Category Archives: Truck Training School Articles

3 Steps to Learning the Truck Inspection Process

Learning how to conduct a truck inspection can be a daunting task when you’re a new student in a truck training school. There are many parts to inspect on a truck or bus and missing just one area can result in fines and downtime for any driver. This is why the inspection process is so important and a reason that every student has to take it seriously.

I recently attended a school to understand their yard work program and what students thought of going through the yard work process. The testing procedures have changed since the implementation of Mandatory Entry Level Training and has become more challenging for the student. Previously the inspection process was taught as a routine that a student would learn and show when testing for their licence. Over the years the testing changed to a random item test where the testing agent will ask the driver to inspect different items on the truck in various orders. The student doesn’t know ahead of time which items will be asked of them therefore having to learn the whole process.

Talking to instructor Jean at the school conducting the training for inspections I asked how the new way of testing has improved the training process? “Students have to learn the full schedule 1 with the new system. Previously the students were taught a routine for inspecting a truck, but due to the time frame in testing were memorizing what to say more than what they were actually inspecting. Because the requests are random students have to know exactly how to inspect an item and not just what to say to the tester.” Says Jean.

Instruction picture

One of the things I noticed when attending the training is that the students going through the program took the instruction very seriously. As a trainer myself I can tell you that not all students understand the importance of training or have the same level of determination. The students going through the inspection schedule, asking questions, and redoing tasks they didn’t understand or do correctly were determined to understand the components fully. Those are the students that will pass successfully but also make professional drivers in the future.

If you are a new student or someone just getting started in the process of looking for a training facility then there a few things you can do to ensure your training is successful:

  • Ensure you are attending a certified training facility. Certified schools have the top instructors that have the knowledge to show you the proper way to inspect items.
  • Participate in the training. Many times the inspection process is taught in a group setting. Don’t just stand on the side lines but be active taking notes, doing tasks, and asking questions.
  • Take your training seriously. Failing to inspect a truck properly can result in fines, delays, or even death. It is important to take your training seriously, review your work, take notes, and ask questions of things you don’t understand.

Truck inspections are required of drivers every day and there are many that don’t do them properly. They are important from a safety standpoint, required from a testing standpoint, and can minimize delays on the road, but only if you know how to do a proper inspection.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Ontario Truck Training Academy Included in Top Women-Owned Businesses List

Article originally from a Linkedin Post stating that Yvette Lagrois of Ontario Truck Training Academy has been included in the 2019 list of companies that are Women-owned. Congratulations Yvette for being included in such a distinguished list.

Ghanaian female logistics company wins global transportation leadership award
In addition to Ladybird Logistics limited (Felicia Payin Marfo, Managing Director), other companies named to the 2019 “Top Woman-Owned Businesses” list included Bennett International Group (Marcia G. Taylor, CEO), Ontario Truck Training Academy (Yvette Lagrois, President), London Auto Truck Center (Donna Childers, Vice President) and United Federal Logistics, Inc. (Jennifer Behnke, President) amongst others.
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Experience the Pride of Trucking through Summer Truck Shows

Summer is a great time to get a view of the trucking industry that not everyone may notice on the road in everyday situations. I almost feel as though there are two different versions of truck drivers going on when I attend events in the industry. There are the public’s view of road raged truckers and then there are the dedicated drivers that show off the passion of the industry such as at the outdoor truck shows.

I wander around these shows talking to drivers and thinking about all the things I’ve heard over the years from the public. Comments like, “truck drivers are just holding up traffic” or “truck drivers look sloppy and don’t care as they drive junk equipment up and down the road.” There is such a disconnect between what I know in the industry and what the public believes about the transportation industry and truck drivers in general. If only we can show the public what most of us know in the industry already, the pride of the industry is strong. We just need to show that to the public.

There used to be one or two large shows in the past that drew all the attention and slowly changed from quality truck shows to music concerts. After those shows shut down many smaller shows started up again and now there are many shows across the region focused on the trucks and pride in the industry. These small shows are the perfect place to get people out to see the pride of the industry. Many of the show organizers are focused on the driver and the trucks and what much of the public doesn’t realize is that these shows are often helping out great causes such as special needs athletes or cancer research. They hold raffles, donations, contests, and many other programs to raise money for their favourite charity and truck drivers step up every time. The shows also bring traffic into local towns helping out establishments in the community through sales from the public. I bet much of the public doesn’t know that the trucks and truck drivers they complain about on the road are the same people helping their communities.

When you go to a truck show you see the real pride of the industry. You see drivers that have spent weeks cleaning their trucks to show quality. You see drivers giving their own time and including their families into an industry they love. You see camaraderie from drivers that you don’t see in any truck stop helping each other when needed. You see organizers working with small teams with no other goal than to give back to the industry and causes they love.

I have been attending truck shows for many years and that pride has been consistent throughout. Whether it is old trucks from the past or custom rides from now or the future there is a definite pride in trucking that the industry seems to see, we just need to show everyone else.

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Starting a Trucking School Includes More Than Just Buying a Truck

“I want to start a trucking school.” This is a statement heard recently at a truck show from a driver that was getting tired of the road and wanted to slow down in his career. He had some people interested in his local area and thought it may be a good way to continue his trucking career and be home more. ”I can just buy a truck, get some customers, and I would be all set”,he said. “How hard can it be?”

As our population grows older and drivers begin to look for ways to retire while keeping income coming in opportunities such as opening a small school or doing training on the side look more appealing. In fact we have many former drivers in the industry that have gone on to open consulting businesses, become truck driver trainers, or other home stationed positions in the industry. Anyone running their own trucking school can tell you it’s not as easy as it looks. A driver may have the experience of the road but that is just one piece of the puzzle to a successful school. Many drivers find out that their experience in the truck is not as easy to translate to students when standing in front of them in class.

TTSAO December 11th Meeting

What does it take to start your own truck driver training school?

You’ve decided that you want to start your own school, so what do you need to do? The first thing you want to look at before certifications, trucks, or anything else required is to decide on the type of school you will open. Will it be a fly by night school that is focused on a quick buck and the shortest courses possible? Will it be a proper certified school that operates with integrity and class? Both options are possible but only one is suggested. If you’re getting into operating a truck driving school for a quick buck then keep looking at business opportunities because a school is not for you.

Assuming you were to open a certified facility with proper integrity and courses then there are a number of things you have to do before you can even open the doors. Having all the documentation and information required is the first step in the process. This step can take months or years as you develop course material, attain insurance and other requirements for the training centre. Once you have that set up you have to register your course information with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to be registered as a Private Career College. After you have got those steps completed you may then want to apply for memberships with organizations such as the Truck Training School Association of Ontario. Marketing and other processes for a successful business begin at this point and have nothing to do with truck driving but will take time, money, and skills most drivers don’t have.

Start an Accredited School with TTSAO

You can get an official list of requirements on the TTSAO website-click here!

I can tell you from experience as a trainer in the industry that I have seen many drivers have trouble transitioning from life on the road to standing in front of a class of students. It can be done but it isn’t as easy as people think. If you are thinking of opening a training facility please do it with integrity and safety in mind. We have enough crazy drivers on the road and we don’t need a facility putting more bad drivers onto our highways. Good luck and make sure you do the proper homework for a successful school.

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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Driving School Culture Starts at the Top

Being involved with the training industry over many years both directly and indirectly I have heard reviews and complaints on certain types of schools in the industry. I have worked with good schools and heard and seen the bad ones. Many times looking at the schools from the outside may or may not allow you to tell the good from the bad. Both will have trucks, offices, and a website. The real difference comes when applying to a school, starting a school, or operating a successful school?

The industry has been changing over the years with the implementation of Mandatory Entry Level Training and certification processes by the Government that are ensuring that the proper training programs are available to the market. Incident rates have been climbing in recent years and training is being blamed for part of the problem.

When you think of it training facilities can implement many of the Government requirements, but that still won’t make them a good school. The reason is that the culture of the school is really determined by the staff or management of the facility and the dedication to safety and training of the students. If I have a school and am just concerned with putting students through the program in the fastest way possible then that won’t be the best school to attend even if certifications are in place.

Man driving tractor

There have been many reports of students being crowded into a truck with one instructor and showing them a specific route to pass the test. Other reports include instructors doing business on the phone when they should be training or cookie cutting courses in order to charge more money.

A school or company with a good culture will train their staff properly, offer quality in their course material, and have a focus on safety instead of value over money. They will have a good culture that drips down from the top throughout their curriculum and staff ensuring students have a successful program helping the industry have successful workers. Culture is king!

If you are a potential student looking for a training facility then talk to other students and make sure the programming is thorough, staff are safety minded and professional, and the training program will give you all the tools to start a successful career in transportation.

If you are an instructor in the industry ensure you really care about the learning process for your students and that they have the training to be safe professional drivers when they complete the program.

If you are a school owner or company providing training realize training is not about just filling the seats with bodies, but ensuring everyone providing training and contact from trainer to reception is offering quality service. The culture has to come from the top down.

If you are looking to start a training facility deciding on the type of training facility you will be operating and supporting through your business decisions will be paramount. No matter how much making money enters the equation the difference between success and a good name in the industry is culture. If you would like to learn about the steps for starting a training facility the TTSAO has the process documented on their website. You can find the information by clicking here.

Start an Accredited School with TTSAO

About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Don’t Be Afraid of the Border-Prepare for It!

As we sit between Canada’s Birthday of July 1st and the United States Independence happening on July 4th I felt it was similar to crossing the border in a truck. When talking to drivers at recruiting events or schools many are afraid of the border. They prefer driving through Canada only and may not want to experience the border due to the many stories that they hear from other drivers. It doesn’t matter whether that driver is Canadian based or U.S based the feelings are the same. Unfortunately what those drivers don’t realize is that those that have trouble at the border often weren’t as prepared as they should have been.

I remember my early experience at the border. I was very early in my career as a driver, in fact I had only been across the border in a truck maybe two times before. Just like many new drivers I jumped into truck ownership very early and this was the first time in my own truck taking a load of furniture across the border. I was a partner in the truck with my friend who had taught me to drive and we had taken a couple of loads across the border in his Father’s truck who was also an owner operator in the furniture industry.

I still remember that night. We were moving someone from Ontario Canada to Northern New York State. We had an old cabover Ford truck that we had refurbished and reworked for about $10,000 which is big money to someone only 20 years old. My partner Andre was the one who handled the paperwork for the border and we had decided to cross the border late at night as we were running as a team. We arrived at the border and went through the normal process of submitting the paperwork and sitting in the waiting room at the border.

I remember the room being cold, dark and a place that you had a feeling you could be left there indefinitely if your paperwork didn’t clear properly. After about an hour waiting in this little room with drivers sleeping and looking very disappointed with the simple fact of being there we heard our names called. Happy to be leaving we jumped to the counter to get our release form. Instead of our release form we were told to back our trailer into the dock and we returned to the cold dark room. Four hours later we were called to repack the furniture they had torn down which took us another hour to do. In total we were there for six hours with no explanation as to why such a long delay.

I would have not been blamed if I never wanted to cross the border again. Instead I spent countless years crossing the border and for the most part trouble free. Oh there has been a few delays due to traffic, there was the time there was a trucker strike, and of course there are a few times when the load wasn’t correctly documented by the shipper. For the most part it has been a good experience. Out of my 25 year career 10 of those were operating south of the border and I am glad that I wasn’t scared off by that early experience.

If I can offer some advice for those of you currently crossing the border or thinking about going that route is to be prepared. Over the years I have found having your paperwork in order, knowing how your truck is loaded, and being professional when presenting paperwork or speaking with border personnel is the best defence in reducing delays at the border.

Speaking of the border I would like to take this time to wish our American friends Happy Independence Day, may it be a safe and happy day.

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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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Job Diversity Leading Attraction to get into Transportation

Have you ever been attracted to a job where the money was attractive and once in the industry you found it felt like a dead end? Once you started down that path you saw that everyone ended up doing the same job and there was very little career building areas to move around. When that happens boredom sets in and it is just a matter of time before you feel stuck and unfulfilled. This happens in many manufacturing environments where employees focus on a high hourly wage and benefits hoping longevity will see them through to retirement. We have all seen the writing on the wall when that happens and a plant closes down after a many years in operation.

TTSAO Conference 2018

I recently attended an interview session for people in the trucking industry asking them various questions about what they thought of the transportation industry as they have evolved in their careers. As we completed a number of the interviews I began to see two common themes throughout no matter who I talked with. The two themes were people in the industry and the different career paths available to those in the industry. It really came down to options. The questions for the interviews were created by a separate group so it wasn’t as though I themed the questions or asked them in certain way. I was asked to interview certain people about their career experiences and document the answers. During the course of 28 interviews half of those people mentioned that the opportunities available in the industry through different career paths were the top reasons that people stayed in the industry. Many responded that they started as drivers and over the years have had a number of job titles over their long career with many being with the same employer. I interviewed one person who began her career as a driver, went into dispatch, and is now in safety and operations. Others began in the family business and are now in sales, management, or insurance. Having opportunities to stay in such a diverse industry was the leading reason that transportation was such a lucrative industry to be part of.

The people were the second reason. One quarter of the interviewees said that the people kept them wanting to be involved in the trucking industry. Some said they could pick up the phone and call colleagues in the industry to get information even if that colleague was with a different employer. Others felt the people were genuine in trucking and the type of people that understood what a person can go through allowing them the information needed to solve problems. Others made lifelong friends in the industry that they have not found elsewhere.

TTSAO December 11th Meeting

I myself have experienced the same thing in this industry. I was one of those people that started my career not even in the driver’s seat but carrying furniture into houses as I moved people around the Province. That led to a career as a driver for over 25 years, a fleet supervisor, a trainer, author, and now podcaster just to mention a few. It is all due to the knowledge and friendships I have experienced in the trucking industry. I hope you get a chance to experience what myself and so many others have experienced in this industry in the people and opportunities. It will change your life, it did for me!

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Trucking for the Right Reasons

There is a certain wonder about life on the road and how people cope. People wonder about truckers in the trucking industry such as where they go, who they see, and how they handle the loneliness. We wonder the same thing about nomads, caravaners, and other people that seem to float from place to place not knowing what the next turn will bear. To some it is romantic and to others it is as scary as walking down a dark street at two in the morning.

I recently read an article from a young person thinking about getting into the trucking industry who currently worked from home and felt they had no social life. He didn’t get out to see people and was becoming bored with his job. This person felt that getting a job as a truck driver would change the loneliness and make their life more exciting. The question is, is that the proper reason to get into the trucking industry?

Another situation that arises is when someone takes a driving trip for vacation decides they like to drive and wants to move into the transportation industry. Driving on vacation and driving for work are two different things. Vacation is great for seeing the sights and enjoying the many great places across the Country. It is not always possible to do that in trucking.

The reasons above are what people tell us many times in conversation as to why they may want to get into the trucking industry. It may be a start but is not enough to begin a career without some more investigation into the lifestyle. If we take the scenarios above we will see that for the first person the reason of getting out of the house may be a first step to looking at the industry, but have they thought about life on the road as a whole. Life on the road is not for everyone and the driving is just one part of the job. Many drivers suffer from loneliness as well so trucking may or may not be the answer.

Driver-in-truck

In the second scenario a driving holiday is a beautiful way to see the beauty of North America with family and friends. You can stop when you want, drive to important monuments, and take your time enjoying the surroundings. You can do that in a truck as well but you may not have the time or access to go to certain places.

So how do you decide on a job in transportation? The scenarios above may be a good start to thinking about being in trucking but you need to look at the job and lifestyle as a whole. I think the trucking industry has a lot to offer any person whether in a truck or not but is also not for everyone. You do get to see the Country and you can see others on the road, but it can be a drastic change to people coming into the industry without the knowledge of the lifestyle. The best place to start the conversation about trucking is with a carrier or trucking school. An even better place to start is at www.ttsao.com

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About the Author

Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, 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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Linamar to host TTSAO Carrier Group and General Meetings

May 21, 2019

REMINDER – Last Chance to Register: The TTSAO Carrier Group will be holding a meeting on Thursday May 23, 2019 at Linamar Corporation in Guelph at 700 Woodlawn Road from 8:30am to 9:30am.  The meeting is free of charge to attend and is open to all carriers, for hire and private.  The agenda will include an overview of the new TTSAO auditing and oversight program as well as a proposed marketing initiative for recruiting people into the training industry. 

Following the auditing and overview portion of the meeting the TTSAO Carrier Group will be featuring a session called “How We Do It, A Carrier’s Perspective”. This session will have three for hire and private carriers each presenting on recruiting, interviewing, road testing and on-boarding entry level drivers. In this session carrier representatives will share their thoughts on how they are recruiting, and on-boarding entry level students recently graduated from commercial driver training schools. 

After the 3 presentations the carriers will gather as a panel and there will be an open Q/A moderated by Guy Broderick, Chairman of the TTSAO Carrier Group.  

During the general session an update will also be provided on the recently introduced TTSAO auditing and oversight program which is managed by the TTSAO Insurance Group. This recently implemented auditing process, for both new prospective members and existing TTSAO members, who operate commercial truck driving schools has been launched with success. Lisa Arseneau, Chairperson of the TTSAO Insurance Group, will provide an overview of the program to-date.

The meeting for the TTSAO Carrier Group is for Carriers only is scheduled for 8:30 – 9:30am

The general session will take place from 10 am to noon and is open to anyone in the industry who would like to attend. 

To register please email ttsao@ttsao.com or call 705-280-5577.

For more information contact:

Charlie Charalambous – Director of Communications and Public Relations, TTSAO – ccharalambous@isbglobalservices.com  or (905) 699 – 8837

Kim Richardson – President, 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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