Windsor

Mandatory training for transport truck drivers set for Ontario

The provincial government wants to introduce mandatory training for all new transport truck drivers by July 2017.
On June 16, the Ontario Provincial Police ran an education initiative, to remind truckers to drive safely. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

The provincial government wants to introduce mandatory training for all new transport truck drivers by July 2017.

The Ministry of Transportation says it's working with trucking industry groups to develop a mandatory entry-level training program for prospective transport truck drivers before they take their road test.

Under the proposed changes to the Highway Traffic Act, drivers would need to complete this training before taking the Class A drivers' knowledge and road tests.

The news appears to be welcome In Windsor, Ont., where trucks coming off the Ambassador Bridge are a common sight on the roads.

"I'm not going to get on a plane where the pilot has minimal qualifications and is inexperienced," said Brandon Harris, a instructor at the Ontario Truck Driving School.

"We shouldn't be putting unqualified drivers behind the wheel of a truck ... We need to put qualified people behind the truck," he said.

Wheel separation, other issues on the rise

Ttractor-trailer safety is an issue in Ontario, the government said. For example, the number of reported wheel assembly separations has increased between 2010 in 2014.

In 2010 there were 47 cases, in 2014 there were 148. Last year there were 84 reported incidents between January and November.

Another issue in Windsor is roundabout safety. Before the Herb Gray Parkway opened last July, there were several traffic incidents. In April there were three accidents at the same roundabout within a 10-day stretch.

Harris said the mandatory training should help with that issue.

"You've really got to be on the ball when you're entering and exiting highways and roundabouts," he said.

Unclear how much training would cost

A Ministry of Transportation spokesman told CBC News that road safety is the province's "number one priority."

"The introduction of mandatory training, in addition to the knowledge and road tests, is designed to ensure that commercial truck drivers are properly trained before they are tested," spokesman Bob Nichols wrote in an email to CBC News.

Under the proposal, all trainers will be provincially registered before offering courses.

It currently costs about $8,000 to take a private registered training course, the ministry says. It's unclear how much the new mandatory course will cost or how long it will take to complete.

Current Class A driver's licence holders will not have to retake the training course.

The public can comment on the proposal until April 7.

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