As previously reported, OTA had spearheaded the lobby efforts with the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to allow for the use of smart lift-axles (SML) on semi-trailers and for the use of longer tractors (up to 6.8 metre wheel-base) pulling multi-axle semi-trailers.
In a letter received by OTA late last week, MTO has officially formalized permit programs for both these initiatives. The permit process is the first step toward moving forward on regulatory developments and expedites the opportunity for carriers to address these technologies in a shorter timeframe.
The new permit allowances meet all the requirements of MTO’s safe, productive and infrastructure friendly weights and dimensions regime (SPIF) and sets the stage for more flexibly in spec’ing tractors that can accommodate modern sleeper-berths while meeting new emissions standards as well incorporating allowances for smart lift-axles on semi-trailers that reduces GHG. (See more details in the Fact Sheet below)
“The OTA team approached MTO with a responsible plan and research that clearly demonstrated the benefits of these technologies. We are very happy with the outcome,” said Geoff Wood, senior VP, Policy, Ontario Trucking Association.
Over the next 4-6 weeks, the team in MTO’s Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch will be working toward introducing Special Vehicle Configuration (SVC) permit regimes for both initiatives. The SML permit regime will allow permits to be granted based on Vehicle Identification Number(s) relating to the semi-trailer or semi-trailer sets, while Long Wheelbase tractor permits will be distributed on a fleet basis, meaning a single permit can be copied and utilized throughout the fleet of tractors and semitrailers.
To move these issues forward OTA was tasked with providing extensive and credible research and analysis including development of a full business/environmental case, technical and safety analysis, review of approaches and experiences in other jurisdictions and a suggested regulatory approach for Ontario. OTA achieved this through a collaborative effort with input from its membership, in house weights and dimensions team and other industry experts.
“It is important to our membership that the Ontario weights and dimensions regime allows innovation and investment in technologies that carriers want to use, and that we can demonstrate the technologies can be responsibly introduced in the province” said Wood.
Smart Lift Axles (SMLs) in axle groupings on semitrailer and double-trailer configurations.
- The on-board scale system incorporated into SML must be programmed to read the weight on the tandem / tridem / quadruple axle grouping, the system must automatically raise or deploy one, two or three of the axles of the tandem, tridem and quadruple axle. There must be no driver intervention to raise the axle, but the driver is allowed controls to deploy the axle. Finally, the default, if the system fails for any reason, is to keep the axle in the deployed position.
- Long wheelbase tractors on Safe, Productive, and Infrastructure-Friendly vehicle Schedule’s 2 through 7.
- Tractors with wheelbase up to 6.8 metres in all the current Regulation 413/05 Vehicle Weights and Dimensions for Safe, Productive, and Infrastructure-Friendly (SPIF) vehicle compliant tandem drive tractor multi-axle semitrailer configurations. To accommodate longer wheelbase tractors, a trade-off must be made with semitrailer wheelbase. The same trade-off table utilized for SPIF 1 will be utilized for SPIF 2 to 7.
Details on a webinar with MTO on the new permits will be forthcoming in the OTA newsletter.
Over the course of the next few weeks, OTA will be completing an analysis of jurisdictions where SLA’s and the longer tractors are able to operate.
OTA members interested in receiving a copy of the analysis or have additional questions on these initiatives can email firstname.lastname@example.org