I am trying with my MLA' s help to effect changes to the Classes of driver licenses needed to drive an RV or 5th wheel. I believe that an endorsement to a basic G license would be more in line with what the rest of America is doing rather than the commercial D license we now have to get for a RV over 11,000 Kg. or an A license for 5th wheels greater than 4,600 Kg. Here is a copy of my opening salvo. I need help to effect those changes and do not know where to go for help. Anybody can contact me if they feel they can help or have connections with the MTO . The situation is really a mess.
Dr.J.R.Lafrance 850 Chelsea Crescent Cornwall ON K6H 6Y5 Canada
1-(613) 933 2690 Home 1-(613) 551 3707 Cell 1-(613) 933 1884 Fax E-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan. 24th 2011
I have discussed this issue with you personally. The issue at stake here is the case of the different classes of driver licenses needed to operate Recreational Vehicles ( RV ) in Ontario. While I fully understand the rationale for establishing safety rules regarding this issue, I believe that the said rules are intransigent, confusing and arbitrarily restrictive to RV owners when compared with other jurisdictions even those that the MOT professes to emulate.
I have discussed this issue with many RV owners and organizations and found nothing but confusion and avoidance of acquiring the proper license because of unduly restrictive rules. Indeed, the majority of large RV owners are now driving unqualified because of ignorance of the rules or the difficulties to be overcome along the way. This is not attaining any of the MOT goals and making it very onerous on those of us who want to do things the legal way.
I will try to walk you through the maze we have to ply through when buying a large RV or 5th wheel. Ontario law, unlike any other jurisdiction in America, at present requires drivers to get either a commercial D license for an RV or a commercial AR license for heavy 5th wheels. Both of these licenses are commercial ones while the RVâ€™s are used privately. First, the dealers will not volunteer to tell us the requirements needed to drive the vehicle we are buying or, worst, will tell us that we do not need any special endorsements or licenses to drive it. It may not be their duty to tell us but it sure is selling under false pretense if they give us erroneous information in order to make a sale.
Next, we see an insurance broker or approach an insurance company directly. They do not know what weight of vehicle we bought, so they dutifully sell us insurance without asking. Maybe they should. We might not know that we need an air brake endorsement, so that maybe all we do and go drive illegally with a G license and no air brake endorsement. Or we may go to the MOT for a brake endorsement. They, again not knowing the weight of the vehicle we are applying for might just give us what we are asking for and we go driving illegally with a GZ license. If we know better and mention that we need a DZ license to the insurer, we are often told verbally just like at the dealer that we do not need it to be insured. If we read the fine print or again know better and ask them to put it in writing, somebody finally smartens up and tell us in no uncertain term, what we should have been told long ago, that we need to be properly licensed to be insured. Therefore a D license is required. Why so much confusion? Nobody would think of driving a motorcycle without an M license. No confusion there with anybody: MOT, police, dealers, insurance etc...
Some insurance broker, even with full knowledge of the facts, will tell you verbally that insurance would not be denied with a G license in case of an accident and will insure you. There are 2 things wrong with the insured accepting this scenario: first, a broker cannot bind an insurance company verbally or otherwise. Only your insurance policy is the legal contract. Secondly, if you have an accident with a multi million dollar suit and are driving with an invalid driver license, the insurance company might disown you or if they have to pay, they will sue you back to recuperate the costs as you were not qualified to drive the vehicle you were in. I, for one would not want to risk my life savings on that.
If anybody so wish, some fool might just take that chance and get away with it. The ignorance or conspiracy of silence is such on this issue by all concerned (MOT, police, dealers, insurance companies, drivers etc...) that citizen have been getting away with it.
Which brings me to the MOT role in all this. To their credit, some employees will tell you the law and tell you to deal with it in whatever fashion you see fit. Thatâ€™s all right except that the rules are not conducive to drivers wanting to comply with the law. The MOT requires a medical to pass a commercial D license whereas other jurisdictions do not at least for private RVâ€™s. Even New York who the MOT purports to imitate is not as demanding as Ontario. NY distinguishes between a private license for a RV and a commercial license by using an R endorsement for RV that can be added to their regular license without a medical or even a written test. Quebec makes an exception for RV as most other provinces and states do. By contrast, the MOT does not do that and forces the RV driver with a G license to meet the same requirements as a commercial driver.
In the case of a 5th wheel, it means having to have yearly medical, written and road test to acquire and keep an AR license. In the case of a D license, it means having a medical and long delays for trivial details that would not be needed in other jurisdictions like Quebec and NY and most other provinces and states. Also, it means being subjected to extra tests like electrocardiograms that are already experiencing waiting lists of months taxing our already crumbling health care, costing tax payers useless expenses and submitting the RV owner to even longer delays of many months that often results on them having to forgo their winter plans. That is where the inflexible rules are fostering this climate of avoidance that permeates the whole industry. Hiding your head in the sand is not a good way to deal with problems.
I suggest that a new endorsement (R is a good name as it is for RV ) similar to NY be introduced that would allow all the present illegal drivers to easily legalize themselves by passing an easy road test the skill for which they already possess. New drivers would have to acquire the skills which would alleviate the safety concerns some might have while outlining the difference between a private and commercial license like NY, Texas etc...do. Another way would be to introduce an exception for RV,s like in other provinces but that does not pass the safety concerns. Either way, MOT has to devise a way to differentiate between a private and a commercial license. Itâ€™s long overdue and not making this differentiation helped to foster this poisonous climate.
In summary, the present situation is absurd and does not serve the population well. It does not differentiate between private and commercial licenses and thus entice people in circumventing the law which is what thousands of Ontarians are doing out of frustration. A quick, easy, fair and safe alternative is what I have outlined with the adoption of an R endorsement to be added to our existing G licenses instead of having to be bagged in the same group as commercial full timers. Being a retired doctor, a RV owner and knowledgeable of the facts, I would consider acting on committees to effect such changes. I have included copies of NY state R endorsement regulations and a Texas RV exemption form along with requirements for all other provinces. These demonstrate that Ontario is demanding more than any other jurisdictions. FMCA magazine, an RV publication, published a complete list of state and provincial requirements as a beginning to arrive at a rational decision on that matter. Why should Ontario and Ontario alone punish their own citizens? It sure is not in the name of safety as everybody else can drive with inferior standards on our roads. Letâ€™s fix this mess once and for all.