Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Photo: IBC

It’s time to act on reports, Truckers say

Ontario has all the studies it needs to take action: TFSH

Ontario has all the studies it needs to make decisions about improving Trucking industry safety, says Truckers for Safer Highways (TFSH).

“We appreciate the work that has gone into all of the studies. Now, it is time to act,” says TFSH co-founder Travis McDougall.

When the Insurance Bureau of Canada launched its report “Commercial Trucking: Insurance and Education” on April 9, MacDougall was one of several industry members who believed the report had zeroed in precisely on several of the most pressing problems the Trucking industry faces.

“Improved enforcement, better oversight of Truck training schools and a more rigorous MELT program are three items we have been calling for over the past several years,” McDougall points out.

TFSH highlights three items the IBC has noted as noted as areas of concern for the Trucking industry in Canada. Image: TFSH/IBC report

In fact, the IBC mentioned specifically the need for the Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT) curriculum to add winter driving components to Truck driver training. Experienced professional drivers like McDougall and TFSH co-founder Jeff Orr consider it outrageous that commercial trucker drivers brand new to Canada can be allowed to experience snow for the very first time when they drive through it in Northern Ontario.

“Entry-level training programs in Canada are not designed to fully prepare drivers for operating heavy trucks in all conditions. Entry-level programs are intended to provide exposure to the industry and basic skills to pass the Class 1 test. They do not cover the full range of competencies required of drivers which means that graduating drivers do not yet have the full set of skills required to be road ready,” says the  report, which was researched and prepared by MNP for IBC.

“Winter driving conditions are a significant risk factor, particularly in Western Canada. Winter weather can give rise to dangerous driving conditions that increase the risk of accidents. This challenge is particularly acute in the western provinces, with interviewees noting that such weather can be a major cause of accidents in these regions. Inclement weather, combined with other factors such as time constraints or driver inexperience with Canadian winter driving conditions, compounds the risk of accidents.”

Travis McDougall of Truckers for Safer Highways says “The amount of collisions and commercial vehicles off the road should be embarrassing to us all.”

“We want to the thank the IBC for this well-researched study, and we believe there is now more than enough evidence to demonstrate the gaps that are seriously impacting safety in Ontario and across Canada,” says McDougall. “There have been several studies on rest areas across the country, as well as studies in reference to highway safety and drivers’ feelings about these things.

“Now we have a study released by the IBC saying that enforcement is insufficient, stronger oversight is needed for the training schools and that the MELT program across the country has and is failing to properly prepare drivers to be skilled operators. It is time for government to act.”

“Canada’s trucking sector is critical to the success of our economy, transporting over 90% of all food, consumer goods and materials to consumers across the country,” Celyeste Power, President and CEO of IBC said in the April 9th press release.

“The property and casualty insurance industry is working closely with the trucking sector to find solutions to some of the challenges it currently faces, including driver shortages and access to adequate training and risk management.

“This third-party report echoes many of the recommendations that our industry has put forward and we encourage governments across the country to use this report as a call to action to update and improve training and enforcement standards.”