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.
Hard on the heels of the Conference, I was involved in giving a presentation to the Peel Goods Movement Task Force last Friday, and I now know that we, as a group (TTSAO) through CHET are accepted as a stakeholder in relation to Training. A big plus for the Association to be among such an elite level of planners, logicians and academics in transportation. To view the information check out the link below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
TTSAO Applauds National Driver Training Standards – The Truck Training School Association of Ontario (TTSAO) could not be more pleased with the commitment made by Canada’s Transportation Ministers. The commitment to the development of a National Entry Level Driver Training Standard by 2020.
The TTSAO was viewed by government and industry as a major stakeholder when Ontario introduced and mandated Mandatory Entry Level Training (MELT). President of the TTSAO, Kim Richardson said “Our association attended many consultation sessions along with other fine organizations and associations across the province. The TTSAO’s finger prints are all over the Ontario MELT standard.”
The TTSAO utilized the TTSAO Carrier Group and the TTSAO Insurance Group during the consultation sessions. The TTSAO looks forward to working with CCMTA and the other national stakeholders on this important initiative.
“The industry, the general public and all road users will be a safer place with national training standards for commercial truck drivers. It is one more step toward professional truck driving becoming a skilled trade in the country,” added Richardson.
For more information visit www.ttsao.comor contact:
Kim Richardson – President, TTSAO – firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 905-512-0254
Charlie Charalambous – Director of Communications and Public Relations, TTSAO – email@example.com
We have a bad habit of focusing much of our efforts on getting drivers into driving trucks especially over the road in our industry. I won’t lie to you that is where the bulk of the jobs are in the transportation industry, but those certainly aren’t the only jobs. A carrier can be anyone from a company that transports freight over the road to someone that transports people. Those options are also available for traveling long distances or just around town. So how do you choose one option over another and do you have the desired skills that may set you ahead of the pack when it comes to the job application process?
Good customer service skills are an asset to any driver hauling freight or people but especially people. If in the past you have developed those skills through working at a retail establishment or had additional training in that area then that may help you transition into a certain line of work as a driver. If you are looking for short haul options or a steady schedule then this type of work may also be appealing to you. What type of work am I talking about?
Coach work of course! We often don’t think about it but all those tourists have to get to the casino and back somehow. That hockey team needs a bus driver to take them on the road so they can win those playoff games. Coach driving can be a good career for someone that has good customer service skills and wants a somewhat steady schedule although many truck carriers can offer those same type of schedule options. We often think of the buses that operate around town or school bus drivers with many kids on board, but those aren’t the only options available. Think about all the buses required for casino operations, hockey teams, specialized charters, and other operations such as regular travel routes and transport of the population. There are many options available and a coach licence also offers driving options below that licence as well.
Find a carrier that has your type of work here!
Coach driving is also a very viable option for female drivers that may not want to work with freight such as flatbed or other physically demanding types of cargo. For the most part coach driving is a clean atmosphere where safe driving and managing people will set you ahead in the field. If you’ve never thought of operating a bus over the road or in your home town then it may be worth investigating especially if you are good with people and have a neat appearance. Not sure where you options are in the industry? I would suggest you start by talking with a TTSAO Certified school in your area or contacting one of the bus carriers in your area to find out what training you need to drive a bus. It may set you off to a new career path that you didn’t even know existed.
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