BOWMANVILLE, Ont. –A new pilot program will see up to 100 vehicles each totalling more than 40 metres in length hitting Ontario highways in the next few months.
Under the project, select carriers will be able to run single tractors pulling two 53-ft. trailers under certain conditions (see our cover story in this issue for full details). These vehicles, known as long combination vehicles (LCVs), have been lauded by proponents of the project as a way to reduce fuel and congestion on Ontario roads. But what do truckers think about sharing the road with these big rig behemoths? Truck West stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop to find out.
Robert Smith, a driver with Warren Transport out of Rexton, N. B., says that while he appreciates why the industry is experimenting with LCVs, he thinks they will prove to be a considerable challenge.
“It’s going to be a challenge, especially in Ontario from Napanee down into London…because the four-wheelers are not quite as forgiving as (in) some other provinces,” he says. “As far as I know, (in) most of Quebec, they’re only allowed in the right-hand lane and when you get behind some of us slow guys going about 65 kilo-metres an hour, it’s just not feasible to be right-hand lane only.”
Barry Watt, a driver with Trowbridge Transport in Stittsville, Ont., says he doesn’t have any problem with LCVs -provided they stay at a 90 km/h limit.
“I don’t have any problem with it if they’re running at 90 clicks. It shouldn’t be that hard to get by them. I mean, they’re a long vehicle, but I can’t see them going into Metro Toronto or they’d have to break them outside,” he told Truck West, adding that the money would “have to be awful good” for him to consider driving the configuration himself.
Claude Corriveau, a driver with Erb Transport based out of Trenton, Ont., says he could see stopping distances become a serious issue if the weight of the vehicle was allowed to increase.
“I see these trucks in Calgary – two, three trailers in a row -and they go slow…they take their time, there’s no problem. But here, there’s too many cars to be out playing with two trailers in a row. Too much traffic.”
Corriveau says there are enough problems trying to drive with one 53-ft. trailer without trying to pull two.
“Nobody wants to share the road with you. I drive to Toronto every day and there’s always somebody cutting in front of me, one car, two cards, three cars, bang. And the next thing you know, I don’t have my space to stop in case I have to stop, so imagine if you have two trailers. Where are the trailers going to go? Sideways.”
Jack Koszela, a driver with Frontenac Transport in Boucherville, Que., says that the use of LCVs would be good for distributors, but it could also mean that there would be fewer trucks on the road, “which is not good for us. But there’s the advantages of saving fuel, less pollution,” he says. “The disadvantage is that it’s a little more dangerous on the road. Cars on the road are going to have to realize that it’s a bigger machine -a longer, slower moving vehicle.”
John Ronchiadin, a driver with Canada Cartage, says that he’s all for the project, but that experience would have to be key in deciding who is allowed to drive them.
“You want to make sure that the right guys get behind the wheel because now you’re not pulling 53 feet of trailer, you’re pulling 106 feet,” he says.
But does the trucker of 15 years think he’s got what it takes?
“Would I do it? In a second, I’d like to try it.” •
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