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Transport crashes prompt call for better driver training

By Randy Thoms Mar 22, 2023 | 3:20 PM

Courtesy Ontario Provincial Police - Northwest Region/Facebook, January 2023

There are renewed calls to improve the training of transport drivers.

It follows several crashes last week involving transports, many in northwestern Ontario.

Travis McDougall, a truck driver and founder of the group Truckers for Safer Highways, says the quality of training is insufficient.

“Many carriers, and this is not all, but many carriers, do not provide additional training to new employees before sending them over the road. If they do, it’s often insufficient to ensure the driver is properly prepared to do the job safely,” says McDougall.

McDougall says drivers are getting frustrated with the reputation their industry is gaining because of the rise in fatal collisions.

Northern Ontario MPPs also connect the accidents to the level of training drivers receive.

Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Lise Vaugeois doesn’t think training programs are inspected enough.

“Sometimes a trucking company owns its own school. So there’s a conflict of interest there from the get-go. The government needs to be either really monitoring what is going on or perhaps requiring that those functions be separated,” says Vaugeois.

A recent W5 report found Ontario had just eight inspectors overseeing more than eighty training schools and programs operating in the province.

Vaugeois doesn’t blame the drivers.

“I’ve also heard from drivers who are pressured to keep driving no matter the conditions unless the roads are actually closed sometimes, then they are the reason that the road becomes closed,” says Vaugois.

NDP House Leader John Vanthof says he drives 100,000 kilometres within his Timiskaming-Cochrane riding.

He feels there are very good truck driving schools in the province, but it isn’t universal.

“And that’s where the government can play a role to make sure that the regulation of the schools, that the regulation of the truckers, that all the trucks on the road are safe and the drivers are safe drivers,” says Vanthof.

He adds a vast majority of truckers are conscientious, but some don’t understand that they’re driving 40-ton missiles.


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