The trucking industry in North America is far short of the number of professional drivers it needs to provide for the various needs of businesses. Yet despite this need, nothing is more important than ensuring that professional truck drivers have the skills to navigate big rigs safely. It is with this in mind that the Ontario Trucking Association applauded the provincial government for attempting to make entry- level training mandatory.
Steven Del Luca, Ontario's Minister of Transportation, recently announced that the province hopes to pass a bill that would require all Class A truck drivers who have just gotten into the profession to go through driver training.
"We are going to go forward with it," said Del Luca, according to the Toronto Star, referring to the training program. "We're going to move as quickly as we can but we want to make sure that we get it right."
He added that the sooner training can get started, the better off the industry will be. However, it's important not to rush into things, as this could compromise the quality of these courses. No matter how long it takes, the goal is to establish a system that further installs Ontario as having the safest roads in North America.
"[This] is a watershed moment for the trucking industry," said David Bradley, OTA president and CEO. "The key is mandatory entry-level training - to an industry developed standard - that must be completed before a prospective driver can take the license test."
Extra Training improves Experience
He added that while a Class A license may, by law, be an indication that drivers have passed the minimum standards needed to qualify as a professional truck driver, it does little to demonstrate just how safe of a driver they are. Making entry-level training mandatory will help trucking companies establish that the new drivers they hire have gone through additional training. The more experienced commercial drivers are, the more fully qualified they tend to be.
In October, the Ministry of Transportation introduced other legislation that may increase the incentive motorists need to avoid driving distracted. If passed, the proposed amendments to the Highway Traffic Act would raise fines for multitasking behind the wheel to between $300 and $1,000, the amount depending on the severity of the infraction. The current range is $60 to $500.