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OTA lauds mandatory entry-level driver training for Class A drivers

TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) penned a letter to the Ministry of Transportation’s Program Development and Evaluation Branch touting a draft curriculum for mandatory entry-level training (MELT) for Class A drivers.

In the letter, the OTA said the proposal to require 103.5 minimum hours of instruction, including 58 hours of hands on the wheel, one-on-one driver training, before being permitted to take a road test would establish a new bar for effective learning compared to the current situation where ‘licence mills’ are known to graduate driving students after 24 hours or less of training.

“Coupled with new road and written examinations, the MELT Standard will significantly raise the competency of Class A drivers at a very early point in their occupation,” wrote OTA president David Bradley. “This is in contrast to the historical reality of some drivers acquiring minimal to virtually no occupational competency before seeking employment in the industry. Establishment of the competency base embedded in the MELT standard will allow motor carriers to provide on-the-job experience that builds each driver’s competency to the level required for occupational success.”

The OTA said it has been the ‘driving force’ behind the introduction of MELT, with one of its member committees providing content for the standard draft.

“As employers, OTA carriers have been concerned over the lack of consistency in terms of the competencies possessed by newly-licensed Class A drivers,” said Bradley. “As customers of the training institutions, they have also been concerned over the inconsistent standards of training provided those institutions. The lack of a MELT standard also perpetuated the perception that truck driving is a low-skill occupation – something the industry must overcome if it is to resolve the long-term, chronic shortage of drivers.”

The OTA said it will continue to work with the ministry to address any remaining issues with the MELT standard, and will cover the topic during its Council Summit in Toronto June 22.

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