Ontario to cut red tape for commercial drivers 65 and older

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 2/28/2012

After many years, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has agreed to end the practice of requiring commercial drivers 65 and older to test annually to keep their licenses. The action cuts red tape for the ministry and for experienced drivers who will undergo only the written test every five years if they are between 65 and 79.

Ontario Minister of Transportation Bob Chiarelli announced amendments to the Highway Traffic Act in a letter to industry stakeholders and via the province’s Regulatory Registry on Monday, Feb. 27.

The changes will take driver experience into account by requiring air-brake testing only when a road test is required. That way, drivers are not treated as entry-level just because they hit 65.

Annual testing will still be required if a driver is involved in an at-fault collision or accumulates three demerit points on his or her license.

The Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada and the Ontario Trucking Association commended Chiarelli for making the changes. Chiarelli informed the associations back in December 2011 that changes were on the way based on their input.

In comments to the ministry at that time, OBAC Executive Director Joanne Ritchie said the existing rules were costly for drivers and did nothing to test for conditions associated with aging.

“Forcing a driver with perhaps 30 or 40 years of experience to complete the entry-level driver’s exam does nothing to test for conditions that could be associated with aging,” she stated.

According to the registry notice, the Ministry of Transportation will accept public comments on the amendments through April 11.

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