Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca used the backdrop of the Ontario Trucking Association’s 88th annual convention to make three major policy announcements – including official supports for ELDs and roll stability technology on trucks – before a crowd of about 500 industry executives on Wednesday night.
Del Duca became the first transportation minister in Canada to express support for electronic logging devices – something that OTA and the Canadian Trucking Alliance have supported for years. “Ontario also supports the concept of using Electronic Logging Devices as an effective tool for monitoring hours of service compliance by commercial motor vehicle drivers,” said Del Duca. “Ontario believes an effective ELD mandate is one that is adopted nationally, and supports the work already underway by Transport Canada to determine if ELDs should be mandated on extra provincial carriers. MTO will continue to work with Transport Canada, and our provincial-territorial colleagues to create a national solution – if a national solution is not reached, Ontario will look at other options.”
In addition, the minister responded to another major OTA/CTA safety position, stating “stability control systems, such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Roll Stability Control (RSC), are an effective tool that can help prevent rollovers and loss of control in certain types of crashes. Transport Canada is responsible for the development of manufacturing and safety standards for new and imported vehicles, including equipment required on trucks and trailers. Ontario supports the concept of mandatory ESC/RSC systems and we believe an effective mandate would be one that is designed and adopted nationally. We strongly encourage Transport Canada to develop a national standard that would require these systems on all newly manufactured large trucks and buses by a specified date.”
And finally the minister announced 12-month Longer Combination Vehicle (LCV) operations starting this year. “We’ve given consideration to extending the operating season for Long Combination Vehicles to year-round operations,” he said. “I am pleased to announce that we will be moving forward with 12-month operations for LCVs for the upcoming 2014/15 winter season. You will hear from ministry officials in the coming days about this will be rolled out.”
David Bradley, OTA president, welcomed the minister’s announcements. “These announcements, combined with the Minister Del Duca’s recent endorsement of mandatory entry level training and the introduction of legislation that allows for an extension to the maximum overall B-Train combination length, is the kind of leadership we need.”
For his part Del Duca said, “Ontario is a leader in truck safety standards and enforcement … This is in large part due to our long-standing and successful partnership with the Ontario Trucking Association.”
“You have been a truly steadfast partner in the sometimes difficult but always important task of keeping our roads safe for all road users – resulting in our shared legacy of having among the safest roads in North America … The number of deadly collisions on our roads involving large trucks has declined – despite growing truck traffic. Current statistics show an over 40 per cent decrease in the number of deaths due to collisions with large trucks. During the same time, the number of large trucks on our roads increased by almost 25 per cent.
“This is reflected in recent RoadCheck results – compliance rates now consistently hover around 80 per cent, compared to about 55 per cent in the 90s.”
“The OTA has a long and proud history of supporting our shared priorities of keeping Ontario’s roads safe – strengthening the economy – making Ontario a clean, green and prosperous place for all us,” he concluded. “As a relatively new Minister of Transportation, I consider myself fortunate to inherit such a strong and thriving relationship with the OTA.”