EDITORIAL: What I Didn’t Know About Truck Drivers

By: Karen Hazan

I’ve worked in the office at Canada Cartage for a few years now, but recently decided to take our truck driver orientation/training program to gain some more insight into Canada Cartage and our various safety procedures and requirements.

I showed up at 6:30 a.m. on a Monday morning, pen and paper in hand, wearing my safety boots – eager to start the orientation training to cover some basics that all our drivers need to go through when operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

After brief introductions, we got started; and for three days straight, we listened intently, learned, and tested our knowledge with regular quizzes. The training was extensive, informative, and exhausting. Luckily, we had knowledgeable and engaging trainers that kept it interesting. Our training included:

  • Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations and Driver Daily Log
  • Carrier Profile System (CVOR)
  • Accident/Injury Reporting, Accident Review Committee
  • Slips, Trips and Falls & 3 point contact
  • Safe Lifting and Carrying
  • Site Orientation (Truck & Trailer Yard, Garage, Central Dispatch)
  • Decision Driving
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods
  • Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS)
  • Pre-Trip Inspection Requirements in classroom and practical
  • Wheel Re-torque Policy
  • Safe Lift Gate
  • Manual Pump Truck Operation

At the end of each long day, I sat there wondering how difficult it would be to know and practice this stuff every single day. Working through the HOS and daily driver log on the first morning was enough to make my head spin. But, the drivers took it all in stride.

Truck drivers work hard – very hard. They assume risk and liability when getting behind the wheel every single day. They need to track their hours to ensure they are compliant with HOS regulations and ensure their trucks and trailers are properly inspected, even when it’s -40 °C outside. If not, they can be fined – or worse.

I would argue that truck drivers are some of the best drivers on the road. Imagine driving a vehicle that weighs up to 140,000 lbs! Transports have several blind spots, can take significant distance to come to a complete stop, and countless additional operating and safety requirements for equipment and drivers. Throw in some bad weather and impatient car drivers, and it only gets harder.

Good truck drivers need to be patient, think quickly, drive defensively, ensure their paperwork is in order, prepare and inspect their CMV, understand the company’s and customer’s requirements, work safely, secure their load, understand WHMIS, and the regulations for transporting dangerous goods, just to name a few…

I have a new-found appreciation and respect for truck drivers and I only went through a small portion of their training. Their job isn’t easy. Yet, I met a couple of Canada Cartage drivers recently with over 30 years of experience who had permanent smiles on their face. You could tell they loved their job and were very proud…and they should be.

I hope that the next time you see a truck driver on the road, you will be patient, give them their space, and thank them for their hard work and expertise that helps keep our roads safe. I know I will.

Karen Hazan is the Director of Marketing for Canada Cartage

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