Category Archives: Truck Driver Articles

Are You in Business or Not?

Driver Inc as it’s called is all over the news as the Canada Revenue Service (CRA) promises to crackdown on those businesses using the self employed status to avoid paying taxes when working for someone such as another owner operator or company. The practice has been around a long time and has gone through many names such as “Driver Service” “Driver Inc” and the like. Apparently the issue came up at a recent trucking conference that had members of the CRA involved and the issue began to spread like wildfire. I have been talking about this for years in my business classes so it is important to understand the issue.

What is Driver Inc?

The name is not relevant because many companies use terms like ‘Driver Service” or a company could name themselves “Driver Inc” and be legitimate. The real issue is in the relationship between the driver and the company. The practice goes like this, a driver is hired by another operator or company and told they will be an independent contractor. The driver sets themselves up as a company on paper by incorporating and goes to work for the carrier. They avoid paying taxes by writing off expenses such as their vehicle to and from work, meals, and many other items entitled for write-offs by business owners. The issue is that they are only working for one person or carrier. You are operating as a business without really being in business. This is a common practice for carriers that are avoiding paying income tax and payroll taxes for employees.

This is a very grey area because many business owners have been doing it for a long time especially owner operators that have more than one truck under their personal fleet. I have seen in the past where an owner had up to fifteen trucks and all the drivers were operating in that manner. When questioned about it he mentioned he had been audited with no problems by the CRA. His books may have been in order but if those drivers had been audited they would have been found to be in violation if they had not operating in the proper manner.

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Is it legal to set up your own driver service?

Going into business can be a very rewarding experience and something that many people will try during their lifetime, but it has to be done properly. There are no shortcuts in business and the penalties can be very steep for those that choose to work outside of the law. There are many issues to keep in mind when setting up a business, too many to talk about in one article but there are a couple easy ways to know if you are in business properly in the eyes of the CRA. I used to tell my students to worry about three things. Can you prove you have more than one customer that you work with? I always suggest at least three clients. Do you provide the tools for the job or are they supplied for you? Do you decide when you go to work and have the right to refuse work if you choose? Are your business expenses legitimate to do the work or To gain future work? If you would like to check out the actual requirements for the CRA click the link to view the pdf document outlining the requirements. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/cra-arc/formspubs/pub/rc4110/rc4110-18e.pdf

It is legal to set yourself up in business if done properly with legitimate clients and work, but it is much more than just incorporating a name. Drivers are an easy target for these types of situations because it is enticing to be in business and it affords more money in your pocket. In the long run however the driver takes on all the liability and is paying taxes that an employer should be paying. If starting a business do your homework on the requirements and do it properly, you’ll be glad you did!

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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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The Benefits of Hiring a Driver with Military Background

Talk to any recruiter about the importance of finding the right candidate for their team and you will get a whole list of reasons why this is important. Company culture, technical aspects of the job, and independent decision making are all aspects that many team members need to be successful at their jobs. Finding the candidate with all of those qualities requires recruiting personnel to either have a crystal ball or be able to read minds. I know a lot of good recruiters but none with crystal balls or that read minds. There is however ways to help you choose the right team members using past history or experience.

Usually when recruiting personnel are looking into past experience or history of an applicant they are looking for the basics such as training for the job, negatives in performance, and any risky behaviour. How many are looking deeper? How many are looking for that past experience that may be beneficial for the job?

Being a professional truck driver requires a person that can take on knowledge in many different areas, have quick decision making capabilities, and has an eye for safety. Add the mechanical aspect of the job and the day to day issues that all drivers face and you need to find not only a capable person but a superhero. People who have been in the military may just offer that type of experience.

Military-Trucks

In the past I have had those types of people in my classes. I had a driver that was just beginning his career in trucking. He had been in the military but hadn’t driven vehicles as large as a tractor trailer. He went through the training with flying colours because he was used to following instructions. When he was introduced to the dangerous goods part of the course he was a master. It turns out he had been a dangerous goods instructor in the army. In fact his first carrier hired him to help existing employees with their dangerous goods training.

This is a benefit that may not have been discussed prior depending on the recruiting styles and process of the carrier. There are other reasons to look for someone with military experience for your team. Military personnel much like truck drivers are trained in many aspects outside of their normal role in areas such as time management, note taking, dangerous goods, communications, and other items that make driving a successful career. With the security issues we now have on a daily basis who else could be more beneficial to a team than someone experienced in looking for bad people. Many have experience with mechanical items as in basic training you are expected to take a rifle apart and put it back together. Military personnel are used to conducting inspections on equipment and looking for delays or problem-solving.

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If you are looking for new members for your team then you may want to find someone with military training. It may be the closest thing you have to crystal ball. Speaking of veterans I would like to take a moment to thank those serving in the Military past or present with warm felt thank you for your bravery and courage.

Remember all of our Veterans this November 11th.

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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Searching for a Job Halloween Style

Trick or Treat-Halloween Carriers

“Trick or Treat” is a saying many people know since childhood. You walk house to house every October 31st holding out your bag almost singing the words wondering what type of candy you will get in your bag, will it be a trick or a treat? You keep collecting candy until your bag is full and then you take it home and review all the contents usually by dumping the whole bag on the floor. The sorting Halloween costumesbegins with what you consider a trick for bad candy to the treats which are your favourites. Then the review officer takes over, usually Mom and goes through the bag to make sure nothing dangerous has been included and gives you the candy you are allowed to eat. This is a process that every kid in North America goes through on Halloween each year.

If something like Halloween can be repeated so that almost every household has the same procedure with candy and is able to weed out the bad and good candy based on taste wouldn’t it be beneficial to take that same procedure and adapt it to your job search. After all it is basically the same thing, you are applying to jobs that you really don’t know if they will be a trick or a treat of a job until you start working there. Your job search would look like this.

Step 1-Your Neighbourhood

Basic criteria for the job search such as location, career goals, interests, equipment, and pay package. This is the same as mapping out the route for your neighbourhood.

Step 2-Trick or Treating

Gather 10 job opportunities that fit the criteria you set out above and put them into a bag or folder if working electronically. Don’t look at any job opportunity details until you have collected all 10 opportunities so that you don’t get caught up in the details of just one. This is the same as trick or treating.

Step 3-Sorting

With a notepad create a summary list and start going through the opportunities collected. Toss any that don’t meet your criteria and put the ones that do on your notepad. You may want to create columns as the goal of the sort is to get a bird’s eye view of the opportunities. Once you have your list sorted and complete you are ready for the next step. This is the same as dumping all of your candy on the floor.

candy

Step 4-Review Officer

Contact and apply to the top 3 best job opportunities on the list. Once those three are exhausted if you still haven’t been hired go to the next three opportunities and so on until you get the best job on your list. This is the same as Mom reviewing the candy to make sure there are no suspicious elements.

If you think about it you have been doing the same system since you were a child. You are just applying it to different types of candy. In this electronic age of course you don’t have to physically go knocking on doors but the idea is the same as going out for Halloween. Get your best business costume on and get out there!

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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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CBC’s Marketplace Test Truck Safety and Training in the Industry

CBC Marketplace did a test on truck training to see how easy it was for someone to get a commercial licence and how much training was involved. We are including the story here to show you the importance of seeking out certified training sources when beginning a new career.

Read and view the story
on CBC Marketplace here.

 

Find a TTSAO Certified School in your area

 

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Is It Time to Think Seriously About Your Safety?

Cannabis has been legal for only a week in Canada and police throughout the Country are finding people operating motor vehicles under the influence of Cannabis. With all the education, awareness, and media on the topic you would think that everyone would be aware and prepared. That doesn’t seem to be the case however as we have seen charges laid time and time again across the Country. There was a charge in Alberta with Cannabis found in the possession of the driver and another incident with a truck driver driving erratically and hitting objects along the highway in Ontario. He was eventually chased down and arrested by police. This incident really was an issue for me as it happened in my neighbourhood with a company I am familiar with and know the products they haul. You can view the video here on that story. https://twitter.com/opp_hsd/status/1053666318459666433?s=21

At what point to do we need people to start taking their safety seriously. Most professional drivers know that how they operate in their personal vehicles can affect their licence and ultimately their careers as drivers depending on the charges. I will say that for the most part professional drivers respect their careers and drive safely outside of the truck. For those that operate south of the border as well already know that random testing can happen at anytime keeping them from engaging in drugs and alcohol that may give them test results that can affect their job. But what about the rest of the population that are driving around us?

Man-smoking

With the legalization of Cannabis people have been flocking to purchase points many of them to relive their teenage years or have the joy of being able to consume drugs in public. There was even a recent report that suggested that seniors are a category of the population that is growing the fastest in consumption of legal Marijuana. I understand the medical benefits, but I have seen many seniors that have trouble driving without the effects of Marijuana. Where are these people being tested before they get behind the wheel. Where is their education taking place on how long drugs stay in the system? I have many friends that have been waiting for the legalization to come about and are now very excited about being able to purchase things legally. They may know the facts that you cannot have Cannabis in the vehicle, but what if they smoked it before they started to drive? What if they consumed it the day before, are they still impaired?

Educating people on the effects of drugs are going to take a long time and I hope it happens soon. We keep educating the people who are already being educated on a regular basis and have things like random testing in place. Most professional drivers understand the dangers of being impaired and hopefully those that haven’t caught on to this yet will learn before they do harm to someone. What we need to do is educate all of those around us and fast!

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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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Marijuana’s Legal But Should You Do It?

There are many celebrating this morning as Cannabis becomes legal across Canada. Legalization has been a source of discussion at many events over the last couple of years leading up to this golden day and the idea of legalized drugs in the marketplace has revived many of the funny situations from the sixties and seventies. But should you do it?

Whether you smoke Marijuana or not is totally a personal choice and I’m not here to judge you. I smoked it back in the seventies and am still here to tell you about it and many people I know have smoked it at one time or another. In fact I know many people who use it medically and recreationally and found it has helped them both feel better and relax better because of it. Just because Marijuana is now legal it still may be a problem especially in the World of transportation. Safety is the centre of the controversy around the legalization of Marijuana in the workplace!

Man-smokingI have been to countless seminars and conferences around drugs in the workplace being with safety associations and other transportation boards and safety in the workplace is now the main focus. With alcohol things were a little more black and white when it came to impairment but Marijuana stays in the body longer and affects people differently and this is where the problem comes in. At what point is someone impaired? Of course workplaces have to protect themselves and since impairment can be dangerous before it is even reached at a legal level workplace policies are the way to try and police that.

You may have noticed an increase in restrictions in policies or notifications in your workplace and this may affect those of you looking for work in the transportation industry. Truck drivers crossing the border are required to be drug free, but drivers that stay in Canada have been in a grey area. Safety in the workplace will also affect those in other positions such as forklift operators, mechanics, and other operations. Many workplaces are putting blanket style policies in place to protect themselves from a safety and legal standpoint. So what does this mean to you?

As a truck driver you will always be under the eye of the safety program so it is suggested that if you work in any safety sensitive position Marijuana shouldn’t be on your menu. Make sure you know what the policy is at your workplace and the guidelines around use and testing. Many policies have been updated to allow for random testing in the workplace so understand your policy. If you do use Cannabis know what you take and the frequency of use to ensure you sure not impaired accidentally. If you are not employed and looking at the industry for future employment realize it may hurt your chances of employment for certain companies or positions. I will leave use to you and it may seem like the time to get on the bandwagon but it may be hurting you in the long run so beware.

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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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Limousines are commercial vehicles too

Certainly by now you have heard of the horrific limousine accident that happened last week in New York State killing 20 people including all 18 people in the limousine and two pedestrians that were on location at the time of the incident. This incident happened at a dangerous intersection that recently was ruled off limits for trucks due to the dangerous nature of the roadways that came to a “T” stop off a steep hill. The people inside were all celebrating a birthday event and had hired the limo so they didn’t have to drive and would be safe. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims. You can read the actual story here if you missed it earlier. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/20-people-killed-vehicle-crash-new-york-state-police-say-n917541. The crash is currently being investigated and details will come out as they are updated.

Often former truck and bus drivers will turn to limousine driving as they wind down their career from driving over the road. This is a great way to earn extra money and can be very lucrative with the right company. The limousine business offers a variety of ways to make money from a single vehicle owner to a large multi-vehicle operator and I often see driveways with five or six limousines parked of different sizes. If this looks lucrative to you then starting a limousine company may be the way to go to create a unique business. What you have to look out for is the fact that you are now starting your own carrier and will now be a commercial vehicle operator.

Depending on the size of the vehicle you may be starting your own bus company that will require commercial vehicle operator’s licence, commercial driver’s licence, insurance, and so on. Operating under those situations will require vehicle inspections, driver training, commercial operating procedures. A class “F” licence is required for ambulances and small limousines and depending on the size of the vehicle other licences like “C” for coach or even “B” licence may be required or suggested.

Coach Limousine

Just because a carrier is small in nature or looked at as outside of trucking it still requires the attention and detail of a larger operation. Vehicle inspections and driver training are extremely important as we investigate the horrific incident in New York State. We have yet to hear about the details as to whether the driver knew the road or the vehicle had an equipment failure. Either way the family of the people in that limousine will be grieving for a long time. Commercial driving needs to be taken seriously from the carrier and the driver, lives are at stake and it doesn’t matter how small or large the operation.

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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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Without Trucks there wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving

As we approach Thanksgiving here in Canada it is always a good time to reflect on what we have and how it got there. With a table full of food, a large turkey waiting to be carved we often take for granted many of the items we have in our daily lives without much thought as to how they reached our table. Nearly 70 percent of all goods are transported by truck with transportation being one of the largest industries in North America. Yet we still seem to get a bad rap from the public.

Much of that bad rap is because the trucking industry operates in the background. We are seen to the public as a problem not a solution. The public sees closed trailers, deadly accidents, and slow moving vehicles. They don’t see the driver unloading in the middle of the night at a dock with 40,000 pounds of a certain product. They don’t see the driver driving all night to get their Amazon delivery to their door the next day. When we do get a chance to talk to the public we are often trying to tell them why we need more drivers or less regulations. We forget to show them the importance for what we do. We need to educate the public on how their goods get to the table, the stores, and into their homes. Do they know that the car they’re driving came from parts that were on more than a dozen trucks at one time and put together at the plant? Do they know that once that car was assembled at the plant that the car was put on another truck to be delivered to the dealership where they were able to sit inside it and take it for a test drive?

Truck on highway

I would love to see a campaign where that was shown all the time. Almost like a message on the back of each truck that says on this truck is the steering wheel for the car that you are holding in your hands. On this truck are the tires that are helping you drive down the road. On this truck are the pillows that you lay your head on each night. On this truck are the potatoes that you will be having for dinner on Thanksgiving. If information like that was everywhere maybe people would start to listen and realize the importance of the truck driver.

We should also be showing the importance of freight on our roadways. Buses have priority on our streets when pulling out into traffic as all other vehicles must yield to the bus. Why are we not showing the importance of freight by dedicating lanes to the trucks allowing them to move faster during rush hour traffic. We need to show the public the importance of what we do and how their products got on the shelves. This will take a mass effort from the whole industry, but may be part of the solution to getting our industry to be professional in the eyes of the public. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving this weekend and take a moment to reflect how the food got on your table.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. 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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Is it time for an immigration shift in trucking?

If we want to improve our industry we need to do more than just fill the seats. Foreign workers are making up a majority of the transportation industry and much of it is due to a low barrier of entry compared to other occupations according to a recent report by Newcom Media. The report suggests that almost 50% of the drivers in Canada are now immigrants of South Asian background and the Government is looking at increasing immigration support to fill even more seats much needed in the industry. The question is do we want an industry that has people behind the wheel that are just using it as a stepping stone for a new land or do we really want people with a passion for the industry? The report by Newcom suggests that it may be ease of entry over passion, you can read the full report here and decide for yourself. https://www.todaystrucking.com/the-changing-face-of-trucking-a-demographic-shift/ man talking on telephoneMy parents immigrated to Canada back in 1962 so I understand the importance of bringing people to Canada. We need to fill jobs as drivers in our industry and I understand the needs there as well, but are we getting the right people for the job. The report suggested that ease of entry is the reason many are choosing truck driving. If that’s the case then people are coming into the industry not because of an interest or passion for trucking but an easy way to come into the Country. Are we losing that passion in the industry that was once there from those that loved to work around machines or that person that loved to drive. People are getting into the industry due to lack of other opportunities, but could that be the problem?

I believe our immigration laws need to change to where we are bringing people into the Country that not only want to be here, but have a passion for the industry they are trying to get into. Every industry has shortfall of people in general so should we be doing a better job of matching the people coming into the Country to the industries available? If doctors from another Country are coming here to be truck drivers just because they can’t get any other work that doesn’t make sense. There is a real doctor shortage here as well and I have seen how our immigration laws work against us first hand.

There were two drivers I met a couple years ago from the island of Barbados. They both had trucking backgrounds in Barbados even though it is a smaller country. One owned a construction company there and the other had been driving a truck around the island. Both paid from there own pockets to take training through a certified school here in Canada. Both graduated top of class from the training school. Both had job offers from companies and were very competent individuals. So where was the problem? Both got tired of waiting on the red tape of the immigration department. One of those individuals has taken his family to Ireland to drive trucks and start a new life and the other has gone into a different industry else where to find work. Yet here we are talking about increasing the amount of people we bring into Canada to fill the seats. Those two people had a passion for the industry, and put skin in the game and still couldn’t get in. If you would like to hear the interview I did with one of the candidates just click here. http://theleadpedalpodcast.com/lp146-battling-the-immigration-struggle-to-canada-interview-with-philip-gooding-of-barbados

Maybe we need to change the way we immigrate people into Canada. Maybe we need to make it easier for companies to sponsor the right people into the industry. If we want to improve the industry as a whole and we want to fill the jobs with people that want to be there and have a passion for the industry then we need to curve the way we immigrate people to Canada, that doesn’t mean just ease of entry but matching talent to opportunities and that goes for all industries not just trucking.

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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The Trucking Community is Continually Giving Back

Giving back to a cause or group can be a very rewarding thing that a person or company can do. I’m a firm believer in, “what goes around comes around” type of thinking and believe that our lives are intertwined to help each other in some sort of strange way. Many causes are asking for donations or raising funds for research and you would think that donating a certain amount of money to a cause would solve the issue. The problem with just writing a cheque is that you miss the passion and the real gift of giving back. Experiencing the joy you put back into the hearts of others can be more rewarding than any cheque you could write.

What always amazes me is how much the transportation industry steps up to the challenge when it comes to helping others. We all know that truck drivers are very busy, under time regulations, and only get paid when the wheels are turning, yet truck drivers and the transportation industry come out in droves every time to give back to great causes. When I interviewed many of the drivers and people at the events they all said one thing, the smiles on their faces kept bringing them back again and again. It wasn’t the money, it wasn’t the time, but the smiles. Touching other people’s hearts can be a wonderful thing.

Think about this, truck drivers work around 70 hours per week, get limited time off with their families, yet managed to take time to help three convoys on the weekend raise almost $200,000 for important causes and that’s just in Ontario. 50 trucks showed up to the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics GTA convoy and raised over $50,000 dollars along with sponsorships and donations. The Truck Convoy for Special Olympics in Paris Ontario with 70 trucks, sponsorships, and donations raised over $75,000. And Trucking for a Cure had their Eastern convoy had 50 trucks and raised almost $70,000. All those convoys were on the same day in different parts of the Province for different causes, but it was the trucking community making a difference.

Kim Richardson of the TTSAO

Many associations like the Truck Training School Association of Ontario and the Fleet Safety Council support these causes in various ways through their members or associations as a whole and often send funds for a certain level, but it is always nice to see members attend and participate in the event showing their support. Even more impressive in other ways is when the owners of companies get involved with these causes and take their time to show support for their members involved and the cause such as Challenger President Dan Einwetcher who participated as a driver in the Paris convoy.

If you have never been involved in a cause as a participant or spectator then I would urge you to get involved. Many reputable carriers urge their employees to get involved as a way of showing support and giving back to the industry. Get involved!

Check out some of those great carriers here!

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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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