OTTAWA, Ont. — The Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada (OBAC) says it is pleased Ontario Transport Minister Bob Chiarelli is seemingly willing to put an end to the discriminatory licensing requirements for senior commercial drivers.
OBAC also lauded the MTO for taking immediate steps to make the annual licensing requirements for drivers aged 65 and over less onerous. OBAC, along with other trucking organizations, has been appealing for change to the requirements for several years. Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America that requires senior drivers to take a road test every year after the age of 65 in order to retain their A/Z licence.
“Through a succession of ministers, OBAC has gone to MTO recommending it does away with the road test for senior drivers, replacing it with a more suitable means of evaluating driver skills, cognitive ability, and regulatory knowledge,” says OBAC executive director, Joanne Ritchie. “Forcing a driver with perhaps 30 or 40 years of experience to complete the entry-level driver’s exam does nothing to test for conditions that could be associated with aging.”
Chiarelli has directed his deputy minister to examine the issue and determine how to proceed with changing the licensing requirements. In the meantime, the MTO has made some small changes to the licensing procedure, which will be welcomed by commercial drivers.
Road test fees for senior drivers have been reduced to $14 from $75. Senior drivers will be able to use an automated transmission for their road tests. And the air brake portion of the practical test has been amended so that senior drivers can use diagrams to describe the process and demonstrate their comprehension of the air brake test.
OBAC has called for an immediate moratorium on the road test requirement until new legislation comes into effect.
“This would be a step toward righting the blatant double standard of age-based testing, and it can be done quickly, as was done with extending the expiry date for licenses that expired during the 2009 labour dispute with SERCO drive test examiners,” Ritchie says. “The road test is the most costly and inconvenient element of retesting for senior drivers, and does nothing to test for conditions that could be associated with the effects of aging.”
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