I listened with some interest to a CBC Radio interview with David Bradley regarding the shortage of truck drivers facing this country.
The driver shortage will continue and get much worse unless we identify the contributing factors and respond accordingly. What are the problems? Let me just list a few:
* increasing driver expenses and a low rate of pay;
* drivers robbed of family values because of longer hauls and more deliveries/ pick-ups;
* lack of training to properly carry out his/her duties;
* and drivers’ immense responsibility despite the above.
Many of our experienced professional drivers are giving up their careers early because of the lack of knowledge and training of new recruits, the huge amount of paperwork they must wallow through, and the high-tech training they must absorb. To top it off, they are continually being hassled by Ontario Ministry of Transportation safety inspectors.
I also would like to point out a few guidelines facing the new recruit with a trucking career in mind:
* must be mechanically inclined and experienced with heavy equipment;
* must be willing to accept bureaucratic regulations pertaining to logbooks, such as those dictating when to sleep and when to be on-duty;
* must attend to paperwork in detail, or an abrupt end to a short career is just around the corner;
* and they must have a good working knowledge of tachographs, cellphones, fax machines, satellite tracking equipment, electronic engines, semi-auto transmissions, gear ratios, bills of lading, border schedules, highway safety and public opinion and insurance regulations.
The list of prerequisites goes on, but the above provides at least a general outline of what faces a young person contemplating a career in trucking. We are in a sad state of affairs when we can’t attract and train good-quality Canadians to fill the void in one of our largest industries. n
North Bay, Ont.
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