Today's Trucking
opinions

Plenty of talk, little action on driver training

March 13, 2019 by John Smith

Man, I am so fed up with the utterly endless discussions about driver training in this country. I’ve heard the mostly empty chatter for 40 years now, with precious little to show for all the wear and tear on my […]

opinions

National driver training standard will be a positive step

March 13, 2019 by John Smith

It was great news to see Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau and his provincial cohorts promise a national training standard for entry-level truck drivers by next year. Raising the bar for driver skills and professionalism can only help the industry […]

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Ontario’s mandatory driver training continues to evolve

February 28, 2019 by John Smith

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – About 10,500 would-be truck drivers have passed through Ontario’s mandatory entry-level training (MELT) program, but the province’s transportation ministry is still learning lessons along the way.

opinions

Success of truck driver training standards will depend on the details

February 6, 2019 by John Smith

Canada’s transportation and highway safety ministers promise to develop a national training standard for entry-level truck drivers no later than January 2020. Success will depend on the details.

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National truck driver training standard is in the works, but will it be mandatory?

January 22, 2019 by John Smith

MONTREAL, Que. – Canada’s federal government is committing to introduce a national truck driver training standard by January 2020, but it will still be up to individual provinces and territories to decide whether that training is mandatory.

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Trucking’s Newsmakers of 2018

December 29, 2018 by John Smith

TORONTO, Ont. – A new year is on the horizon. Given that, we thought it was a good time to choose the trucking industry’s Top 10 Newsmakers of 2018.

opinions

Humboldt’s Legacy: The lessons truck drivers will learn

December 10, 2018 by John Smith

Few events have shaken Canada’s trucking industry more than last spring’s crash between a truck and Humboldt Broncos bus near Armley, Sask. Families were left to mourn 16 dead and support the 13 wounded. The charges against Adesh Deol Trucking and its driver are now making their way through the courts. But there are already signs that this collision will have a lasting legacy – especially as provinces look to refine the skills of those behind the wheel.

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Alberta to mandate driver training

July 11, 2018 by John Smith

CALGARY, Alta. – Alberta has been discussing the idea of mandatory entry-level driver training since 2016, but it was ultimately the fatal crash of a truck and team bus that accelerated plans to require such training by January 2019.

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Drivers ‘deserve to be trained’, says BC widow calling for nation-wide standards

May 7, 2018 by elizabeth

FALKLAND, B.C. – Pattie Babij is on a mission to make new driver training mandatory nation-wide.

It’s been a difficult year for Babij. A little more than 12 months ago her husband Steve was driving his truck near Revelstoke, B.C. when another semi crossed the median and hit him head on – neither he nor the couple’s dog Zak survived the crash.

To add to the grief, she’s being forced to sell her dairy farm because she’s unable to run it without her husband’s help.

opinions

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

May 2, 2018 by John Smith

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.

opinions

Mind the Paper Trail: Track driver files or face the consequences

February 9, 2018 by John Smith

Kevin James Hickson has built a career on delivering metal. It began with local deliveries and a pickup truck before a co-worker told him about the job opening for someone with a Class AZ licence. All it took was training […]

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SPECIAL REPORT: The early days of mandatory training

August 18, 2017 by John Smith

TORONTO, ON — Darryl Robitaille belongs to a rare graduating class, one of the first future truck drivers to study under Ontario’s new Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) regime. That means he had to complete at least 103.5 hours of approved training before the Ontario Ministry of Transportation would allow him to take the road test for an AZ licence to drive tractor-trailers.

He failed on the first attempt.

“The road test I did fine on,” says the resident of Caledonia, Ontario, referring to actions like steering and backing. His challenge was with new questions linked to pre-trip inspections. “I was extremely nervous,” Robitaille adds. This despite the fact that he personally completed a 200-hour training program, well above the mandated minimum introduced on July 1. But with a little extra studying he passed the test on his second attempt. Now he is looking to secure his first job behind the wheel.

Robitaille can take comfort in knowing he wasn’t alone.

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Ontario driver training schools warned

August 9, 2017 by John Smith

TORONTO, ON – Ontario’s private career colleges have received a stern warning from the ministry that oversees them, after complaints that some schools are trying to bypass newly introduced mandatory training for commercial drivers.
The Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) program was introduced by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation on July 1, and sets a minimum of 103.5 hours of training for anyone looking to earn a Class A licence. It’s the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce such a standard.
In a memo obtained by Today’s Trucking, the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development says it has heard some schools may not be complying with approved training programs and conditions. The issue includes programs designed to upgrade BZ or DZ licence holders to AZ licences, or simple hourly lessons.

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Syrian driver in waiting: “I don’t want to be idle”

July 7, 2017 by John Smith

TORONTO, ON — Truck driver Ahmad Al Rasoul knew it was time to leave Syria the day the bedroom where his two-year-old son Joseph was sleeping got destroyed by a bomb. Miraculously, young Joseph remained unscathed, albeit covered in ashes. Rasoul, 46 at the time, and his wife Rasmia Al Mekhlef, had four other children and lived in Homs, a community badly wracked by the Syrian civil war. You’ve probably seen the skeletal remains of Homs buildings on the news. Since he got his licence at 22, Rasoul had been a truck driver and loves the work. But he’s still waiting to apply his skills in Ontario.

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Driver exam crush ahead of mandatory training

May 10, 2017 by John Smith

TORONTO, ON — An increasing number of would-be truck drivers are lining up for licensing tests at Ontario DriveTest centers as the province approaches a July 1 deadline to introduce Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT).

The number of appointments has increased since the beginning of 2017 and was up 20% last March when compared to the same month in 2016, an Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesman confirms.

The surge was not unexpected, either. Extra examiners were trained, and more classified test slots had been allocated to respond to an increase in demand.