Transit- Bus drivers should have more frequent medical exams: MPP

Posted: October 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Sept. 30, 2013

OTTAWA — The Progressive Conservatives’ former transportation critic is pushing for more frequent medical exams to monitor the health of Ontario bus drivers.

The province’s transportation ministry currently requires bus drivers under the age of 46 to submit a medical report every five years.

Drivers older than 46 have medical checkups every three years, which MPP Frank Klees said isn’t enough.

“I think we should have that discussion. It’s worth reviewing those requirements, those regulations, and then take the appropriate steps,” said Klees, who also served briefly as the transportation minister in 2003.

Klees, who was shuffled on Monday from transportation critic to infrastructure critic, said Transport Canada requires commercial pilots to have a medical exam every year if they are under 40 or every six months for older pilots.

Since both bus drivers and pilots are responsible for the lives of the passengers they transport, the same requirement could be applied to bus operators, Klees said.

Craig Watson, the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union local 279, said OC Transpo drivers would gladly adopt a more frequent medical exam.

However, a change to the ministry of transportation requirements for bus drivers would likely be pricey, Watson said.

“I think it’s a cost the taxpayers don’t need to bear,” he said.

Watson pointed out that bus drivers who voluntarily get an annual physical are undergoing a medical exam once a year.

Even during an annual physical, a doctor is required to report any changes to driver’s health to the ministry.

“If there is anything wrong with us, the doctor pulls our licence,” Watson said.

The call for more frequent medical exams is a “knee-jerk reaction” in response to last month’s OC Transpo crash that killed six people, Watson said.

The Transportation Safety Board investigation has not yet determined what caused the crash, he said.

But Klees said his push for more frequent medical examinations does not stem from the OC Transpo bus tragedy.

“I just really think that this is something that should be looked at,” Klees said.

via Bus drivers should have more frequent medical exams: MPP.

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