TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Ministry of Transportation yesterday invoked Phase Three of its vehicle eight and dimensions reforms, intended to reduce damage to provincial and municipal roads and bridges by commercial vehicles and reduce the number of heavy vehicle collisions, while ostensibly enhancing industry productivity.
Phase 1 and Two were previously implemented in 2001 and 2002.
Phase Three consists of a new regulation intended to cause a migration of tractor trailers to Safe, Productive, Infrastructure-Friendly (SPIF) alternatives — namely products that will cause less damage to roads and bridges. It addresses all non-dump semi-trailers with four or more axles and all double trailers. All trailers built after 2005 must meet SPIF standards, or operate at significantly reduced weights. All such trailers built prior to 2006 are grandfathered and may continue to operate for their “reasonable” operating life, which has been set at 15 years. As of 2015, non-SPIF vehicles will require a special permit to continue to operate. Permits will only be available to vehicles that are not yet 15 years old. SPIF tractor-trailers use self-steering axles instead of lift axles, to minimize road damage by equalizing weight and contribute stability on turns, as well as enhanced braking systems to minimize the risk of brake failure and warn drivers of potential problems.
The good news is that MTO will now longer apply special restrictive weights to aggregate vehicles as a result of the regulation, as long as the aggregates are being hauled in a SPIF semi-trailer, which is equipped with self-steering axles and therefor, load equalization.
SPIF semi-trailers also have a standardized maximum length of 53 feet.
As for SPIF combinations that run out of province they may be equipped with lift axles for use in other jurisdictions. And tandem and tridem axle weight increases have been extended to double trailers to further improve harmonization of rules with Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Tri-drive tractors have been introduced for situations where greater traction is needed.
Also changed due to the new regulation is the amount of weight which axles with wide single tires will be able to bear. They will be allowed to bear up to 8,000 kg, which is 2,000 kg higher than previously allowed. A copy of the new Regulation 413/05, should be available next week at http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/ Under the listing for the Highway Traffic Act look for the regulation titled “Vehicle Weights and Dimensions — for Safe, productive, Infrastructure-Friendly Vehicles.”
For further details on the new regulation see the upcoming issue of Truck News.
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