MELT a new truck driver training standard

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MELT truck driver training standards introduced

MELT is short for Mandatory Entry Level Training, a new national truck driver training standard. Geared towards training new commercial truck drivers, the MELT program gives more traction to sensible road safety. Training, as well as requirements for electronic logging devices (ELDs), are both part of a new national program announced by federal Transport Minister, Marc Garneau.

MELT is not capable of melting away winter, but it is good news for road safety.

Last year, the Humbolt Broncos’ tragic bus collision with a transport truck revealed the lack of mandatory commercial truck driver training in Saskatchewan. Improving road safety and training policies are good things that have happened since.

Licensing and driver training requirements for commercial truck drivers are handled by Provinces. The investigation into the Humbolt Broncos collision revealed the gaps in mandatory or voluntary training of commercial drivers across the country. Training, licensing, age and experience are clear factors in road safety and collision prevention. To many it was surprising that someone with no formal training could be driving an 18-wheeler.

Motivated by safety

Announcing the MELT truck driver training program earlier this year, Federal Transport Minister, Marc Garneau said the new mandatory minimum standards will take effect by Jan. 1, 2020. Paving the way to enhanced road safety, this is the first time there will be the same national standards.

This was motivated by the need for highway safety, said  Marc Garneau, federal Transport Minister. The announcement earlier this year also included enhanced road safety for impaired and distracted driving.

Roadmap by the Canadian Trucking Alliance

MELT mandatory entry level training for truck drivers introducedSupport from provincial counterparts, the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety, and by the commercial trucking industry made this new national driver training standard possible.

Created in 2018, the The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) launched a national vision for truck safety in Canada. The existing program in Ontario and new requirements in Saskatchewan and Alberta will join to form the national MELT standard.

Adoption into the National Safety Code is expected by the end of this year.

It’s a historic day for our industry to see all provinces committed to creating a national training standard— Scott Smith, Chair, Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Representing 4,500 commercial truck drivers, the CTA is a federation of provincial trucking associations. CTA endorsed the collaboration between trucking industry, federal and provincial governments. It is the first time Canada will have a national harmonized truck driver training standard.

Digital Trucking

MELT and e-logs part of new truck safety program announcedAlso coming to Canada by 2020 are new e-log standards for commercial trucks. These are technical standards for Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), or e-logs.

Canada lags several years behind the United States in e-logging standards, which were finalized there in late 2015.  There are two general types of ELD devices on the market: basic and enhanced. Basic devices or simple hardware and apps cost less, and are geared to independent truckers, and meet basic e-log compliance standards. Commercial fleet operators can choose devices with enhanced data collection, mileage tracking, and the all-important arrival time.

Working like many wireless devices, most ELDs connect to cellular networks and GPS, then store data in the cloud. Using an app on their phone, truckers can connect it using Bluetooth to their vehicle’s engine. Read a comparison chart of ELD devices published by the Commercial Carrier Journal.

What do e-logs record?

When in motion, an electronic logging device must record these minimum data points on an hourly basis:

  • date, time, location
  • engine hours, vehicle miles
  • identification of the driver, carrier and vehicle

E-logs are part of the new digital trucking era, and can enhance road safety. However, the launch of ELD’s in the US has not been without concerns since some devices still do not meet standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A survey of independent drivers showed more than 80% had not installed an ELD before the deadline of December 18, 2018. Reports also say enforcement of e-log requirements has been ineffective so far.

We are committed to working with all governments on a third-party certified ELD mandate— said CTA president Stephen Laskowski, setting an example for commercial carriers and drivers in Canada.

MELT is a new mandatory national training program for entry level commercial truck drivers in Canada. Electronic logging devices will also become mandatory on commercial trucks, and both will take effect nationally on January 1, 2020.

Turning the Humbolt tragedy into positive action will add to improved road safety across Canada. We support these steps taken by federal and provincial governments and the commercial trucking industry. It is the least we could do to prevent another Humbolt Broncos crash.