many hours as you can from them and putting your freight schedules ahead of your drivers’ (and other highway users’) safety and well being. Look at the companies with the lowest turnover rates and relate their safety record.

Ed Wesselius,
Safety Consultant
Guelph, Ont.

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