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Highway 11 issues due to training of some transport drivers

'I have talked to lots of drivers of many different races, and there are good drivers in all groups'
20210520 Highway 11 north transport Nickolas Cepesko(1)
NDP MPP John Vanthof dismisses the idea that it is new Canadians who are behind the wheels of the transports who are untrained.

CHARLTON-DACK, Ont. — Northern municipalities are being given an opportunity to share their concerns with Timiskaming-Cochrane NDP MPP John Vanthof.

He met with the council and staff of the Municipality of Charlton and Dack at their Feb. 6 meeting. 

One of the topics discussed was that of transport traffic on Highway 11. The issue was raised by Coun. Debbie Veerman, who expressed concern about the possible impact on highway safety.

Vanthof responded that there is an issue with the training being provided to some of the transport drivers. He dismissed the idea that it is new Canadians who are behind the wheels of the transports that are untrained.

"I have talked to lots of drivers of many different races," he said, and there are good drivers in all groups.

He pointed out, though, that there is not the level of accidents occurring on Highway 401 as there are on Highway 11.

"The training is there," he said of the drivers who are on the southern Ontario highway.

"I don't see the problems there that I see here and I think that is a lack of training."

One of the problems he thinks exists is that some trucking companies are training their own drivers. However, it’s the government that’s responsible for regulating the drivers.

Transport drivers also do not like Highway 11 and its challenges, including a lack of rest stops, he pointed out. It is an unpopular route for truckers and given a choice, truckers with seniority in a company will take the southern Ontario routes while the newer truckers will get the northern routes, he explained.

"I hear lots of complaints about this area from truckers. They don't like this area."

One of the comments he hears is that even though Highway 11 is part of the Trans-Canada Highway, local drivers treat it as if it is a country road, he noted.

Charlton-Dack Reeve Sandra Parkins, who is licensed to drive a transport, and has experience driving in both southern and northern Ontario, agreed.

“When you come up here, it’s a different beast. There’s moose and rock cuts.”

Vanthof said he was pleased that the provincial government agreed to improve the snow removal standards for Highway 11. He said the goal now is to make sure the contractors have the resources to meet the requirements.

Darlene Wroe is a Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) reporter with the Temiskaming Speaker. The LJI program is funded by the Government of Canada.