Sample Sidebar Module

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Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_bottom position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_top position below the search.

We all need to work together

Readers of industry publications are no doubt aware of the study that Newcom Media released on the changing demographics in the trucking industry.

The stats were reported on in great detail in the October issues of Today’s Trucking, Truck News, and picked up by other publications since. Just as a quick reflection: the numbers showed that, as of 2016, visible minorities accounted for 24.5% of truck drivers in Canada, up from 3.5% in 1996. South-Asian drivers account for 17.8% of the overall truck driving population as of 2016, up from 1.8% in ‘96. In Vancouver and Toronto, the number of South-Asian drivers is even higher, at 55.9% and 53.9%.

As reported, anyone who has been in the industry for the last number of years will have noticed the shift, and the increasing presence of immigrant drivers roaming the highways.

What I want to discuss is a little more controversial in nature, but something that needs to be addressed in my view – racism in trucking in Canada. I don’t have hard stats that
I can point to that will show you the number of racist incidents on the road, whether it has improved or intensified in the last 20 years. Rather, I will report on my own experiences in recent times.

If you follow trucking blogs on Facebook or twitter, you will no doubt have seen the racist noise that is spewed by some of the driving, and non-driving population of this industry. I receive, on average, two-to-three personal messages per month via email or social media, spewing views that are racist and not based on facts. In these messages, new Canadians are blamed for everything and anything that is wrong with our industry. They are called “unqualified,” “poorly trained,” “dangerous to our highways,” being the sole cause of any increases in accident rates among commercial drivers, and in some cases called names that I won’t repeat on these pages. I do believe the people who make these comments represent the vast minority and that most people in our industry are progressive, accepting and adapting to our changing culture and ways. However, any amount of racism is too much in my view.

Let’s concentrate our views and efforts on facts and specific incidents, not blame every accident or unsafe issue in our industry on a specific culture or race. Do we have untrained and unqualified drivers on our roadways? You bet, and that is unfortunate, and something we need to improve on. However unsafe operators do not have a specific skin colour or ethnic background; they come in all forms. As an industry, we need to work together to remove all untrained, unqualified and unsafe operators from our highways. We need to improve on and expand MELT, to ensure we have minimum training standards for all drivers. We need to ensure we monitor and follow up to ensure those providing MELT are doing what they say they are doing and training our new drivers to the standard set forth.

All carriers need to ensure they properly qualify new drivers, continually train them, mentor them and monitor them. If they are unsafe and unqualified, they need to be removed from your fleet, even if this means parking more trucks against the fence.

Drivers need to ensure they practice defensive driving skills, remove the distractions from their cab, and continuously work on improving their knowledge and skills, in co-operation with their employers and fellow drivers.

Enforcement needs to find ways to get at more of the unsafe operators on our highways and target them. They need to inspect more vehicles, lay more changes for unsafe and aggressive behaviours, and remove drivers and carriers from our roadways who do not follow and comply with the rules and are a danger to our highways.

As a whole, I am proud of this industry, and the skill and safety of our professional drivers and operators. Professional drivers are some of the most skilled and safe drivers on the roadway. We must however never rest on our laurels. If we want to continuously improve not only the safety of our industry, but it’s image, we all need to work together to make it better. This includes all races, religions and cultures working together, there is no room for racism in our society, or in our industry, and I for one am tired of hearing the comments.

If you are unsafe operator or driver, I want you targeted and either forced to improve, or removed from our industry, and I don’t care what race, religion or cultural background you are. Comply with the rules of our industry or get out.

Current News

How Ontario’s General Trucking Sector can Address Driver Fatigue Among Professional Drivers

Driver fatigue identified as a top health and safety risk for trucking operations in Ontario

Top 10 root causes of driver fatigue among professional truck drivers in Ontario

In February 2020, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) in partnership with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) organized a group of industry experts that met for two days to determine the root causes of driver fatigue in Ontario’s trucking sector. As part of their work, they also developed critical controls and specific activities that could be put in place to address driver fatigue in Ontario’s general trucking industry.

The list of the top 10 causes of driver fatigue, as identified by workers, supervisors, and employers in Ontario’s trucking sector is displayed in the infographic on pages 34-35 of Private Motor Carrier. More detailed information on the top causes of driver fatigue among professional truck drivers, is discussed in the accompanying technical paper available at www.ihsa.ca/driverfatigue.

Identifying solutions and controls

After identifying the top 10 causal factors of driver fatigue, the group of subject matter experts, led by Dr. Sujoy Dey of the MLTSD, identified possible solutions and controls for the top ranked risks. During the discussions, similar themes and proposed controls kept emerging that informed five key recommendations:

  • classify truck driving as a skilled trade (Red Seal),
  • review and address critical training gaps in mandatory entry-level training (MELT),
  • mandatory graduated licensing for all truck drivers,
  • greater enforcement of carriers who are non-compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Highway Traffic Act, and
  • promote mental health and wellness among professional truck drivers.

These recommendations provide a foundation for the reduction in driver fatigue by focussing on systemic causal factors and not just the symptoms of driver fatigue. The trucking industry should focus immediately on addressing these five key recommendations.

“The group of industry experts shared their experience, made suggestions, and proposed potential controls to address the primary causal factors and identified systemic weaknesses in the industry,” says Michelle Roberts, IHSA Director, Stakeholder & Client Engagement. “IHSA is proud of our work as an advocate for improving professional truck driver training, non-compliant carrier enforcement, and the importance of driver mental health and wellness. This work is a strong first step toward meaningful changes for safer and healthier workplaces for professional truck drivers.”

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