New Ontario truck drivers to receive mandatory training by KENYON WALLACEN and MARY ORMSBY

Aspiring truckers in Ontario will soon be required to hit the books before hitting the road.

On Tuesday, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca unveiled new mandatory entry-level training standards for future tractor trailer drivers who, by next summer, will be required to study at provincially licensed schools. Previously, no formal instruction was necessary before student drivers could take their road tests.

Now, would-be truckers must spend more than 100 hours in training — in the classroom and behind the wheel — before they can book their test.

“With the introduction of mandatory entry-level training, we are making sure that commercial truck drivers are properly trained before they are tested and allowed to drive on our roads,” Del Duca told reporters at a DriveTest Centre in Brampton. “We are making sure that trucking standards are kept high and that Ontario continues to lead in the commercial truck driving space.”

The new standards, developed in consultation with the trucking industry, come after a Star investigation that found anyone could obtain a Class A licence — needed to drive tractor-trailers and commercial trucks — without any formal or mandatory training. The Star revealed that this lack of required driver education had allowed the growth of dozens of unregulated truck training schools across the GTA that teach just enough for students to pass the road test.

These schools, known as “licensing mills” by trucking industry insiders, evade government detection by charging students just under $1,000 — the price threshold the province set for regulated courses at private career colleges and other schools. Now that the province will require all schools providing training to be licensed — and use provincially approved curriculum — these cut-rate schools will essentially be put out of business, said Del Duca.

The minister said road and knowledge tests will also be beefed-up to reflect the new training standards.

When tractor-trailers crash, the results can be devastating. Last Friday night, three big rigs were among 11 vehicles involved in a fiery collision on Highway 400 near Sheppard Ave. Four people were killed, including three from the same family.

Transport ministry statistics show that in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, large trucks were involved in 105 deaths, accounting for 22 per cent of all road fatalities in Ontario.

The new mandatory course will be a minimum of 103.5 hours, including time spent in the classroom, in the yard and behind the wheel. Truck training schools now have one year to study the new standards and develop curriculum for provincial approval.

The new standards come into effect on July 1, 2017.

Truck training insiders told the Star courses are likely to cost between $5,000 and $6,000, but prices have not yet been set.

David Bradley, CEO of the Ontario Trucking Association, hailed the new standards as “a game changer.”

“Ontario is leading the way in terms of further improving highway safety and helping the industry to ensure it has an adequate supply of consistently trained, quality new drivers in the future,” said Bradley, whose organization helped lead the development of the new standards with the province.

“The mere fact that a new driver holds a Class-A licence has not been indicative of the competency level of that driver. That’s been a concern of the industry for some time.”

Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, which represents companies that use large truck fleets, said the new standards will help to raise the profile of the truck-driving profession.

“The standard will also go a long way in removing the unqualified licensing mill training schools from our industry,” said Millian, who has worked as a driver, instructor and fleet manager over his 26 years in the industry.

The changes, however, weren’t embraced by all in the truck training business.

John Beaudry, owner of Transport Training Centres of Canada, said it was “absurd” that Del Duca settled on 103.5 hours of mandatory entry-level education when the current standard offered by private career colleges like Beaudry’s is 200 hours.

“We don’t have enough training hours as it is,” said Beaudry, adding his 20 locations across Ontario train between 2,500 and 3,500 students annually.

“There’s a 200-hour standard and we need every single minute of that devoted to delivering our best (instruction) in order to produce quality drivers. . . To cut it in half, it’s not going to be good.”

Naeem Cheema, owner of Pine Valley Driving Academy in Etobicoke, said that while he is pleased the government is attempting to ensure some basic level of training, he is “surprised” schools weren’t mandated to provide air-brake training, needed to operate a tractor-trailer. The new rules make the inclusion of air-brake training optional in the curriculum.

“It should be mandatory because drivers need to feel how air brakes are different from hydraulic brakes,” said Cheema.

He said approved schools will probably just offer air-brake training as an add-on course. Tractor-trailer drivers need both a Class-A licence and a “Z” air brake endorsement.

The Star’s investigation also found that Class-A licence seekers taking their road tests at the now-closed truck-testing facility in Woodbridge were not being tested on major expressways, despite the close proximity of the test centre to Highways 427 and 407. (The Woodbridge facility closed in April 2015 when the building’s lease expired.)

The new standards state that road tests must include an expressway portion, or in areas where none are available, an alternative such as a highway with a speed limit of at least 80 km/h can be used.

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ATA raises concerns with US speed limiter proposal bu TruckNews

ARLINGTON, Va. – The American Trucking Associations (ATA), a proponent of legislation requiring heavy trucks to be speed-limited, has told the US Department of Transportation it will not endorse the proposed rule as written.

ATA president and CEO Chris Spear said in a statement that while ATA has promoted a policy on truck speed limits for a decade, the industry has concerns about the current proposal.

“Despite ATA’s decade-old, pro-safety policy on speed, the new joint rulemaking from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Administration proposes a menu of three speed options for commercial trucks, not one,” Spear said.

“It provides insufficient data, and fails to make a recommendation regarding which of the three proposed speeds it believes is best and why. Most disconcerting is the fact that DOT’s new rulemaking does not address the differentials in speed that would exist between any of the three proposed national speed limits for trucks and the speed laws of multiple states – allowing passenger vehicles to travel at much higher speeds than commercial trucks. This lack of data and direction only elevates the safety risks to the motoring public. A mandate for a one-size-fits-all speed limiter will squelch innovation in technologies to enhance safety and accommodate not only highways, but potentially secondary roads and beyond.”

The ATA has already requested another 30 days be granted for public comments.

“ATA will then prepare its formal comments, fully illustrating the flaws of this proposed rulemaking, which we will not support as currently drafted,” Spear said.

Diesel prices tick upward in most recent week by Matt Cole, on


Diesel prices across the U.S.  rose during the week ending Oct. 3, according to the Department of Energy’s weekly report.

The price of a gallon of on-highway diesel rose by seven-tenths of a cent, regaining the decrease from the previous week. The U.S.’ average price for fuel is now $2.389 per gallon nationwide.

The nation’s most expensive diesel can be found in California at $2.766 per gallon, followed by the West Coast less California region at $2.524 per gallon.

The cheapest fuel can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.25 per gallon, followed by the Lower Atlantic region at $2.327 per gallon.

Average prices in other regions, according to the DOE, are:

  • New England – $2.414
  • Central Atlantic – $2.486
  • Midwest – $2.356
  • Rocky Mountain – $2.467

ProMiles’ numbers during the same week show diesel prices rising by six-tenths of a penny to $2.355 per gallon nationwide.

According to ProMiles’ Fuel Surcharge Index, the most expensive diesel can be found in California at $2.732 per gallon, and the cheapest can be found in the Gulf Coast region at $2.25 per gallon.

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Truck market worse than anticipated, but demand should return in 2018 by James Menzies on

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – It’s been a tougher year for new truck sales than Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) predicted, but he said Daimler is dulling the pain by growing its market share.

Daimler’s share of the Canadian Classes 6-8 market is 39.9% year to date through August, up 4.3% this year, Daum said during a trucking press roundtable at the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition. The overall truck market, however, remains soft. Demand from Canada has shrunk 24%, worse than the overall North American market which is down 15% compared to last year.

Total NAFTA Classes 6-8 volumes are on pace to reach 360,000 units this year, down from 424,000 units last year and 384,000 in 2014.

“We were much more optimistic about 2016 12 months ago than we are today,” Daum admitted.

Class 8 truck demand in the US and Canada is on pace to reach 210,000 units. Daum said a further decline is expected early next year but that demand should pick up by mid-2017 and a brighter outlook will return in 2018.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Daum said, noting that by 2018 there’ll be a large population of four- and five-year-old trucks needing replacement. Daum said the new Freightliner Cascadia will provide the industry’s best fuel economy and provide the platform Daimler needs to maintain its approximate 40% market share.

But despite enjoying record market share, Daum wasn’t easy on himself when assessing the company’s performance over the past year. Several 2016 goals received yellow check marks because he wasn’t yet fully satisfied with how the company has done. One of these is customer service. Daum said Daimler has an internal target to get trucks back on the road within 72 hours and to provide the customer with an assessment within two hours of the truck arriving at the dealership. Progress towards this goal has been made; the company now gets 71% of repairs done within 72 hours – up from 65% a year ago. Daum said Daimler is on pace to hit 75% this year but he wants to see nearly 100% of repairs done within this timeframe.

This is being achieved through Freightliner’s Elite Support certification program, which sets higher performance standards for dealers. The company is also supporting this effort by opening new parts distribution centres to ensure parts are delivered quickly. The most recent to come online is in Dallas and more are scheduled to open soon.

Daum also gave DTNA a yellow check mark for “completing the integration puzzle.” He said adoption of the new Detroit DD5 engine has been slower than hoped, with 500 engines sold this year. Detroit has a production capacity of 18,000 engines but Daum said the market isn’t always eager to embrace a new player.

“Whoever wants to enter the North American market with a new engine should know it isn’t that easy,” he said, presumably a reference to Volkswagen’s plans to provide powertrains to Navistar.

Asked for further reaction to Daimler’s European rival’s impending arrival in the North American market, Daum said only “We take every single competitor seriously. This changes absolutely nothing. We never underestimate any competitor and we never overestimate any competitor.”

Daum was upbeat about the progress DTNA has made with connectivity, where he vowed to continue being a leader. “Connectivity is today,” he said. “Connectivity will have a direct impact on everyone’s business.”

He said Daimler’s work in regards to connectivity has exceeded his expectations.

As he always does during what has become an annual press roundtable, Daum laid out goals for the year ahead. These included: a seamless launch of the new Cascadia; the launch of “unexpected killer apps” to enhance connectivity; using service as a differentiator; building trust in the Detroit medium-duty engine; successfully managing the market cycle; and staying far ahead of the competition.

One of the immediate challenges will be to manage the second round of greenhouse gas regulations to be phased in between 2021 and 2027. Daum referred to the impending rules as “challenging but achievable,” adding the EPA and NHTSA provided the flexibility and time needed to boost fuel economy of its tractors by 25% and engines by 5%.

DriveCam program being enhanced, says Lytx on

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Lytx DriveCam video telematics safety program will see some enhancements to help streamline workflow, capture more unsafe driving and ease tracking for fleet managers, the company said Oct. 2 during the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition.

Two new video capture triggers with DriveCam include a rolling stop detection and roll stability.

Fleets can configure how they want the triggers to work, whether they want rolling stops to be acceptable or require the need for their drivers to come to a full stop.

Brandon Nixon, chairman and CEO of Lytx, also touted the company’s ActiveVision service, which detects driver behavior, and the launch of a new video-without-limits Unisyn platform as huge successes for Lytx.

Unisyn offers instant access to always-on video, is highly configurable and has a future-forward friendly environment.

“Video is the single richest source of information you can have, bar none, but it is very difficult to extract the information,” said Nixon.

The DriveCam platform combines video capture of road incidents, analysis of those incidents and personalized coaching insights to improve driver behavior. Video is attained by a recorder mounted on the windscreen of the vehicle and is packed with sensors that can detect more than 70 driving behaviors.

Lytx is also working on a new workspace portal for its customers.

“Our objective for the new DriveCam enterprise workspace is to improve efficiency for anyone who relies on DriveCam data to do their job,” said Nixon. “We’re using the power of our analytics engine to prioritize tasks, generate new visual representations of driver safety performance scores to facilitate better coaching discussions and help coaches more easily identify drivers who’ve earned positive recognition.”

Lytx said more than 600,000 commercial and government fleet drivers use the DriveCam program.

DriveCam enhancements are expected to be released throughout 2017.


Vigillo and J.J. Keller partner to improve driver safety by Truck West on

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Vigillo and J.J. Keller and Associates have partnered to create the Prescriptive Analytics Solution to identify unsafe behavior in drivers and appropriate training.

Training will be provided by J.J. Keller, which is a provider of truck driver training solutions, with data being collected by Vigillo for the solution, using information the company collects from over 500,000 drivers to diagnose behavior that may lead to unsafe operations.

“Identifying training opportunities, then deploying a training solution virtually in real time, is just another example of taking the power of data and turning it into actionable solutions,” said Steven Bryan, CEO of Vigillo. “We are thrilled to be working with J. J. Keller on this innovative use of our technology.”

During the American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas Oct. 2, Vigillo outlined what it called the four Es – enforcement, employment, education and engineering – as providing a wealth of information in the data collection process.

“If you add all this stuff up, we could be looking at somewhere around a billion observations a year,” said Steven Bryan, CEO of Vigillo, of the amount of data that is available. “The real power is the database behind this.”

Rustin Keller, executive vice-president and COO of J.J. Keller, said the partnership taps into each of the companies’ strengths, which would help improve driver safety.

A new law for the tow truck in Ontario by Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Ontario is changing their requirement to go through the province, this change concerns tow trucks in Ontario. Effective January 1, 2017, each tow truck will now need to have a valid CVOR certificate when they are in Ontario. This new law applies for all tow truck; a commercial motor vehicle with a flatbed that can tilt to load and that is used exclusively to tow or transport other motor vehicules; and a motor vehicle that is designed, modified, configured or equipped so that it is capable of towing other motor vehicles.

If the companies don’t have the CVOR certificate he could receive a fine up to 20,000 $. We can help you to have all the requirements for the change of the new law. Give us a call at 1-800-361-5757 and we will make sure you are all legal to go in Ontario or anywhere else.

Of course this certificate need time to be processed it will take about 4 to 6 weeks to obtain the CVOR and to be sure everything is respecting the law. The drivers or the owner may have to pass the CVOR written test exam. So companies need to start the process as soon as possible to avoid the fine and to respect the law.

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Canadian rates rose slightly in July: CGFI by Truck News on

TORONTO, Ont. – Canadian ground transportation rates increased by just 0.15% in July, according to the latest Canadian General Freight Index.

The base rate was almost flat, up just 0.06% from June. Average fuel surcharges increased, comprising 12.44% of the base rate in July compared to 12.19% in June.

“Overall, total freight costs continued to be flat over the past few months. This is a similar pattern to the same period in the previous year, although overall costs are down by 7.7% from last July,” said Doug Payne, president and COO of Nulogx. “Year-over-year, domestic freight costs are above last year’s level, while the cross-border segments are below last year’s costs.”

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Food hauler seeks 30-minute break exemption by Matt Cole on

Another trucking company has asked that some of its drivers be waived of the 30-minute rest break requirement in federal hours of service regulations.

Transco Inc. recently applied for an exemption with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, asking for drivers in its grocery and other food-related divisions to be exempt from the requirement, which calls for drivers to take a 30-minute break within their first eight hours of drive time.

Transco asked FMCSA to allow its drivers to count time performing on-duty, non-driving tasks toward the 30-minute break requirement. Transco, which operates through McLane Company, has distribution centers across the country, employing between 100 and 300 drivers each.

The exemption request states McLane’s drivers provide just-in-time deliveries to convenience stores, mass merchants and various restaurants. Transco says its drivers are different than normal long-haul truckers, as they stop nine times a day and return to a distribution center after each load. They are required to offload their grocery loads themselves and the deliveries break up driving time with physical activity.

FMCSA upholds 30-minute break rule following CVSA request to nix it from hours regs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration earlier this month denied a petition made by North American truck inspectors asking the agency to rescind the 30-minute …

Transco says with the nature of its drivers’ work, they are already taking multiple driving breaks per day that include physical exercise and contends that the 30-minute break encourages the drivers to stop physical activity. The company says it already uses on-board visual monitoring systems, automatic on-board recording devices, driver training, weekly safety inspections, full compliance assessments and periodic safety committee meetings to ensure its drivers’ safety.

The exemption request states McLane’s drivers provide just-in-time deliveries to convenience stores, mass merchants and various restaurants. Transco says its drivers are different than normal long-haul truckers, as they stop nine times a day and return to a distribution center after each load, they are required to offload their grocery loads themselves and the deliveries break up driving time with physical activity.

FMCSA is seeking public comment on the exemption request, which can be made by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2016-0244 at once it’s published in the Federal RegisterSept. 28.

Tanker group petitions DOT about California meal, rest break requirements for hazmat carriers

The National Tank Truck Carriers says California’s rules, which entitles drivers to paid 30-minute meal break periods after five and 10 hours of work, prohibits …


Food hauler seeks 30-minute break exemption

Driver wages overtake fuel as carriers’ most costly expense in 2015 by James Jaillet on

Per-mile operational costs for motor carriers in 2015 dropped by more than a dime, according to data released Sept. 27 by the American Transportation Research Institute.

The average marginal costs per mile for the carriers surveyed by ATRI was $1.593 a mile, down 11 cents from 2014’s average of $1.703 a mile. ATRI bases its findings on surveys of motor carrier costs, conducted this year. The carriers surveyed account for more than 107,000 power units across applications and regions. ATRI compiles the data for its annualOperational Costs of Trucking report.

For the first time since ATRI began compiling the annual report, fuel was not carriers’ top expense. Drops in spending on fuel offset increases in other aspect of carriers’ operations in 2015, like driver wages and benefits, per the 2016-issued report.

Here’s where costs shrunk in 2015

The decline in average carrier costs stems almost exclusively from cheaper per-mile fuel costs — 40.3 cents as mile in 2015, compared to 58.3 cents per mile in 2014.

The average price for a gallon of diesel fuel tumbled in 2015, starting the year at over $3.10 a gallon and ending up at just $2.24 a gallon.

Vehicle automation to dramatically change trucking landscape in the coming decades, forecaster says

“The last major change we had was deregulation,” he said. “And it had only a fraction of the power of this one. It eliminated almost …

For the first time since ATRI first published its annual report, fuel spending was not carriers’ most expensive per-mile line item. Driver wages took the crown in 2015. (More on that below.)

Other per-mile line items to see decreases in 2015 include repair and maintenance costs (down to 15.6 cents a mile from 15.8 cents); tire costs, down to 4.3 cents a mile from 2014’s 4.4 cents; and toll costs, which dropped to 2 cents a mile, down three-tenths of a cent from 2014’s average.

Per-mile averages for spending on permits and licensing was unchanged — 1.9 cents a mile.

Here’s where costs climbed in 2015

Driver wages put upward pressure on carriers’ per-mile costs, climbing to 49.9 cents a mile in 2015 from 46.2 cents a mile in 2014 and outpacing driver wages as the most costly per-mile expense incurred by carriers.

Driver benefits costs also rose, moving to 13.1 cents a mile, a 2-cent increase.

Capacity crisis, rate boom likely in the coming year, experts say

The regulatory swath barreling toward the trucking industry — highlighted by electronic logging devices and greenhouse gas emissions standards — combined with likely increases in …

Spending on insurance premiums climbed to 9.2 cents a mile from 2014’s 7.1 cents a mile. Lastly, carrier spending rose on truck purchase and lease payments, up 1.5 cents to 23 cents a mile.

By sector and region

Costs for truckload carriers fell 8 cents from 2014 to $1.50 a mile in 2015 — the lowest of the per-mile costs calculated by ATRI. Specialized carriers’ costs dropped 6 cents to $1.79 a mile. LTL carriers saw a major dip, 13 cents, to $1.60 a mile.

Carriers operating in the West saw the lowest per-mile costs in 2015, $1.480 a mile, while carriers in the Northeast incurred the highest costs, $2.331 a mile. Carriers in the Midwest and Southwest saw similar average costs, $1.782 a mile and $1.773 a mile, respectively.

Carriers operating in the Southeast spent $1.670 a mile, the second lowest on a regional basis.