As previously reported by OTA, lobby efforts by the association have been underway for several years to extend the overall length of b-train configurations to allow for longer tractors.
The change will accommodate environmental technologies to meet more progressively stringent federal air quality and GHG emissions mandates (e.g., auxiliary power units, LNG tractors); enhance driver wellness/comfort and promote better fatigue management and compliance with hours of service regulations (more comfortable sleeper berths); and accommodate animal strike guards (moose bumpers). The changes to b-trains only pertain to tractor length – the cargo carrying capacity of the configuration remains capped with a 20 metre box length.
In addition, simultaneous work has been happening on the boat-tail front to allow the use of this technology in Ontario. Both initiatives being dealt with by OTA and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) are part of larger efforts by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) and the Council of Deputy Ministers National Weights and Dimensions Task Force to bring these necessary changes across all jurisdictions in Canada to allow the free flow of equipment from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
To meet industry demands and provide flexibility to act on the issues in lieu of regulations MTO introduced a permit regime for b-trains with longer tractors (in effect since January 2015) and adopted an enforcement deferral for boat tails (since August 2014). Effective Friday February 5, 2016, both items will be moved into Ontario regulation, meaning permits will no longer be required for b-trains operating up to 27.5 metres overall length with tractor wheel bases allowed up to 6.8 metres and the enforcement deferral for boat tails will simply transition into law.
For full details of the changes including key dimensional limits and restrictions for both b-trains and boat tails, please refer to Schedule 12 (for b-trains) and Section 36 (for boat tails) in Ontario Regulation 413/05
In terms of a jurisdictional scan across the country on where b-trains and boat tails sit, OTA understands the majority of jurisdictions currently offer permits/enforcement deferral or have adopted in regulation, but there are some jurisdictions who have not moved forward on some aspects. OTA will be compiling this information shortly and sharing it with the membership in the weekly newsletter.
OTA members with questions can contact weights&[email protected]