New report highlights shortfalls in commercial trucker training

TORONTO — New commercial truck drivers who have not received adequate training are putting the safety of Canada’s roads and highways in jeopardy, according to a report released April 9.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) commissioned MNP, a Canadian professional services firm, to identify the key factors impacting the cost of insurance for commercial truck operators. MNP found drivers with less training and experience are more likely to be involved in collisions and make costly claims than drivers with more training and experience. Insurance claims related to commercial trucking accidents have been increasing in recent years.

“Canada’s trucking sector is critical to the success of our economy, transporting over 90 per cent of all food, consumer goods and materials to consumers across the country,” said Celyeste Power, President and CEO, IBC. “The property and casualty insurance industry is working closely with the trucking sector to find solutions to some of the challenges it currently faces, including driver shortages and access to adequate training and risk management. This third-party report echoes many of the recommendations that our industry has put forward and we encourage governments across the country to use this report as a call to action to update and improve training and enforcement standards.”

To identify best practices in truck driver training, MNP conducted a review of driver training programs in various Canadian and international jurisdictions. It then offered recommendations on how to improve training requirements. Key findings in the report include the following:

  • Truck drivers with less than three years of experience have a greater likelihood of being involved in a collision.
  • Collisions involving heavy loads or dangerous goods tend to be more severe and have potential for greater damage. As a result, the level of required liability coverage increases when these goods are transported, affecting premiums.
  • Premiums for vehicles travelling outside of Canada are impacted by exposure to excessive jury verdicts in the US – court verdicts where juries award plaintiffs exceptionally high amounts.
  • The enforcement of commercial truck regulations violations is inadequate.
  • Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) has yet to be implemented across Canada.
  • Training quality varies by school; there needs to be oversight, and standards need to be enforced.

Specifically, MNP concludes that the MELT program does not fully prepare drivers to operate a heavy truck in all conditions and additional one-on-one onboarding and mentorship is needed.

“The Canadian Trucking Alliance, or CTA, appreciates the opportunity to participate in IBC’s work in the commercial trucking space,” said Geoff Wood, senior VP, policy, CTA. “We look forward to working together on the items identified in this report and other projects currently underway as we develop a comprehensive road map to address key policy issues in Canada impacting trucking operations, safety, training, licensing and industry oversight.”

Other recommendations in the report include piloting the use of telematics to provide feedback to commercial truck drivers, and adopting a graduated or progressive licensing system.