Brampton West MPP wants to scrap crucial safety test for Ontario truckers

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Ontario PC MPP Amarjot Sandhu for Brampton West has introduced a private member’s bill that seeks to eliminate a mandatory, recurring written test on air brake systems for Ontario truckers in order to reduce “red tape.”

This is a written test on air brake systems that Ontario commercial truck drivers are currently required to take when they renew their license every five years.

Sandhu said his private member’s bill addresses concerns from the province’s trucking industry over what many drivers feel is an unnecessary hassle.

“Ontario is the only province where, when you renew your license you have to re-take that test,” he said. “It won’t save the government any money. It’s just the red tape.”

Sandhu said there is no empirical evidence that dropping the air brake system test would have any impact on public safety.

Sandhu is taking this approach at a time accident involving trucks driven by poorly trained drivers is under the radar. One in five accidents in Ontario involves trucks.

So crucial that, for nearly a half century, Gus Rahim, the President of the Ontario Truck Driving School said it’s been mandatory for Ontario truck drivers to compete a written test on air brake systems every five years, alongside separate tests on the rules of the road and road sign identification in order to renew their commercial truck drivers’ license.

In terms of deaths on Ontario highways, statistics from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation suggest that large commercial trucks seem to punch above their weight.

In 2016, commercial trucks accounted for only 15 per cent of all vehicles on Ontario highways, but were involved in 20 per cent of all highway fatalities.
The province’s strict safety regulations have given Ontario some of the safest highways in North America.

In 2016, “service brakes defective” is listed as the cause of only 228 crashes and resulted in one death, which is less than a fraction of a percent of the more than 391,554 crashes and 954 deaths reported on all Ontario roads that same year. -CINEWS

Comments: 3

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    1. The bill is to remove renewal test after every five year.This is not a safety test. this is a knowledge test which is not based on CCMTA’s guidelines or any best practices.

  1. Dear editor,

    The information given in the news is not correct as it is based more on opinion than facts.

    Ontario and Canada’s economic strength relies heavily on an efficient, safe, secure and sustainable freight transportation system. You’re aware that trucking companies have a shortage of about 20,000 drivers per year in Ontario, as per some statistics shared by experts. The situation gets worse when prevailing red-tapes put our trucking industry and drivers in a disadvantageous position. People working in the trucking and Cargo business are of the opinion that the trucking industry is mired in red tape and regulatory processes that often impede the ability to conduct business.

    Bill 142, Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Air Brake Endorsements), 2019, is an attempt to remove the re-test requirement for the Air Brake Endorsements in Trucking at the time of renewal of the license with the only exception in the cases where drivers allow their licensing to become expired for three years or more. This step is aiming at reducing red tape and hence should be objectively analyzed based on the following facts:-

    • Safety of people and highways remains paramount, however, the re-test requirement is not based on any CCMTA (Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators) National Safety Standard Code or best practices.

    • CCMTA has a mandate to provide advice and make recommendations on matters relating to transportation and highway safety, and it consists of a representative from each of Canada’s 14 provincial, federal and territorial governments.

    • CCMTA representatives are appointed from government departments, commissions, agencies or crown corporations responsible for the administration, regulation or control of transportation and highway safety.

    • The re-test requirement is not prevailing in other jurisdictions including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island.

    • No empirical evidence to suggest having no re-testing requirement for air-brake endorsement in other provinces has any adverse effect on the highway or road safety in those provinces due to air-brakes.

    • Such red-tape should certainly be removed especially when the drivers trained on Air-Brakes are not allowed to touch or adjust the Air-Brakes, even if it is needed.

    • Such red-tapes with time-intensive requirements keep vehicles off the road and prevents drivers from delivering their loads.

    • The impact of reduced trucks on the street due to such red tape imposed on the trucking industry, impacts truckers, and everyone else that work in the industry.

    • Fewer trucks on the street prevent retailers and others that rely on ground transportation from getting their deliveries on-time which in-turn affects consumer spending and the economy in Ontario.

    • This Bill requires drivers to take re-test in cases where drivers allow their licensing to become expired for three years or more.

    Without considering the given facts, it would not be possible to have an objective assessment of the bill, which would rather be based on certain presumptions and opinions than facts and empirical research.