KRTS, Pearson Dunn voice support for automatic transmission option for road tests

Truck News

CALEDONIA, Ont. — KRTS Transportation Specialists and Pearson Dunn Insurance have thrown their support behind the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s decision to allow automatic transmissions as an option for Class A road tests.

KRTS, which operates multiple training facilities across the province, says it embraces the change, noting that, “Trucking companies that we do business with every day are requesting that the people we educate, be educated on automatic transmissions. We will continue to answer the needs of our customer,” said Kim Richardson, president of KRTS.

“We will continue to offer training on manual, multispeed transmissions so our clients will be able to competently operate a truck with either transmission, but the industry, our customer, has spoken and we need to listen.”

Lisa Arseneau of Pearson Dunn Insurance has called the move “a welcome initiative on a safety level. Enabling a commercial truck driver to operate their vehicle with an automatic transmission will lend itself to focusing their concentration on safety habits such as visual scanning, awareness of surroundings and safe manoeuvring without pulling that attention to shifting. From a claims perspective, I feel that it could also lessen truck roll back on upgrades as well, and provide for a less stressful working in cab environment.”

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  • Well of course Kim Richardson is in support of this! Learning to shift a manual transmission is part of the training program and if that segment is removed it makes it easier for his students to graduate! What a bonus for the truck driving schools of Ontario.

    I’m sure Ms.Areseau has documentation and/or experience to backup her statement regarding claims. (not)

    The long and short of it is, when a new driver learns on a truck equipped with an “automated” transmission that is all they are qualified to drive. It surely limits their value to an employer and it limits where they can go and ply their trade.

    Seems rather limiting to me.

  • Hi Mike,

    We will continue to train on multi speed transmissions. We know the importance on continuing to do so. We are adding an automatic to our line up because the industry has spoken. KRTS will continue to exceed the Provincial, National and North American standards set out for entry level truck drivers.


  • I can not agree more with your statements Michael. KRTS is a training facility who claims that they represent the trucking industries needs, I would love to hear who Kim

  • Hi CDS,

    The industry never spoke “to me”…..The carrier membrship of OTA drove this bus and encouraged MOT to offer Road Testing on Automatic transmissions for all the reasons mentioned before. Good legitimate well thought out reasons.
    Our goal and objective at KRTS will continue to ensure that the entry level driver receive the bulk of his training on the manual transmission and be introduced to the automatic so they know how to handle both. You will always have some less than reputable schools trying to take advantage of this situation.
    We don’t feel we fit into this category. Our over 2 decades of producing top notch grads for the trucking industry and solid reputation speaks for itself.
    Market will decide in long run and over time for the most part the manual transmission will be way of the doe doe bird.

  • ontario has finally caught up to alberta and the united states in offering
    training on automatic tractors,if there is a driver shortage,this will allow people to enter the field,and more people can be employed

  • What I read is that Kim and Lisa have expressed their opinions on how a change in our industry can have a positive affect moving forward for both our industry and their own allied trades. Good for them.
    Any change has its challenges but no one can define what the limits of that change are except each of us for ourselves.
    A newly licensed driver certified on an automatic can now step into a newly delivered truck equipped with an automatic, made by the any one of the largest truck manufacturers on the planet that has been purchased or financed by the best fleets in North America and he or she can continue to grow our industry in a positive, safe and economical light. That doesn’t sound like a limiting factor to me.
    But wait there’s more…if a company would like to have drivers trained on both transmissions or better yet have an auto certified driver take a course on a multi-speed manual in order to be more flexible company asset there is an option to do so at private driver training schools? Sounds good to me.
    Tell me again where the limits are?