VIEWPOINT - Too Easy To Get A Class 1
Once upon a time, there was a 33 year old guy in town, who decided he wanted to get a class 1 license. Since I have trucks, and my instructors certification, (albeit from...Alberta) he asked me if I would spend some time with him while he drove one of my trucks.
I ended up going out 4 times with him, 2 to 3 hours each time.
The first time, was an utter disaster, but hey, it's his first try. We went over some pointers, one was that we discussed why shift points are best made progressively, how to use the tach to help shift up or down, and the fact that we were not in a speed trial.
Second trip, same as the first. I consoled him with the fact that it takes time to become confident with shifting, and with operating a big truck. We went through some of the most glaring issues, and I took the wheel for a bit, to show how things can be. We switched again, and it was right back to the Indy 500. I mean, this guy tried to grab 9 gears in the parking lot! (9 because he never even tried to split the gears, on an 18 speed.) He ran up over the curb, he ground every gear, he used Mexican overdrive on a steep hill, (in TOWN!) he narrowly missed ripping a woman's door off, downtown. I was beginning to wonder if my truck would be damaged by the abuse.
3rd trip. Like the first 2. I gave him some homework....read the ICBC manual for large commercial vehicles. When we met for the 4th time, he said he "didn't have f***ing time" to look at the book.
4th trip. He informs me that he has booked a road test. I help him hook up to (or should I say...crash under) a loaded trailer. I thought this might help with shifting somewhat, and maybe the weight would cut down on the race car end of things. Nope. The addition of the trailer completely undid him. We spent more time lurching into gear, and rolling backwards, than we did travelling forward. By absolute fluke, he made a shift here and there, and crowed about it loudly. I was getting the feeling I was wasting my time, and harming my equipment in the process. (Never mind the fact that my name is on the door, and both sides of the trailer.)
It took a Herculean effort to go the full 2 hours, and I mumbled something about having priorities elsewhere, and cut this horror story short.
Theres no way to express my shock and dismay, when he called me later to say he got his license, with only a demerit for failing to cancel his signal.
I questioned the test, and he told me the pretrip lasted 10 minutes, and that he "froze....I couldn't remember anything". Apparently the instructor told him he would "figure it out" how to shift, he was never asked to hookup or unhook from the trailer, and never went out of town, on the highway, or any of the side streets. No backing up, no hill start, no.....anything really.
He said the whole road test took less than 20 minutes.
I wouldn't let that guy drive my wheelbarrow across the street, and he's out there with a license to kill.
This is one of the reasons some people are scared of trucks. Because they have seen trucks driven by people who are not qualified to operate them.
I have always said, there is a million drivers out there, and very few OPERATORS. Any idiot can shift a truck. Well, maybe not.
All I know is, this guy should not have that license, and ICBC's employee, is either blind and deaf, got paid off, or needs to lose his job. (Which ain't a half bad idea...how could I facilitate that?)
i just CANNOT believe that this guy got his license. Then again, I see guys like him going down the road everyday.
Driving truck needs to attain Trade status. A class 1 license should be earned, not gotten from the bottom of Cracker Jack boxes.