Ontario driver argues against lower point thresholds for senior truckers

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At present retired after serving 34 years within the army, Francois Juneau describes himself as an occasional trucker. He has all the time cherished vans and during the last 30 years has maintained a clear document whereas driving them throughout North America.

Nonetheless, he’s satisfied the Ontario authorities doesn’t welcome senior A/Z truck drivers, citing the principles that apply to truckers over the age of 65.

Juneau obtained a rushing ticket in his Chevrolet Bolt this March, going 78 km/h in a 50 km/h zone. It meant two demerit factors in Quebec, the place the ticket was issued, however three factors in Ontario, the place he lives.

Had he realized what that meant, he says he would have fought the ticket.

Francois Juneau
Francois Juneau says senior truck drivers must be allowed the identical variety of demerit factors as youthful drivers. (Photograph: Provided)

In Ontario, truck drivers who’re 65 or older must re-take highway exams, air brake exams, and medical exams after accumulating greater than two factors. The annual medical exams are required in 4 provinces, however Ontario is the one jurisdiction that requires the re-testing with two demerit factors.

With out the demerit factors, he would solely face a data check each 5 years when renewing the licence. It additionally would have been totally different if he lived in Quebec, the place the ticket was issued. The Societe de l’assurance car du Quebec (SAAQ) says the province’s drivers face the identical level thresholds as their youthful counterparts, so no re-testing could be required aside from a medical examination that comes each two years.

Juneau says the letter he obtained from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, giving him 60 days to redo his exams, was “humiliating”. He accomplished the identical exams final yr with flying colours.

Since he determined in opposition to re-testing, his licence was downgraded to a G on July 18.

However Juneau will not be giving up and desires to battle what he believes is age discrimination, submitting a criticism to the Ontario Tribunal for Human Rights, and difficult the edge that drops senior drivers from an allowed 14 to 2 demerit factors.

“There’s no logic behind that. None in any respect. The place does expertise depend? It doesn’t,” he says.

Expertise does matter, says Rob de Pruis, nationwide director of client and trade relations on the Insurance coverage Bureau of Canada. Whereas age stays a consider insurance coverage and assessing dangers, de Pruis says that have, claims historical past, and driving document are key.

The Insurance coverage Bureau of Canada has not obtained particular considerations about senior business drivers in Ontario or different provinces, he provides.

In the meantime, Juneau notes that he can be allowed as much as 14 demerit factors on the G licence.

“Rapidly, I’m an excellent citizen once more,” he says sarcastically.

“It takes extra ability to function a transport, and the necessities must be stricter,” says Mike Millian, president of the Non-public Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC). “It’s possible you’ll be OK to function a automobile, however not a business motorcar that weighs upwards of 140,000 kilos.”

The PMTC additionally believes the stipulations to maintain a licence must be “somewhat stricter” with age, as a result of drivers can lose a few of their cognitive potential over time.

“They [drivers aged 65 and older] will not be overrepresented in accidents in comparison with the heavy car drivers typically, nor in comparison with the final drivers.”

– Sophie Roy, SAAQ

Nonetheless, in Quebec, senior heavy car drivers don’t characterize the next danger on the highway, says Sophie Roy, SAAQ’s public relations officer.

“Primarily based on our statistics, between 2016 and 2021, they [drivers aged 65 and older] will not be overrepresented in accidents in comparison with the heavy car drivers typically, nor in comparison with the final drivers within the inhabitants of the province.”

On common, 43 senior business drivers are concerned in a private damage accident yearly, says Roy.

In Manitoba, too, senior drivers face the identical thresholds as their youthful counterparts on the subject of Driver Security Information.

“Age will not be an element,” says Kristy Rydz, communications supervisor at Manitoba Public Insurance coverage.

Millian suggests it could be time for Ontario to re-assess how senior drivers have been acting on the highway because the factors thresholds had been established.

“It could possibly be argued that three factors could also be too low. We haven’t had these discussions with the province, however it’s positively a query that could possibly be raised. Perhaps it’s time to overview this coverage that’s been in place for 9 years. We now have not checked out it for fairly some time, and to be trustworthy, it’s a dialogue that must be opened up with the ministry.”

However the conversations would possibly final months and years, and one in 4 of Canada’s truck drivers are already aged 55-64, based on Trucking HR Canada.

Juneau believes powerful and “humiliating” guidelines would possibly worsen the issue of a truck driver scarcity in Ontario.

“We’re missing truck drivers. Nicely, guess what? That doesn’t assist. Have a look at all of the drivers and guess their common age – you will note a whole lot of grey hair, I’m positive.”

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