Operators of B-trains will have more flexibility to spec their equipment going forward thanks to a bill introduced today in the Ontario Legislature by Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca.
Bill 31 proposes to amend the Highway Traffic Act by extending the maximum overall length of the popular B-train tractor-double trailer combination from 25 metres to 27.5 metres in order to accommodate a longer wheelbase tractor. This is necessary to accommodate more comfortable sleeper berths for drivers, animal strike guards (moose bumpers) and technologies such as auxiliary power units in order to meet more progressively stringent air quality and GHG reduction standards, says the Ontario Trucking Association.
The change does not allow for any increase in cubic carrying capacity as the box length (the distance between the front of the first trailer and the back of the second trailer) will remain at the current standard of no more than 20 metres.
David Bradley, OTA’s president and CEO, says carriers have increasingly been moving, or wishing to move to longer wheelbase tractors. He says the problem has been that the existing B-train overall length standards were introduced in 1993 and have not kept pace with subsequent environmental and safety regulations and technological developments.
“Specifying a B-train with a longer wheelbase tractor to stay within the current overall length limit is becoming next to impossible without significantly compromising the vehicle’s productivity and payload,” he says. “Moving to a maximum 27.5-metre overall length provides the necessary flexibility to accommodate longer tractors without affecting the box length or carrying capacity of these vehicles, both of which will remain at current levels.”
Ontario is the first Canadian jurisdiction to introduce this particular amendment, which is part of a recent set of changes to the national Memorandum of Understanding on Heavy Truck Weights and Dimensions agreed to at a meeting of the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety earlier this month.