Truck drivers must get the proper training before they hit the road
As I gaze fondly at how so many things were more simple decades ago, I shake my head at where we are today.
That said, I am heartened by the odd glimmer of sanity that emerges in spite of the cluttered, contaminated world we now live in. Yes, we must keep in mind that life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward.
The glimmer of good from the horrific accident that claimed nearly the entire Humboldt Bronco’s hockey team and its supporting staff has spurred a long overdue outrage over the terribly lax system for training and testing drivers of heavy hauling trucks.
When I was on highway patrol nearly 4 decades ago, such accidents were extremely rare. Vehicle checks seldom revealed any driver or equipment problems. Larger companies had their own ghost cars monitoring their drivers and by and large speed governors, log books and such were straight up. Drivers were courteous and often the first to lend a hand if our situation required it.
I recently interviewed a driver who has a 1A licence. His insight into today’s unnecessary mess was most interesting. He took his training in Saskatoon and his trainer pulled no punches in advising him that he was not ready to hit the road until he had 3 weeks of training. Safety checks, hooking and unhooking trailers, backing into loading docks and city driving were all mandatory.
When he looked at a career driving for a large trucking firm, he found out that he would have to train all over again using testing and even simulator training. He would be checked by a seasoned driver. He would progress to larger and heavier loads over a lengthy period of time. He also commented that in this day of technology, every driver can record his safety checks on his phone, for review by his employer. Logs, stops, speed, location and such could all be easily monitored the same way. Contriving bottom feeders with untrained drivers and junk equipment, keeping multiple logs should be eliminated
The buck passing between provinces and the federal Liberals. must end immediately. All of the aforementioned modern processes could easily be mandatory Canada wide. Especially since the demand for more drivers is steadily increasing. unbelievable that he could legally operate anywhere in North America!
Market Place hidden cameras recently revealed that their undercover driver trainee, did 16 hours of training and a 45 minute provincial road test in Saskatchewan before being legally licensed as a Class1 commercial driver.
When he underwent a skill testing challenge in Ontario where the minimum is 103 hours of instruction, he failed almost every challenge; including properly connecting a trailer and backing into a loading dock.
I know of an instance where a truck needing emergency repairs was put up on a hoist and the mechanic saw a hole cut in the cab floor.
Human waste was sprayed down its undercarriage. The occupants were not even stopping to use a bathroom. I have personally witnessed three truck occupants racing into an eating establishment near a highway, having a quick potty break, doing a quick wash in the sinks, filling their water bottles and racing away without buying a single item. The same types of threesomes often consist of one properly licensed driver who is supposed to be monitoring the other two with learner’s licences.
When their mentor is sleeping the overworked, exhausted learners are on their own. This inevitable, unscrupulous carnage must be halted and must have serious consequences.