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Automatic transmissions now an option for Ontario Class A road tests

TORONTO, Ont. -- The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has responded to a request from the Ontario Trucking Association to modernize the Class A road-test by allowing all prospective, upgrading or renewing commercial drivers the option...


TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has responded to a request from the Ontario Trucking Association to modernize the Class A road-test by allowing all prospective, upgrading or renewing commercial drivers the option to use a truck with an automatic transmission.

In a letter to OTA, Ontario’s transportation minister, Bob Chiarelli, has announced that beginning May 1, all applicants attempting a Class A road test (upgrade or renewal) are permitted to use commercial vehicles, including dump trucks, equipped with either a manual or automatic transmission provided all other minimum vehicle configuration requirements are met.

Until this change, truck drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 were required to use trucks with manual transmissions only for their road tests.

In 2009, MTO began to allow drivers 65 years old to use automatic transmissions. The option has now been extended to all commercial drivers of any age.

“Over the past 15 years, many fleets have invested in automatic transmissions to expand recruitment and retention potential and also to try and improve fuel economy and reduce the GHG output of their fleets,” said OTA president David Bradley.

“Today’s announcement by MTO is excellent news for drivers and fleets who wanted more equipment options for their road tests at a time when the trend towards automatic transmissions is growing.”

“Not having the ability for new drivers to take the Class A with an automatic transmission created logistical challenges for a growing number of carriers,” he said. “As the driver work force ages and the driver shortage becomes more pronounced, automatic transmissions can play a role in making it easier for older drivers to stay in the seat while opening new doors for other people from non- traditional sources, such as individuals who may be embarking on a second career in the industry.”

MTO says the change reflects the growing prevalence of automatic transmissions in the trucking industry.


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16 Comments » for Automatic transmissions now an option for Ontario Class A road tests
  1. Cheryl says:

    Roads tests can be done with an automatic transmission, however, the drivers that test with an automatic, should only be allowed to drive an automatic afterwards..

  2. wayne williams says:

    this is exactly what the industry needs , more drivers that never are taught how to operate the majority of the vehicles that are on the road.only a handful of carriers that update their fleets and have a full time transmission mechanics are going to benefit from these inexperienced drivers

  3. Hammer Down Truck n Trailer says:

    I do not believe new drivers should be trained on Automatics or take their test on Automtics, as you do not get the fell of the truck and when going down hill for braking.

  4. Rajiv says:

    This is exactly what the industry needs , more drivers that never are taught how to operate the majority of the vehicles that are on the road.only a handful of carriers that update their fleets and have a full time transmission mechanics are going to benefit from these inexperienced drivers..
    And the maintain the Automatic transmission life Nitro-9 ZP-600 is the Best solution….

  5. Scott says:

    There are 2 types of automatic transmissions – automated manual transmissions (AMT), or fully automatic transmissions. The AMT transmissions use a clutch and a computer shifts the transmission like any other standard would. A fully automatic transmsission has a torque converter & has full power shifts. There is a big difference and the term automatic is getting confusing in the market place. I would assume the province of Ontario does not care which one is used.

  6. ERIC WALKER says:

    WELL ITS A LITTLE LATE FOR ALL THESE NEW REG.I HAD TO GIVE UP MY LEASE TRUCK WHEN I RETIRED(2010)BECAUSE I HAD AN AUTOMATIC,THIS WAS MY 2ND LEASE OVER AN 8 YR EMPLOYMENT WITH THE SAME COMPANY.WHEN I LEFT I HAD A 500,000MI SAFETY AWARD.BUT BECAUSE I WAS 65 I HAD TO GO EVERY YEAR TO MTO AND HAVE SOME(CONTRACTED BY MTO) PERSON PROBABLY IN HIS 30,S TELL ME I CANT DRIVE ANYMORE AFTER 50YRS AROUND AND DRIVING TRUCKS.I WAS THE ACTOR IN THE SMART DRIVER PROGRAM AND HELPED WITH WRITING THE PROGRAM.
    NOW I HAVE BEEN REDUCED TO A D LIC. WITHOUT A Z ENDORSEMENT BECAUSE OF THE GOVERNMENT SHOOTING THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT OVER AND OVER AGAIN.TRANSPORTATION IS THE BACK BONE OF THIS COUNTRY AND THERE REMOVING ALL THE EXPERIENCED PEOPLE FROM THE MARKET.ASK ROLF LOCKWOOD I WAS EMPLOYED FOR A LARGE TRUCK MANUFACTURER FOR A NO OF YEARS AND DID NEW TRUCK,ENGINE,AND OTHER TUCK COMPONENTS TEST WITH ROLF
    ANYWAY HERE I SIT CANT SUPPLEMENT MY PENSION BECAUSE I CAN,T AFFORD TO RENT A TRUCK FOR THE ROAD TEST.MR GOVERNMENT YOUR A LITTLE LATE WITH ALL YOUR NEW REG.PLEASE SAVE THIS COMMENT SO YOU CAN LOOK BACK AN REALIZE YOU NEED SOMEONE IN GOVERNMENT THAT WAS AROUND THE INDUSTRY AND CAN MAKE BETTER DECISIONS.THANKS ERIC J.WALKER..

  7. Paul McK says:

    Do you support the mandatory use of electronic on-board recorders to track hours-of-service? YES! This will mean that dispatch cannot force you to break the law like they do now. They all say -we want you to follow the law- when they are recruiting! Then they get you and it is -get the job done!

  8. Paul McK says:

    I have been driving commercially for darn near 40 years and have never driven an automatic in a truck. I am looking to buy a new truck and this time I think I will look at an AMT. I hear they are easier on the old knees and give you the option to shift manually if you want to.Any ideas on this are appreciated.

    • MM says:

      I have driven standard transmissions for 30 plus years my favorite being the Eaton 18 speed. A few years ago I drove one of the automatics with a clutch. It didn’t perform as well as I would have liked and the programming module was a problem. The fully automatics work much better and are a lot smoother. I would recommend the fully automatic, I would definitely not recommend the mechanical auto shift with a clutch. The new Volvo auto shift with a torque converter is getting great reviews. My nephew drove one for three years and loved it. I hope that helps.

  9. Scott says:

    I drive for a company that has 163 fully automatic trucks and just a few manuals. I firmly believe that any commercial driver going to run the highways of north America should have full training on a manual. It will broaden their employability as well as give them options in their career choices. Not all company’s run the more expensive automatics therefore why would a company hire a driver who only has automatic experience? Then have to pay costly repairs on the trucks. Not just that but they would be a safety concern as well.

  10. Tim says:

    Although I think allowing drivers to be retested with a automatic transmission, I think all new drivers should be tested with a manual transmission even in cars!!

  11. John says:

    All this will do is create more iffy drivers, This change was made because of lack of drivers,All we are doing now is adding more semi-quilified drivers with minumal training start wearing your helment to work

  12. peter d says:

    I don’t understand all the negativity on automated transmissions.I’ve been driving an automated trans for 8 yrs.1st with an 05 volvo with a meritor and now a 2010 volvo with i-shift.I love it.more relaxed at end of day.Don’t need to concentrate on gears or shift points.Knees not sore.Would not want to go back to a manual.

  13. Peter Warren says:

    I can`t say I have driven the Volvo I shift or the Meritor automatic but I know the Eaton-Auto Shift is a failure.But when its about reliability the non synchro Eaton-Fuller types rule and will always rule.They outlast the truck. If you are a truly skilled driver you will not care for anything else.Once you have mastered the concept of shifting non-synchro it adds a bit of sport to the trip and I would miss that but at the end of the day dependability should be the word in all of this topic.When you are driving through mountainous terrain,ice roads or when your simply between Calgary and Regina and your transmission is malfunctioning again.You know that the gear box would never have let you down.Eaton auto-shift is unreliable overprices poorly engineered junk.The old saying is true here if its not broke don`t fix it.So that being said The gear boxes will never die and you don`t have any business bringing anyone into the industry who can`t shift a Road Ranger

  14. Scott says:

    Some of the worst drivers are guys driving manuals . I drove stick for years and these autos are awesome . I average 7.8 miles a gallon . I don’t have too rev engine too drop gears and city driving is awesome . I bet most guys don’t have manuals in your personal vehicles .

  15. Chris says:

    I don’t know why we are not embracing this technology more. It’s more efficient and easier on the pocket when it come to repairs. Because Amt transmission operates more efficiently because it know more to get the most power out of one gear. Well consuming less gas. If I was a owner operator I would be inbraving this technology. Because it’s the future and will only get better over time.

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