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Why Long and Tall Still Makes Sense

I was intrigued by Jim Hebe's comments at a recent TMC meeting held in Florida. There are a lot of reasons why "long and tall" should be dead, but Jim Hebe in his keynote address to TMC missed the mark on this one and I would like to take...


I was intrigued by Jim Hebe’s comments at a recent TMC meeting held in Florida. There are a lot of reasons why “long and tall” should be dead, but Jim Hebe in his keynote address to TMC missed the mark on this one and I would like to take issue.

Many years back, the Western Highway Institute argued that longer wheelbase trucks gave additional stability in the mountains and on low coefficient friction roads, preventing instability, jackknife leading to roll-over and possible death.

These long-loved conventionals didn’t gain popularity with O/Os and fleets for nothing. WHI was at the forefront of truck safety in those days. They were right-on to promote the longer wheelbase conventional as a good safety measure. If Jim thinks we are going back to 42″ sleepers and 187″ WB or similar spec’s, he’s got to be kidding, reacting to the difficult times in which we find ourselves.

Yes, there are stability systems being touted by industry and NHTSA -these are not needed. However, only a “new” approach to the relationship between tractor and semi-trailer will eliminate the instability many truck drivers and O/Os face while out on the open road. And while these challenges exist, the long and the tall will remain.

We, along with others, have looked at the problem of the long and the tall and can’t help thinking the Europeans have us in their sights. But guess what: they too struggle with this instability; it’s just that they are forced to undertake tractor/trailer configurations that conform to the TUF off-tracking formula which forces truckers into cab-over.

No, Jim Hebe is wrong on this one. The long and the tall will be with us for many years to come and that’s for sure!

If industry was to adopt the new super accord semi-trailer configuration, which holds great promise for the future of trucking, then and only then Jim may have a point. In today’s market and present- day operating ratios, cap costs, fuel costs, lack of competent drivers and their recognition as professionals, put this all in a nutshell, the future could turn into a positive if we make the switch.

N. Royce Curry President

National Zephyr Research Burlington, Ont.

Wake up to the specific needs of LCV drivers

I am most concerned about our industry. It seems the more advanced and green the trucking industry gets, the farther behind the local, provincial and federal governments get. The LCV traffic in Western Canada has more than tripled in the last six months, making freight movement more efficient and greener. The problem I am having is the more LCV’s that go on the road, the less parking spots they have. These units need a lot of room to manoeuvre, so they usually use the wider shoulders to park so they can go get coffee, food or take washroom break. The places in which most of these units can stop have put up no parking signs (Brandon Man., Virden, Man., Swift Current, Sask., Strathmore, Alta.) These are just the ones that come to mind as I am writing this. I have been driving for 40 years and have not seen an industry that has come so far with technology, but has gone so far backwards in the political aspect. Instead of these “no parking” signs, the governments of these provinces should be looking for contractors who would build service centres capable of easy off and easy on ramps, plus plenty of LCV parking for the drivers who want to eat, sleep, fuel or just take a break.

These service plazas should be no more than 100 km apart as these units have to stop more often to check out their equipment as per government law. So Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta: get with the program, build these places, put out tenders for companies that would like to be part of this, for example, Tim Hortons, Wendy’s, Subway, etc. As of right now, these units have to stop in little pull-offs on the side of the road or rest areas without all the conveniences, or fuel at some of the truck stops and then get told they can fuel but they cannot park there to eat or sleep because they are too big and take up too much room so they have to leave. Isn’t that a double standard? Wake up North America; we are your lifeline.

Mike Jarvis

Penner International Steinbach, Man.


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Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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