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Does it alarm you that the big-rig speeding down the highway may be driven by someone who barely scraped by their provincial AZ license test without ever having to drive on the highway? It should.

A recent Toronto Star article shed light on a dangerous reality that puts drivers and truckers across Ontario and beyond at risk on the road: big-truck ‘licensing mills’.

Unregulated driving schools with attractive $999 or below rates churn out poorly prepared drivers. By charging less than the $1000 threshold set by the province of Ontario for regulated courses, these “licensing mills” successfully avoid government scrutiny. The programs can be completed over a few days with as few as 10 hours of on-the-road truck experience.

They take advantage of students and put drivers on the road without the experience and skill necessary to safely navigate a commercial vehicle carrying up to 36,000 kilograms of often dangerous freight at up to 105 kilometers an hour.

With up to 4,000 collisions involving tractor-trailers being reported each year – many of which are deadly and avoidable – responsible driving schools are asking how this number can be curbed.

The Ontario Trucking Association is pushing to introduce industry-designed instruction that would be required province wide, across the board. Drivers applying for their AZ license should also be asked where – and if – they received their driver’s training prior to booking their provincial road test. Those without documentation from accredited training programs should be turned away.

In the meantime, the burden of responsibility falls on potential drivers who need to choose their driving school responsibly. They can demand an education that arms them with the skills that they’ll need to do more than just pass a road test. Many drivers already recognize that going with a reputable driving school gives them a strong advantage when applying for jobs at top trucking companies.

Students should look for an Ontario-accredited driving school with a minimum of 200 hours of training, at least 50 of which should be on the road!

Schools that provide ministry-approved programming come at greater cost than licensing mills, but it’s a worthwhile investment. Canada is facing a driver shortage and there is a demand for properly trained entry-level drivers.

A subsidiary of Musket Transportation Ltd., CHET Truck Training School delivers the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU) mandated program that offers quality high-level driver’s training. The program boasts a combination of classroom education and hands-on in-truck training delivery 1 on 1 by certified instructors.

CHET has over 15 years of experience preparing and educating tomorrow’s truck drivers. Becoming more than just AZ road test-ready, CHET drivers learn such skills as map reading, trip planning, understanding basic mechanical issues, transportation of dangerous goods, and much more.

After drivers successfully complete the CHET program, they are issued a certificate equivalent to two to three years of driving experience, leading to greater hirability and higher salaries. CHET also often offers employment to its graduates at The Musket Transportation Ltd., Ontario’s largest intermodal carrier.

Contact us to learn more about CHET’s flexible, affordable programs.