Truck trainers, insurers call for mandatory entry-level training

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TORONTO, Ont. – The truck insurance industry and Ontario training schools have joined the call for mandatory entry-level driver training standards in Ontario.

The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) and insurers including Northbridge Insurance, The Guarantee Company of North America, Old Republic Insurance of Canada and Zurich Canada have all penned letters in support of an Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) position that would require entry-level commercial drivers to complete mandatory entry-level training. This, said OTA, would help truck driving achieve recognition as a skilled occupation.

The OTA said it recently brought the issue to the attention of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“There appears to be some traction gaining in certain provinces. While that’s a good sign, there is still a very long road ahead and major hurdles persist, which is why the training and insurance industries joining OTA on this issue is an important step,” says OTA president David Bradley. “The good news is that at the very least a dialogue is now underway.”

Northbridge Insurance, in its letter, said mandatory entry-level training would bring “much deserved respect to truck driving as a valued and skilled occupational skilled trade” and a “necessary step to ensure qualified men and women are behind the wheel of Canada’s distribution network.”

Old Republic wrote that “Mandatory entry-level training standards will provide that needed benchmark to ensure those licensed to drive commercial trucks have the necessary skills to help them safely navigate Canada’s roadways. Our company believes strongly that mandatory entry level training standards must be implemented.”

Added The Guarantee Company of North America: “Currently years of experience and driver vehicle abstracts are the only benchmarking criteria for determining driver’s qualifications. There currently isn’t any criteria in place to obtain a heavy commercial licence or ensure that a safety standard is maintained in the critical first three years of licensing. Having a program such as mandatory entry level training will create and maintain a culture of safe driving behaviour and increased driver confidence.”

Zurich added: “We believe that establishing a qualification standard will ensure that driving a commercial vehicle is recognized as a profession and an important career, rekindling the deserved respect for the profession while also making our roads even safer.”

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  • I am not condoning a graduated system be put in place. However, ther are so many different types of commercial vehicles. It would seem that within the A,Band D classes, there are distinct types within each class.e.g.Aclass-basic van,A&B train, tanker, livestock etc.. Bclass-citybus, articulated, school, wheelchair assist etc. Dclass-tanker, redimix,flatdeck with crane,several applications of garbage trucks etc.
    Each type of equipment has recognizeable differences with varying cargo and cargo containment and handling parameters that are vastly different in vastly different on-road and off-road conditions. There is a lot of training and certificationrequirements that a prospective professional in this industry will not learn hopefully without death or injury being one of the elements of the ” learning experienc “. However, nobody wants to take the reins and legistlate the varying requirements of the many various types of equipment being used today. It may be expensive to implement initially and it may even require government subsidy in the school college or corporate level to jump start.
    In the meantime, the commercial operator on todays roads is in a constant state of risk that could be significantly reduced if the current and next generations of drivers were specifically trained and certified ( like a forklift or bobcat operator ) before they were turned loose and end up mishandling a situation that they were not given the tools to handle. It is time drivers were all specifically trained and certified. This will reduce risk, liabilities etc. and enable the operator to assess a potential predicament and not negatively impact the lives and enviroment around them.

  • This is just more regulation and more hoops,then we wonder why there is a driver shortage? I’ve seen boys off the farm who can drive safer and with more respect for equipment than some of the cowboys who come out of driver schools.
    We know who is going to pay for this. It won’t be the big training schools, it won’t be the insurance industry, it will be the kid trying to “buy” a job by borrowing money to get an AZ designation stuck on his pocket license.
    How do you train somebody to work 13 hours without rest? How do you train somebody to work 70 hour weeks? How do you train them to wizz in a coke bottle? Or train them to get back to work for another 13 hours on 3 or 4 hours sleep?

  • The only one here that makes any sense is Mike Wright.

    To Joseph:

    I will tell you that from my experience it is the 30 year vetrans that are the most difficult to train on new technologies, new regulations and to rid of bad habits from the days of tachs, slipsheets and sheer complacency. The aging driving population often need and don’t wear corrective lenses, has underlying health conditions and in many cases both are left unchecked creating a hazard on the road. Don’t come back with some isht about the Medical and eye test, even someone that isn’t wearing the correct prescription or one at all can and do pass. You cannot dispute the data collected by insurance companies on accident preventability and risk management and if you think the OTA is simply a pencil puching entity you are sadly mis-informed. If you have input write it out and submit it, they are very willing to listen to all input to get the best and most effective results to keep our roads safe.

    Now that I have the segway into keeping the roads safe this is to Keepleft:

    You are an obvious danger to the roads and seriously uninformed on the rules. I suggest you go back to your safety department and get a refresher on hours of service which have built in times to permit a rest period in the course of the shift (which is longer than 13 hours – that’s the max hours to drive in CDA). Additionally, as a single driver you can use the split sleeper berth option which would allow a newly trained driver to break into a more comfortable driving schedule. Lastly, if your “wizzing” in a coke bottle you must have exceptional aim, perhaps you missed your calling as a marksman instead of a truck driver.

    I beleive that is it important to have a set standard that the new drivers coming into the field have been trained on, instead of the company having to foot the bill for the additional cost of training these drivers are already paying for the course, why not give them all the tools necessary to be sucessful? What drivers seem to forget is these extra costs for training and hand holding of new drivers takes money out of a company budget and reduces productivity. It also places more of it’s own assets and driving force at risk when a new driver is in a daily training truck or set up as a team. If you don’t beleive me next time you are in your company you be the guy who offers up to take that newly out of school driver that has not received any extra or standardized training from Ontario through to BC as a full team run, we will see who gets the most sleep.

  • Nis, has a point on bad driving habits of older drivers, as a retired driver trainer, I’ve seen this when a driver came “back to school’ to take a refresher course to take their ‘re-test” at age 65. None of them could even “start” to do a pre trip, & once out on the road, SCARY” doesn’t even start to cover what they needed,no downshifting when coming to intersection to make a left turn,forgot to look in mirrors before lane change, no 4 ways while backing up or horn, & didn’t get out to check out surroundings, speeding, & on & on it went & when confronted with mistakes “Don’t tell me how to drive I’ve been driving for 30+ yrs” Not saying all “older” drivers are like this but many are!!!! Pete

  • Andrew…

    How do you expect the good training schools to lower the cost of training? What one pays is in direct relation to the quality of training they get. The current issues are arising because individuals decide to purchase training based on price rather then value. You can get AZ training for $975-$1500 to pass the test but these individuals are no where near ready to hit the road because they have not been trained properly, and have only been taught how to pass the test. Cheap training schools have unprofessional instructors, low standards, tired equipment and produce dangerous drivers. The schools that have the more expensive programs $6000-$10,000 is because the quality of training these individuals are receiving is second to none. They are trained by professional instructors (making some where between $17-$22/hour), on decent equipment, with comfortable classrooms and are provided all the knowledge required to have a successful career in the industry. Although you may think this training schools are making boat loads of money because the cost of training is so high, trust me when I tell you that the margins are very small. The issue is not the schools who are charging “to much” its the schools who are offering training at a minimal price and providing minimal training.

  • Mandatory driver training standards is a good start, next step is similar to all the other trades, drivers have to retest whenever they renew their driver’s license.

    As far a experience training for new drivers, every training facility must put a driver through a driving simulator to expedite and enhance their experience level, which we know can only come from years of experience.

    Who is going to pay for training? It will come from industry, who should be paying the carriers properly so that they can afford an apprenticeship program.

    Any effort at all to expand driver training / experience will be a benefit to our “trade” and help get the respect back into it.

  • Keepleft’s comments make me wonder if he is really involved in the trucking industry. I drove one kind of truck or another from the sixties to 2009 with long hauling the last 30 years. I learned a lot,what I thought I knew when I started long hauling had to be revised many times when I got to work for good companies and “The Good Old Days” were replaced by good time management and common sense.
    I was an OTR coach and one of the few who actually was certified for in cab coaching I think this should be mandatory for all OTR coaches (yes we are coaches the trainers work in the schools). Learning to be a long haul driver does not happen overnight its more like training for a marathon it takes time and patience to build up to the miles and the lifestyle.
    It takes a lot of time management and self discipline to get the rest needed.I have seen Billy Bigrigger OTR trainers put a new driver behind the wheel and tell them they have to run 11 hrs their first time or they will NEVER be a long hauler. I used to tell my New Drivers that it was like training for a marathon they just had to do a little more each day.
    Also if we pay attention to the regs we NEVER have to pee in a bottle unless the driver is too fat/lazy to get out of the truck. Time management was my biggest asset. If I had to do a 500 mile run for Monday morning I left |Sunday noon got there did y 10 hour rest and was ready to go when I was unloaded Monday, some times you can’t sleep at the customers but you can usually get close. Learning to carry food and water in the truck is a priority saves money and time and is a safety feature if you get snowed in or broke down.

  • to bad the us doesnt establish entry level standards 90% of these guys could drive a triscycle around the block 2 wk training and ur shoved out the door with a trainer thats only been in a truck for oh prb 3 months not even trainer material and curtiousy not even close

  • everybody needs a chance to make a career if it is trucking thats thier choice. i have been driving since the late sixties and had 2 speeding tickets in my years of driving. todays drivers are not drivers they are steering wheel holders ,companys have gone to auto shift transmissions because they dont know how to shift, had a grauate apply for a job once came out of school took him for a drive and he didnt make it a mile and i told him you do not preselect my trasmission. i have over a million miles on a transmission and never had a problem.also the 105 limit is a big saftey issue ,they get bunched up 4 or 5 and run about 20 feet apart when the first guy screws up we close the highway or they sit side by side and have traffic backed up for the next 15 kms. also when you get to toronto they like to sit in the left lanes and run 95k and give you the finger when you pass theem on the right which i dont like doing, but the speed limit is 100 so i try to maintian that,as for tonoto traffic the mto should take down the signs no trucks in left lane and change it to all truck use left lane , i cross toronto every week and the jam ups are cars trying to exit but they cant because there it 2 or 3 trucks 20 feet apart blocking their exit now we come to a stop and start situation this starts at milton in the am and same sitution going west in the pm .we dont need more roads we just need to educate people nt just truck drivers but car drivers also, the goverment should mandate all phone companys that thephone has a app that if it move more than 5 ft per second it shuts the phone off this will put an end to all this texting and people will pay attion to their driving, hell i could go on and on mabye i should write a book on does and dont but that would be a waste of my time as everybody has their own mind and 1/2 of them you cant teach them anything because they are set in thier ways already have a good day everyone