In a 2018 budget consultation in Thornhill today, the Ontario Trucking Association pressed the Ontario government to prioritize support for green trucking technology and alternative fuels, increase truck parking and rest areas across the province and work with industry to promote advanced driver safety technology and road safety oversight programs, among other initiatives.
As the key stakeholder throughout the development of the Green Commercial Vehicles Program, OTA commended the province for reinvesting carbon fees paid by the trucking industry back into the sector in the form of rebates for fuel-saving devices and natural gas and electric-powered vehicles.
Addressing MPP Yvan Baker, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Finance; Minister of Economic Development & Growth Steven Del Duca, Environment Minister Chris Ballard; Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science: and Helena Jaczek Community and Social Services Minister, OTA’s Geoff Wood stressed that low carbon programs should reflect the realities of the modern supply chain. He added further research is necessary to determine which alternative fuel options are best suited specifically for short and long-haul trucking operations. He called on government to work with OTA and manufacturers to develop an “investment road map” so that a wide variety of sectors of the industry can take advantage of the array of available green trucking technologies.
Wood also pointed out at the consultation that Ontario’s shortage of safe truck parking and rest areas could be exacerbated by the introduction of mandatory electronic logging devices, which will eliminate the ability of rogue carriers who use multiple paper logbooks to run beyond their allowable hours of service.
“The long-awaited introduction of ELDs will make our highways and roads much safer, but this effort needs to be matched with the availability of suitable parking for drivers who are approaching their driving time limits while in the province,” said Wood, who urged the government to fund the expansion of truck parking in Ontario.
“Our hard-working professional truck operators need suitable parking options to meet their mandatory rest requirements. There are cost-effective, short, medium and long-term solutions on the table.”
Moving on to the issue of truck and highway safety, Wood applauded the government for its recent efforts on enforcement and monitoring programs, specifically the smart truck inspection station pilot. He said the next step is to continue focusing resources on unsafe fleet operators while also rewarding companies with a proven track record of investing in safety.
One way to ensure Ontario remains one of the safest transportation jurisdictions in North America is to promote and incentivize the adoption of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems & Vehicle (ADAS) vehicle technologies, such as lane departure warning, forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
These and other technologies, which are just starting to make their way into the commercial vehicle market, have shown they can dramatically reduce several types of common collisions involving commercial trucks.
“With the potential to reduce a majority of serious commercial vehicle collisions, a program supporting higher adoption rates of these technologies would be a huge benefit to the industry as well as the travelling public,” said Wood.