Canada wants distracted driver training in MELT programs

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“The majority of fleets in Canada have distracted driver training and monitoring policies in place,” says CTA president Stephen Laskowski.

TORONTO, Ont. – Training to combat distracted driving is set to become part of Canada’s plans for mandatory entry-level driver training (MELT).

The commitment to introduce a national driver training standard was unveiled following a fatal truck crash involving a bus carrying members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, killing 16.

The federal government released a request for proposal this week specifically to develop a distracted driving training module, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) reports.

“Distracted driving is a growing problem on our roadways and risks the safety of every type of driver,” said alliance president Stephen Laskowski.

“The majority of fleets in Canada have distracted driver training and monitoring policies in place to mitigate the negative effects of distracted driving. However, this development will provide the provinces with a potential distracted driver MELT module that would ensure all new entrants coming into our sector understand the safety consequences of distracted driving behavior.”

The government says its goal with this project is to develop training material that would help address driver distractions and offer guidelines to help fleet managers mitigate the issue.


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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking,, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • Well I’ve sent comments about this to the MTO during their comment period when they were planning the MELT program.
    While I agree with driver training, this isn’t going to help at all. They think there is a driver shortage now? What will happen now when new drivers have to pay 8 to 10 thousand to go to school just so they can start a low income job? Not to mention aging A drivers that want to retire from the road can no longer just drop to a D license without having to start over. All that I know are just leaving the industry now.

    Then there is the fact I can’t train my own kid any more. And I’m more qualified than ANY instructor at the local school.
    Not to mention a friend of mine is an instructor at one of Canada’s biggest schools. He told me he has had students he failed because they had no hope of driving trucks…..and Unemployment Insurance has stepped in and MADE the school pass them.

    I feel if anything, new drivers should be sent out with experienced drivers with clean records in a type of apprenticeship program.
    They will learn a lot more in real world training then what these schools teach.

    And also, the MTO driver trainers should actually DO THEIR JOB and give new applicants a real road test. Doesn’t take a scientist to determine if someone can pass a driving test or not.

    • Quote:
      “What will happen now when new drivers have to pay 8 to 10 thousand to go to school just so they can start a low income job” .

      Tax payers are footing the bill …………… You can also extend your unemployment insurance while taking the course . As long as you qualify ,you’re set with very little personal out of pocket expenses ,under $200 .

      Some decide it’s not for them after taking the course . Some abuse by taking the course simply to extend their unemployment insurance .

      That adds up to a huge waste in tax dollars .

      “I feel if anything, new drivers should be sent out with experienced drivers with clean records in a type of apprenticeship program.”

      Many companies do this either as a team and or the student follows the instructor in a separate truck .

      In fact when I first started as a truck driver I followed my trainer in a separate truck . I first began by hauling cars . This is one of the most difficult and demanding jobs in the trucking industry . You need to be agile like a monkey to climb the trailer , slim , and very meticulous .

      My trainer taught me how to cheat a log book perfectly . Experienced drivers also develop bad habits . Even though he was one of the best in the trade he certainly wasn’t without flaws .

      If you’re reasonable you’ll cheat within your capacity to do so . You don’t put yourself or another in harms way . However , the truth of the matter is when you cheat you’re actually cheating yourself .

      During my training my trainer experienced two collisions . One was his fault , the other not .

      I had zero collisions as a new driver and zero damages on the vehicles I would place and haul . He had many .

      Keep in mind that car haulers are among the truck drivers that have the least amount of collisions . That’s quite a score.

      All I did was learn and analyze . I came to the conclusion that the industry was corrupt , flawed , and exploited drivers .

      I decided to go into trucking from the bottom to experience it from a driver’s perspective . I’m a market speculator and since transportation is a leading barometer I thought it would be interesting to experience it right at the bottom . What an unfortunate can of worms I discovered it is . Even the trucks are poorly designed . Fuel haulers are at the greatest risk and grossly underpaid for the risks they take .

      Anyways , it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance . I would hope that we could eventually exchange ideas . This industry needs to be reorganized and the only way it could truly improve is through drivers uniting as one .

      With drivers collective experience and knowledge this industry could truly become a force to be reckoned with by drivers for drivers . Then to eventually expand throughout different sectors and industries . The slave could truly be the pioneer and leader . But drivers need to wake up and come together through a co-op .

      Drivers see it all , know it all and have eyes all over the place . They know first hand if freight is increasing at so and so Co. before Wall Street even gets a whiff. That my friend is legal insider info that can be used profitably by drivers for drivers .

      Drivers need to wake up and come together rather than find cause to divide . It’s time to wake up in the 21st century and LEAD !

      Just imagine as an example if drivers unite and collectively decide that they will only drive a truck if it has xx brand of tires ? That would increase demand for xx tire brand and drive up the share price . And due to that decision it would also drive down the share price in other truck tire brands due to a decrease in demand . You go long one while simultaneously shorting the other(s) USING LEVERAGE ! Then you buy out xx brand tire manufacturer at a cheap price . Now the truck driver co-op owns a truck tire manufacturer for pennies on the dollar that nobody can compete with .

      NOBODY and no law can force truck drivers to buy a certain brand of tire . But drivers can collectively decide to do so in an attempt to obtain the best price per unit based on volume !

      Time to wake up truck drivers ! Drivers are slaves because they are asleep at the helm !

      Now what would be the effect on insurance rates ? Your mortgage rates ? Financing rates ?Truck stops , fuel ? etc etc etc

      Heck why not have the co-op start its own bank and insurance subsidiary ?

      Stop allowing yourselves to be pushed around into slavery . Wake up and take the bull by the horns !

      Drivers need to put their differences aside and UNITE !

      Be clever !

      In my humble opinion …………….

  • MELT is a bottom of the barrel, low training standard that will make Canadian highways more dangerous. You do not learn to drive a 63,500 kg unit in 30 training hours, that are shared with two other students.

  • John-I was a victim of distracted driving and have lost 6 years of living,not to mention physical and mental trauma. The Goverment Provincial and Federal are so slow to react to our vehicular challenges. Commercial driver upgrades should have been implimented 40 years ago,as I was involved in Commercial training in BC. and no change since 1971? I do understand “politics” but human life does matter? – John Wihksen,Vancouver.

  • Who will teach this in MELT? Melt is melted already.
    First we should have some qualification standards for Instructors and drive test examiners.

  • While I can endorse distracted driver training as part of the MELT program I believe that this training whether as an online or compulsory classroom program should be required of any new driver, and should be required before obtaining a car driving licence. Distracted driving is not a problem limited to just new professional drivers, but to all drivers. The courses could be tailored just as defensive driving and PDIC courses are now.

    Maybe the CTA should advocate for better training for all drivers, not just those of us who make a living behind the wheel.