Upgrades to the MELT curriculum, a mentorship program for new graduates, and counterfeit Trucking credentials were all on the agenda TTSAO’s April meeting with Ontario’s Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.
Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) President Phil Fletcher says the agenda was packed but the discussions went well at the April 19th meeting.
“Most importantly, we discussed the concept of adding a ‘post-graduation’ mentorship program for new drivers,” Fletcher says. “We would need to co-ordinate it with the carriers hiring new graduates, and it could be designed specifically to target some of the real problems we are seeing with new drivers in Northern Ontario in winter.”
The fact that there are no winter driving elements in the MELT (minimum entry level training) curriculum needs to be addressed in the current MELT update, Fletcher notes.
Efforts to make Air Brake re-certification a virtual test are also in the planning stages, Fletcher says. “We also discussed having simulation hours count toward the Entry Level Training requirements, as we are learning how valuable simulation and virtual reality can be not just in driving but also under the hood, inside the truck and on pre-trip inspection training.”
One of the newest challenges TTSAO is facing is the fraudulent use of its logo on graduation certificates issued by schools who are not TTSAO members and do not meet its standards.
“This is something carriers really need to look at and confirm, that the school issuing the certificate is actually listed on our membership page,” Fletcher says. “Between this and the fake truck training schools currently in court facing charges for issuing false credentials, we wanted the Minister to be aware that these miscreant schools and these drivers are out there.”
An area with great potential is the development of a “Heavy G” license which would apply to the large pick-up trucks hauling trailers.
“Think of your landscape guy hauling a trailer with a Bobcat on it,” Fletcher explains. “He doesn’t need an AR license, but it’s more than a G. Insurance companies are noticing a lot more accidents with the large pick-ups, like a Ford-350 and a trailer…a ’Heavy G’ training program could cover that.”
“I think the Minister sees that we’re trying to help the industry improve. We recognize the number of challenges that present itself to the industry at the present time, and there have got to be solutions to the challenges. A challenge is just a problem that has not yet been overcome.”