Manual Transmissions-The Additional Question for Your School

As if there wasn’t enough questions to ask that school that you are looking at taking your training with you now have to ask about the type of trucks they have in the fleet. A new person investigating training may not even know or care about the trucks in a fleet for a training facility but not knowing what they have available may change your job opportunities in the future.

In May of 2021 the Ministry of Ontario (MTO) announced a restriction that if you take your test in an automatic transmission truck then your licence would restrict you to only driving vehicles with an automatic transmission. They have since extended the timeline to July 2021 at the time of this writing but that still doesn’t satisfied some of the schools that have small fleets.

You may be asking why you should even care and how it will effect you in the future. I am a firm believer that you should always keep your options open when training for jobs as you don’t know what options will come up in the future. Manual and automatic transmissions certainly play into that. Up until now you could take your test in any vehicle you wish and add training down the road if you wanted to upgrade. With the new system you would have to retake your test in order to upgrade your licence. That may add much more time and expense to someone wanting to go from driving automatic trucks to manual transmission vehicles.

Don’t most companies have automatic transmissions?

You’re correct there are many automatic transmissions in many fleets across the country but there are also still many applications that require a manual transmission. A large fleet may be able to offer you an option as to which truck you can drive but many small fleets don’t have that luxury. Small fleets may have older equipment or require manual transmissions for the type of work that they do on a regular basis. What happens if you change companies down the road and want to move from automatic to manual transmissions for a better job? This may also be reflected in driver pay down the road as someone with manual transmission skills may be awarded a pay upgrade in the future.

Ask many old school drivers like myself and they will tell you shifting gears is some of the fun of driving big trucks. Down the road you may want to drive equipment for a personal reasons but that would still require an upgrade.

Manual Transmissions

So what is the additional question you should ask any school in addition to the other questions that should already be on your list; “Do you have trucks with manual transmissions and do I have the option of being trained on one for my test?” Keep your options open especially in the beginning of your career as it can make a big difference in the future. Good luck with your training. You can find a certified school at

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is a veteran in the transportation industry with over 40 years in the industry in a variety of roles from driver to fleet supervisor and more. Today he is a media entrepreneur in the industry producing a number of programs within the trucking industry. You can learn more about Bruce and his work and his trucking podcast at

Disclaimer: This article is written and based on the opinion of the author and is for general information only.


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