Category Archives: Education

Fuel-Efficient Driver Training

The SmartDriver for Highway Trucking (SDHT) training program helps heavy‑duty
truck drivers improve their fuel efficiency by up to 35%. In addition to protecting
personal income and industry competitiveness, SDHT benefits include reduced
greenhouse gas emissions, less vehicle wear and tear, and increased safety.

SDHT 04-FactSheet #1_2018-01-10
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Truck Training is a Relationship

The TTSAO (Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario) had their 4th annual conference at the end of February with a lot of good information shared with attendees. There were new awards, many great discussions around truck training and how schools or carriers can work closely together. Check out the conference recap here.

A panel discussion led by Geoff Topping of Challenger Motor Freight and consisting on Leanne Quail of Paul Quail Transport, Matt Richardson of Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists Inc, Garth Pitzel of Bison Transport, and Philip Fletcher of Commercial Heavy Equipment Training talked about carrier and school relationships and how it affects students coming into the industry. One of the areas that I thought was interesting about the panel discussion was the fact that relationships between carrier, school, and student were extremely important in the success of a student becoming a professional driver.

Geoff-Topping

Schools are working closely with carriers and developing strong relationships because they understand that carriers are playing a major part in truck training even if they don’t provide it. I have always said to new drivers that their first point of contact should be with a carrier of choice to find out what type of training they require and if they work with certain schools. This allows a student to get training knowing they are able to be hired once they graduate from the school.

TTSAO-School-banner-2018

Good certified schools also understand that truck training is more than just passing a test and that training is a foundation for your whole career. Having that relationship with a carrier allows a school to prepare that student for the carrier style of operation so the student is successful at the end of the training.

Best-practices-panel

Carriers are investing in a student when they sign on and much of their orientation is focused on competency and skills training when a new driver starts with the fleet. The carrier’s job is to groom that driver once they have the basic skills and working with certain schools is offering that comfort that a new driver has been trained to certain standards. Although many carriers have formal mentor programs they know that mentorship and training happens best when it is a natural fit between the new driver and trainer. Many of us can remember our mentor or trainer when we got started hopefully as good memories. Carriers realize this and are focusing on soft skills and the customer service side of the improving a driver. Trust is a main factor in a relationship between a school, student, and carrier. Careers, safety, and the future depend on it.

TTSAO-carrierl-banner-2018

As a new student or driver it is important for you to spend time building that relationship with a school and a carrier. Go to events and meet the recruiters. Call carriers and find out which school they work with in your area and why. Talk to the schools about their training programs and which carriers they work with to evaluate what job types are available. Start that relationship before you even choose a training provider and it will help streamline the process of becoming a truck driver. Not only will that save you time, resources, and money, but will also fast track you into a quality carrier right from the start. If you need help getting started then www.ttsao.com is a good place to start.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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Philip Fletcher Awarded Volunteer of the year 2019 at TTSAO Conference

Philip Fletcher of CHET was awarded the Volunteer Award for the Year for his dedication to the TTSAO association. Congratulations to Philip for winning a well deserved award.

Philip-Fletcher
Congratulations Philip Fletcher

You can learn more about the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario at www.ttsao.com

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TTSAO 4th Annual Conference Recap

The TTSAO (Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario) just finished their fourth annual conference and I thought I would just give a recap on the conference.

It was really well done as a two day conference and started on the Wednesday, February 27th with a number of sessions with the Insurance Group, the Carrier Group, and then an annual general meeting followed by a cocktail hour which was well attended thanks to Revolution Staffing and Glenn Caldwell for presenting. The bulk of the presentations were on the Thursday and since I’ve been to a number of conferences I’m always wondering if there is going to be something new and I was pleasantly surprised with the TTSAO conference.

ttsao-conference-picture

Thursday morning started off with a continental breakfast and opening remarks with Kim Richardson and Ken Adams, who is the TTSAO Chairperson. Comments by the IHSA and the provincial government offered an update on where they are as far as Mandatory Entry Level Training and other issues with licencing.

Technology and transportation were the focus of this conference starting with a presentation by Kimberly Biback on social media and marketing business strategies. A best practices for training panel followed which was moderated by Geoff Topping of Challenger Motor Freight and included Matt Richardson of KRTS, Philip Fletcher of CHET, Garth Pitzel of Bison Transport, and Leanne Quail of Paul Quail Transport discussing what they do to help drivers once they complete training and how they help them be successful as professional truck drivers.

After a networking break, we heard from Kelly Henderson Broderick from THRSC Atlantic and she moderated a panel consisting of Stephen Laskowski from the OTA, Mike Millian from the PMTC, and Charlie Charalambous from the Fleet Safety Council discussing how associations work with different training schools, what to look for in an association, and why you want to be a part of these associations if you’re not already.

Philip Fletcher of CHET was awarded the Volunteer Award for the Year for his dedication to the TTSAO association. Congratulations to Philip for winning a well deserved award.

Philip-Fletcher

After a lunch break the new award of the year titled the “Instructor of the Year Award” was presented to Joe Teixeira from Rosedale Transport. Joe has been with Rosedale for 32 years and was so emotional he almost couldn’t speak as he accepted this well deserved award. Joe is a top notch instructor in the industry and it will be hard to follow him for future award winners. The Instructor of the Year Award was presented by TTSAO and Paybright.

Paybright-award

Andrea Morley of Healthy Trucker took the audience through some stretching and health information for drivers and people in the training industry followed by another networking break.

Andrea-Morley

A keynote presentation by Michael Thompson of ISB/ MEE was really an eye opener as to where things are going in the future for training, trucking, and for business in general. The conference wrapped up with some prizes and Brian Pattison of North American Truck Training won the early bird draw for the iPad.

I encourage you to join the TTSAO for not only the membership, but also for the next conference because there was a wealth of information presented and there’s going to be many changes in the training and transportation industry for the near future. You can learn more about the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario at www.ttsao.com

Check out the video above for an audio recap of the conference.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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TTSAO Kicks off 4th Annual Conference

The TTSAO (Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario) is kicking off their 4th annual conference today in Mississauga Ontario with a full agenda for two days taking truck training to new heights and informing the industry of developments in training. Last year even the general meeting had a full audience as people arrived and attended meetings by the various groups within TTSAO.

TTSAO-2019

The conference will begin today with a Board of Directors meeting at 10:30 am to welcome in the new board members and discuss issues with the change over. After lunch meetings with the insurance group and carrier groups will have open meetings discussing their goals and achievements for the year and which projects are in motion. Last year the Insurance Group had a panel discussion with questions from the audience on particular issues to do with insurance and the industry.

TTSAO December 11th Meeting

Once the two specialized groups complete their meetings there will be a general meeting for everyone to update members and those in attendance about the focus for the TTSAO for the upcoming year. The day will finish with a visit to the trade show area and a cocktail hour to close out the day.

Day two of the conference is where the real meat of the program lies with a full day of programming starting off with breakfast and opening remarks from the TTSAO President and Chairperson.

After welcome messages and updates the program moves into full swing starting off with a presentation from Kimberly Biback of Sharp Transportation on social media, a panel discussion on training issues, and a panel on how other associations work with TTSAO round out the morning with trade show breaks in between.

After lunch is when the newest development begins with the 1st ever Instructor of the Year Award being presented by PayBright and the TTSAO. This is the first time the award has been presented and will be awarded to an instructor that has shown professionalism in training and meets the criteria set out for the award. The instructor must be employed by a TTSAO school or associated carrier. You can learn more about the award here.

PayBright-logo

After the award ceremony there will be a health break with Healthy Trucker and Michael Thompson of ISB will offer a presentation on technology that helps determine where a student fits best in the industry. Closing remarks from the conference committee and president will round out the day and close the conference.

The conference has been sold out in past years and the membership grows each year. The conference has been well run in the past and is sure to be a hit again this year. If you were unable to make it this year watch for post coverage of the event at www.ttsao.com

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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What Type of Experience Do You Need as a New Driver?

A friend of mine graduated from a school with a new commercial drivers licence. He has completed training, did well on his test, and is now looking for a position with a company. He has been told by many carriers that he needs at least one year of experience before they will send him over the road to drive across the country. He has a couple of opportunities that would take a chance on hiring him, but he is not sure he is ready to go out on the highway. He says he prefers to stay close to home and has the opportunity to work at a local job picking up garbage for a local waste company. His dilemma is if he accepts the job at the waste company will that experience go towards having one year of driving experience? My answer is yes and no!

There is no right or wrong answer to the question of experience because much of it depends on the equipment, company, and type of work you are involved in. Let’s break it down so you can see how the experience will help or not help my friend.

Getting the job at the waste company will offer him some experience in the industry. He will be around equipment and will be conducting items like pre-trip inspections, city driving experience, and possibly offer advancement in the industry. What he will lack at the waste company depending on the equipment is the experience of driving a tractor trailer as much of the equipment in those types of operations is class “D” Straight truck equipment. He may not be gaining experience that will help him later transition to being an over the road highway driver. Once he moves to another job after a year he may be even more rusty because he hasn’t used those driving skills for a long time. After a year in a straight truck companies will still look at his experience as a new driver so he may not be so far ahead. He would need additional training.

Man driving tractor

If my friend was to go directly to work for someone that operates the type of equipment he was trained on such as a tractor trailer he would be gaining the experience for the equipment he was trained on. He could find a local company if that’s what he chooses and that would be a great way to gather experience for the open road. He would have more options after that year because he would have verifiable experience on over the road equipment.

It is important to gain experience directly after your training for that training to be engraved in your mind and become something that is routine. There are many licenced drivers that have never turned a wheel because they have decided to go in another career direction after training. They may be licenced but they aren’t experienced and are effectively at the starting point again. I am a firm believer in a step type of program for new drivers but it is important that program includes the type of equipment they were trained on. Look for experience in your trained type of equipment and it will work towards that experience marker.

TTSAO-carrierl-banner-2018

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for truck drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit

www.ttsao.com

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TTSAO Conference Best Practices for Training Panel

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, February 6th, 2019 – Hamilton, ON:

The Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario (TTSAO) is pleased to announce the selected panelists for the Best Practices for Training Panel session taking place at the upcoming 4th Annual conference taking place at the Centre for Health and Safety Innovation in Mississauga on February 27th and 28th, 2019.

Geoff Topping, Vice President of Human Resources at Challenger Motor Freight has agreed to moderate the panel consisting of two TTSAO Carrier Members and two TTSAO Full Membered schools. Included on this panel are:

  • Garth Pitzel, Director, Safety and Driver Development at Bison Transport 
  • Leanne Quail, Operations Manager for Paul Quail Transport 
  • Matt Richardson, Sales and Operations Managers at Kim Richardson Transportation Specialists
  • Philip Fletcher, Operations Manager, Commercial Heavy Equipment Training 

Gerald Carroll, TTSAO Conference Committee Chair, says “What a great opportunity to have all of these industry experts together to share their thoughts on what they believe to be the best practices for training. With Geoff Topping as the moderator, this is sure to be a must-see panel at our annual conference” 

The conference is once again laid out in a two-day format; day one will include a TTSAO Board of Directors’ Meeting (Directors only) followed an open TTSAO Insurance Group Meeting, an open TTSAO Carrier Group Meeting and then the Association’s Annual General Meeting which is open to all members and those who are thinking of joining. 

After the General Meeting, there will be a cocktail party and registrants will be able to visit companies and sponsors who are participating in the trade show. 

A full day of exciting presentations and panels will take place on Day 2. 

Once again Guy Broderick, TTSAO Carrier Group Chairperson and Driver Training Supervisor for Apps Transport, has agreed to serve as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.

The conference registration form, agenda, sponsorship details and more information are available at

TTSAO.com.

For more information regarding this press release contact:

Charlie Charalambous – Director of Communications and Public Relations, TTSAO – ccharalambous@isbc.ca

or (905) 699 – 8837

Kim Richardson – Chairman, TTSAO – KRTS office – 1-800-771-8171 x 201 or cell – 905-512-0254 or by email at kim@ttsao.com

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Are You Being Too Social?

Are companies watching what you say on social media?

Recently a question was asked on a social media platform from a driver trying to get hired on by carriers and was wondering if he would be monitored on social media. Apparently he didn’t watch what he said much of the time and was active on many platforms such as Facebook. He found many of the carriers he talked with frowned on him being such an open book on social media and he wondered if they actually watch their employees? The answer to his question is “Yes” they do watch your account but maybe not in the way that you think. Social media is both good and bad depending on how you use it.

I don’t think I know anyone without a social media foot print except one older gentleman in my building. Anyone under the age of 80 has been forced onto social media either for business, to keep up with the Grand kids, or to book a vacation. There is almost no getting around it now and even though many of the platforms seem to be focused on personal communication and connecting with friends they are almost all designed to appeal to business owners and companies. Any platform that grows an audience will attract marketers and advertisers in order to promote their products.

Many young people use social media as a way to talk to each other on a regular basis and that has opened up another market for businesses in the way that they can now get a better feeling for the type of people employed on a team and whether that person fits in the company culture. That can also be good and bad. We have all heard the horror stories of someone that uploaded that party video on the internet when they were a teenager and had it come back to haunt them later in life when being promoted in their career. There are a few politicians that come to mind and we all know about the latest election issues with Facebook.

How do companies monitor your accounts?

There are a few ways carriers or employers can monitor your accounts. The first one is the basic search someone may do when beginning a job reference check. They put your name in the big Google machine and see what shows up. They will most likely flip through a few social media accounts to see if you fit the company profile.

The second way they monitor accounts is through special programs that watch for their name and how it is used on the internet. This is very similar to a hashtag in a program like Twitter where everyone using that hashtag will view the content into one place. The account holder gets notification whenever their name is used and can review the post.

The third way is sharing and direct monitoring and this is possibly the most popular way of finding a post. Someone posts on social media and it gets shared by those connected to you. You never know who is connected to who and all it takes is one share to your network and the post is alive forever. Even if you delete the post at a later date the content may have already been shared, viewed, and possibly saved by someone.

It could go like this; you share a post, I share the post but also download a copy or save it somehow. You delete it later, but I still have a copy. If I’m your employer then this may be the evidence I need to let you go. Hopefully that won’t happen but it proves you need to be careful what you put on social media even if no one is commenting, they may still be watching. A good general rule is that if you wouldn’t say something in public then you may want to keep it off social media.

TTSAO-carrierl-banner-2018

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit

www.ttsao.com

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The Humboldt Tragedy Shows Us Why You Want to Work for a Good Carrier

The Humboldt Tragedy Shows Us Why You Want to Work for a Good Carrier

Many new people coming into the industry are often looking for a fast way to make money quickly. That is understandable as many have been out of work, paying for training, or have other commitments and will often take the first job that is offered to them. In other industries such as manufacturing or office work choosing a job that is not a fit for you won’t impact your safety or the safety of others. In the trucking industry signing on with the wrong carrier may be a life or death decision and that is why professionals in the industry are always urging students to their homework.

depressed-person

The largest example of this is the Humboldt tragedy that has impacted so many lives from the families that lost loved ones to the driver that made many mistakes and now has to live with the factors of that tragic day his whole life. The case is currently scheduled for sentencing but jail time will happen in some form. This driver had only been on the road for three weeks working for a carrier that only had two trucks and a shaky business history. Items from poor inspection procedures, to not following the law, to lack of training were all contributing factors in this crash. Had this driver had more training and done his homework to find a more compliant carrier to work for then this incident may never have occurred. This is why it is important to investigate the carriers you plan to work for and ensure you are going to work for a company that believes in being safe and compliant on the road.

What does a safe compliant carrier look like?

ttsao-truck-

Carriers like clothes come in all different types and sizes. If you went into a store and asked the clerk for a jacket they would guide you to shelves and shelves of jackets and ask you to choose one. How would you know which one is good without knowing your preferred brand, style, or trying the jacket on. It’s the same process for looking for a carrier. If you just go to a job fair and say I am looking for a carrier you will see a whole room of them, now what? Only by understanding the location, the cargo type, and other criteria can you begin to focus your efforts on certain carriers.

The second part of your carrier search after the basic criteria of where they operate, home time, and other basic factors is the safety aspect. You want to look at things like ongoing training, vehicle maintenance, and compliance in the industry. If a company won’t talk about those issues then you should run as fast as you can because it may be unsafe for you to work there.

The driver of the Humboldt tragedy is in his thirties. He worked for the company for three weeks before the crash. The company was found to have a number of compliance issues and has been fined and taken out of business. The driver is facing at least ten years in jail and will live with with his forever possibly never driving again. Don’t shortcut your training or the process of looking for the right carrier to work for, your life and the lives of others depend on it!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit

www.TTSAO.com

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What does it take to be a good truck driving instructor?

Time have changed since the old days of trucking where your friend or neighbour that owned or had access to a truck could jump in and teach you to drive on the back roads. The days are gone where you could travel the roadways watching your Dad shift gears and interact with other people in the industry and have it be part of your DNA when you got older knowing that you were going to drive those big rigs. That was the way many truck drivers used to learn to drive and many of them are at the top of the industry today. Things have changed from the 70s and 80s and it is a different industry and different world today.

Class photo

Today to become a driver in the industry you have to complete a course of a certain amount of hours, pay thousands of dollars for training, and keep yourself trained with various regulations throughout your career. This is due to the increased incidents on our highways, changes to the type of driver coming into the industry, and changes in the industry due to technology and safety. Those changes happened many years ago but it created another problem as to how qualified the instructor was teaching the new person entering the industry.

In the past we have had instructors of different types and styles. Some more qualified than others and some much more caring. There have been stories of instructors with two years of experience or less becoming instructors. There have been stories of instructors talking on the phone doing business for their school not paying attention to the student on the road. There have been reports of instructors teaching someone a certain route so that they pass the test but not showing them true driving techniques. So what makes a good instructor?

When I learned to drive back in the 80s I was part of the first group. I learned off friends that were drivers in a sort of informal school that trained on just what I needed at the time. There were less regulations back then so all of my training was specifically on driving techniques and not log books and other issues. I learned on equipment with real loads on the roads of the day. I was on a graduated system of learning starting with smaller trucks before driving larger vehicles and working the city before operating on the highways. Many of my colleagues believe this was the best way to learn to drive a truck and developing a person into a professional driver.

Nominate Your Instructor for the
PayBright /TTSAO -Instructor of the Year Award

Instructor Nomination Form (Rev.02)

In my opinion a good instructor is someone that is passionate about making our industry better. They have the experience and qualifications to teach someone properly and have the people skills to ensure they have learned the proper techniques to give them a good start on a new career in the transportation industry. Most of the good instructors I know in the industry also have had good careers as professional drivers in the industry themselves. Being a good instructor starts with caring and being a leader in the industry as a driver. If looking a school for your next career ask some questions about the instructors teaching the courses. It will make a difference in your career, it did for me.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for truck drivers. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com

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