I recently railed in Hooked Up about the government’s reluctance to allow 6×2 axle configurations, where power is supplied by just one of the two drive axles, saving fleets about 400 lbs per truck, which can be converted into payload or improved fuel economy. I have since run a more detailed article on the subject here.

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read it, as well as the reader comments. The government’s mishandling of this issue is hard to believe, even when your expectations of your government are extremely low. Here’s the real issue 6x2s with electronic load-shift capability – so-called ‘smart’ 6x2s – are illegal in Canada. Under an MOU signed onto by all the provinces, a 6×2 tandem axle configuration doesn’t meet the provinces’ collective definition of ‘tandem axle.’ Because the weight carried by the two axles can differ by more than 1,000 kgs when load-shift is activated in low-traction situations, the provinces think of this set-up as a ‘liftable’ axle. Even when it doesn’t lift. Even when the electronics automatically redistribute the weight evenly across the two axles at 25 mph. Even when the axle weights never exceed what is allowed under provincial regulations.

Most provinces have told stakeholders they’re willing to accept the latest-generation 6x2s. As they should. The economic and environmental benefits are hard to ignore. Ontario and Quebec bureaucrats, however, won’t budge. They say a rewrite of existing legislation is required and that’s just too burdensome a hurdle to overcome. Even though they’ve rewritten legislation many times before, often on short notice.

Instead, bureaucrats in Ontario and Quebec have seemingly shrugged their shoulders, dusted off their hands and then planted them firmly back underneath their buttocks, from whence they won’t be removed until their next fat government-issued paycheque is handed out. And that’s how I feel about that.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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