Today's Trucking

Defend the driver, defend the operator

June 29, 2018

Operators may want to defend individual drivers — or even independent operators — against charges that can affect safety ratings. After all, if the driver pleads guilty, or plea bargains for a reduced fine, the demerit points will still count against the operator.


Skilled Trade? — Until trucking gets that moniker, we’re in trouble

June 18, 2018

The thing about proper training is that it makes the driving job legitimate, makes it seem like something worth doing. Our ability to attract new recruits will only increase if a strong training regime is in place. That’s how I wrapped up last month’s column — “Training? What Training?” — which garnered a lot of response. And a lot of agreement, especially on that point about legitimacy. If the job required serious training, graduates would think better of themselves, as would the public and the suits who govern how we do what we do.


Trump, Tariffs and Trucks: A trade war is bad for trucking

June 8, 2018

Apparently Americans see Canada as a security threat. It was surprising news, but there was U.S. President Donald Trump, invoking the role of national security when imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum. “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” […]


Drafting Through Disruption

June 8, 2018

The only thing certain in trucking is disruption. The massive shift in supply and demand caused by mandated electronic logging devices (ELDs) is a prime example of how one piece of legislation can wreak havoc on an entire sector. Unpredictability […]


The Cost of Distractions

June 1, 2018

Drivers who text or have other interactions with cellphones are eight times more likely to cause an accident. According to CAA, simply conversing on a mobile device — whether hands-free or hand-held — makes drivers four times more likely to be in a crash. And one in every four accidents is caused by people texting. According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, one person is injured in a distracted driving collision every half an hour.


They want our votes, but do they hear our voices?

May 29, 2018

It’s that time of year again – campaign season. Whether it’s provincial, federal, municipal, U.S. or various by-elections it seems that one way or another there’s always an election on somewhere, and as the weather heats up, so does the canvassing and the phone calls.


Training? What Training?

May 11, 2018

Fault has not yet been assigned in the stunningly horrible crash that stole the lives of 16 Humboldt Broncos hockey club members and, while I have ideas, I won’t engage in conjecture as to what went wrong on April 6. Inevitably the discussion has turned to driver training and the shameful fact that only Ontario has made it mandatory, though not until last year. The public is outraged, and I can’t blame them. Many driving instructors are also angry about the reality of inadequate training. They’re right to be critical. Hell, it wasn’t so long ago that you could take the road test for your Ontario class A licence with a pickup truck pulling a fifth-wheel horse trailer out back. Ludicrous.


It’s Our Fault

May 10, 2018

Like many of you, I was devastated when my two passions—hockey and trucking—collided tragically on April 7 outside of Tisdale, Sask. I was also embarrassed and angry. Embarrassed because the trucking industry I’ve defended at every dinner party for 35 years was somehow responsible for the senseless loss of 16 lives.


Are your contractors independent enough?

May 8, 2018

Independent contractor relationships are common in the trucking industry. They are particularly attractive in the case of owner-operators who supply a truck and driver to a carrier, or for sales agents who want to set their own schedule and be paid based on the sales they bring in.


Don’t Waste Time: Let’s learn the lessons of a different ELD mandate

May 3, 2018

At first glance, the Canadian Trucking Alliance seems to be getting ahead of itself in the call for a “graduated education” period before electronic logging devices (ELDs) are mandated. The federal government has yet to finalize such rules, or even decide if it will embrace an accelerated December 2019 deadline the alliance is championing. Other than Ontario, most provinces have been silent on the idea, too.


Mandatory training won’t fix everything, but it will help

May 2, 2018

The chorus calling for improved and mandatory training for truck drivers is growing louder as the days pass following the Humboldt, Sask. truck/bus crash. We still don’t know the official cause of that crash, or what role driver training — or the lack thereof — played in the incident. I’m not inclined to believe it was a primary factor. I think what is playing in most peoples’ minds is the driver’s reported lack of experience.


Honoring Humboldt: We must learn the lessons that emerge

April 13, 2018

The only thing we really know about the collision at the intersection of Saskatchewan highways 35 and 335 is the extent of the tragedy. Sixteen members of the Humboldt Broncos family, all too young, were lost in early April when a bus and truck collided. Thirteen more were injured. The scars, both physical and emotional, remain.


Everything is negotiable in ELD era

April 10, 2018

For years, I’ve been chuckling under my breath at transportation conferences whenever I hear shippers speak about how important it is to be “good business partners” with their carriers. Experience has shown me that once they walk off the stage, their actions tell another story. The “win-win” rhetoric gives way to “we win, you lose” when it comes time to work on a contract. That’s starting to change.


What’s the Rush? Are we moving too fast on autonomous vehicles?

April 10, 2018

Perspective is what prevents us from making lousy decisions and watching our stress levels rise as we try to cope with the fallout from those mistakes and misperceptions. Never before, I would argue, has perspective been as necessary as it is now. In life at large and certainly in this industry of ours.


Stress Test: It’s time to address mental health like we accept physical injuries

April 4, 2018

Stress is a reality in any workplace, and trucking is no exception. Any given day can be met with heavy traffic, the natural push and pull between shippers and dispatchers, and the looming threat of competitors who are more than willing to take freight off your hands.