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Ontario Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria officially opened the new $30 million inspection station near Thunder Bay, Ontario. Photo: @PrabSarkaria
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Ontario to review Truck driver training

“Comprehensive review of commercial driver training” announced with Bill 197

Ontario “plans to lead a comprehensive review of commercial driver training,” it announced on May 16th as part of the The Safer Roads and Communities Act, Bill 197. If passed, the legislation will impact road safety through increasing authorities granted to Transportation Enforcement Officers, and launch a review of commercial driver training.

Specific changes detailed in the announcement Backgrounder include:

Strengthening enforcement of commercial vehicle safety: Increase Ministry of Transportation Enforcement Officers’ (TEOs) auth.ority to deliver the Ministry’s commercial vehicle enforcement program. This includes permitting TEOs to exceed posted speed limits for enforcement purposes, requiring traffic to pull over for MTO enforcement vehicles when lights and signals are flashing, and enabling TEOs to seize fraudulent or suspended driver’s licences.

Reviewing commercial driver training: The government plans to lead a comprehensive review of commercial driver training to identify gaps and areas for improvement. The review will include holding provincewide stakeholder roundtables to seek industry and public feedback on measures to improve road safety.”

“These changes show important progress, and it is good to know that we have been heard,” says Travis McDougall of Truckers for Safer Highways (TFSH). The group has been calling for stricter enforcement measures and improved training standards since its formation.

Travis McDougall of Truckers for Safer Highways visits the Thunder Bay weigh scale. Photo: TSH

“From an enforcement point of view, giving more powers to the Officers out on the road will help. We are still hoping to see more of the Inspection Stations open, more often.”

McDougall says he and members of his organization are keen to be among the stakeholder groups consulted for the Truck driver training review.

“We hope to see the number of training hours doubled from the 103 training hours required now,” he points out, “and the creation of a mentorship program for new drivers.”

Both the additional training hours and a mentorship program would ameliorate one of the significant problems TFSH has identified, which is lack of training for winter driving conditions in a variety of terrains.

“TTSAO welcomes Bill 197. We is strongly support more enforcement and upgraded training. We hope a mentorship program will become part of legislation as it moves forward,” says Philip Fletcher, president of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario.

Click to view proposed legislation Bill 197