Ontario to roll out scale bypass technologies

LONDON, Ont. – Ontario will become the second province to implement scale bypass technology from Drivewyze, and will also spend more than $8 million over the next 10 years to pre-screen trucks at weigh stations.

The announcements were made at Rosedale Group’s London, Ont., shop by Ontario Transport Minister Jeff Yurek. He was accompanied by representatives from Drivewyze, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC), and others from the trucking industry. The use of technology to streamline inspections will help enforcement officers zero in on high-risk trucks, while bringing cost and time savings to compliant carriers, Yurek said.

Jeff Yurek, Ontario Transport Minister

The move is part of the Conservative government’s aim to reduce red tape and make the province more business-friendly.

“With the help of pre-clearance and pre-screening technology, trucks that have been pre-cleared will not have to stop at the truck inspection station. This will reduce delays, get goods to market faster and improve safety,” said Yurek. “With this new technology, we are once again demonstrating how our government is making it easier for industry across North America to do business in Ontario.”

Drivewyze pre-clearance is already used at more than 700 sites in 42 states and now two provinces, the other being Alberta. The service is integrated with about a dozen telematics and electronic logging device (ELD) providers, which serve as resellers, but it can also be operated using a standalone app on Apple or Android devices. It will cost operators about $14 per month for each truck, which, according to Doug Johnson, vice-president of marketing with Drivewyze, is generally recouped through just one scale bypass. The savings come from increased productivity from not having to stop, and the conservation of extra fuel required to slow the truck down, crawl through the scale, and then return to highway speed.

Several Ontario fleets have been piloting the system in recent months.

“Being able to use Drivewyze in Ontario is huge for us,” said Aslan Motahedin, director of MIS for XTL. “The primary reason we’re using Drivewyze is to make our drivers’ lives easier. Drivers like to drive, and they don’t want interruptions to their day. Since we’re a very safe fleet and have excellent bypass rates, we will now be able to gain bypasses in Ontario.”

“We feel anything we can do to make life on the road a little easier for our drivers, the better,” added Amy Barber, risk manager with Contrans Flatbed Group, which also beta-tested the platform.

Johnson told Trucknews.com that, as of March 1, any fleet with a CVOR – those plated in Ontario and from the U.S. with authority to operate here – will be able to enroll. Their bypass frequency will depend on their CVOR record. Every operator who’s a member will be subject to random inspections, but Johnson said a well-run fleet can expect to bypass weigh stations about 90% of the time.

In addition to pre-clearance, the province announced a major invesment to test pre-screening at four Ontario weigh stations: Lancaster, Whitby/Oshawa, Putnam South, and Vineland. This will incorporate Intelligent Imaging System (IIS) technology incorporating thermal imaging, dangerous goods placard reading, CVSA sticker reading, and US DoT number reading, to determine whether or not a truck approaching the scale should be called in for inspection.

This will help enforcement officers focus their attention on trucks that are more likely to contain defects, Yurek explained. For example, thermal imaging can detect overheated brakes, which may point to defects or potentially imminent wheel separations.

“Wheels coming off at highway speeds, it’s very dangerous, and this is a system that helps reduce that,” Johnson said.

But Yurek was quick to point out the technology will not result in more lax enforcement standards.

“This will not reduce the number of inspections,” he emphasized. “This new technology will help us to focus on high-risk operators.”

The IIS pre-screening technology will be piloted before the province determines whether or not to roll it out province-wide. But Yurek said his government is interested in better utilizing technology to improve productivity for industry.

“Our government has been pretty clear that we want to open up Ontario for business, and one way we can do that is to reduce red tape or regulations that create barriers to do business in this province,” he said. “These two announcements today play into reducing those regulations, which is going to improve the efficiency of our trucking industry and is also going to improve safety. It’s going to give time back to drivers to make their routes in a timely manner rather than being held up at inspection stations when they don’t need to be.”

The announcements were lauded by the trucking industry. Stephen Laskowski, president of the OTA, said “This technology investment is going to make Ontario roads safer. It’s going to eliminate red tape for the vast majority of drivers and fleets who make road safety their priority every day.”

“On behalf of the OTA membership, I would like to thank the Government of Ontario for its commitment to keeping Ontario open for business and helping make Ontario’s highways safer,” added OTA chairman, David Carruth.

Mike Millian, head of the PMTC, added: “The PMTC and its membership are extremely pleased with today’s announcement. We are proud of our record, as stats show an average of 80% of our vehicles pass roadside inspections. As an industry, we want to improve on that, and we acknowledge that a 20% failure rate is still too high. This allows best-in-class carriers who meet certain criteria to apply to be a part of the pre-clearance program in Ontario…It will also allow the MTO and enforcement officers to concentrate more of their efforts on the 20% of vehicles that are not compliant.”

Drivewyze’s Johnson said the app is easy for drivers to use, and it is fully integrated with about a dozen telematics platforms and ELDs currently in use, including those from PeopleNet and Isaac Instruments. The company has more partnerships in the pipeline. In most cases, the technology is already built in and can be “turned on” remotely at the operator’s request.

Inside the cab, drivers will get an audible alert when they are three kilometers from a weigh station. At the 1.5-km mark of the approach, the software captures the truck and driver’s credentials and then checks them against the MTO database, to determine their CVOR record and whether they should be called in for inspection or allowed to continue.

“The better the carrier safety record, the fewer the times they’ll have to pull in, but there’s always the random chance element,” explained Johnson. “At some point, trucks will be pulled in, just not all the time.”

Yurek said the system does not distract drivers or run afoul of the province’s distracted driving laws.

Inside the weigh stations, MTO enforcement officers will be equipped with a dashboard that allows them to see the truck’s pertinent information, and whether or not it was instructed to pull in. Currently, trucks plated in provinces outside of Ontario are not allowed to participate, but Johnson told Trucknews.com a solution to that is in the works. Pricing packages are available for Ontario only, or Ontario as well as Alberta and the U.S. Johnson said studies in the U.S. found each bypass equates to a savings of about US$9, providing a quick payback for fleets as well as a welcomed convenience for drivers.

For more background on scale bypass systems and how they work, check out this Today’s Trucking article.

L-R: Stephen Laskowski, OTA; Rolly Uloth, Rosedale; David Carruth, OTA/ONE for Freight; Jeff Yurek, Transport Minister; Mike Millian, PMTC; Doug Johnson, Drivewyze; and Ron Uloth, Rosedale.
Avatar photo

James Menzies is editorial director of Today's Trucking and TruckNews.com. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 24 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • all good in theory – but how would you account for possible driver fatigue if they are “avoiding” the scales ??
    everyone knows how a fit trlr can have issues that can arise – by stopping in the scales this can be caught .. guessing this will eliminate any potential catches – which could prove deadly

  • Hello Mr. James Menzies,

    I love how everyone in the picture, stand so tall and so proud, to have implemented some Brand New idea for the Trucking Industry. And Once again the MTO, OTA, PMTC, OPP and the (Now In)PC’s, fail to look back in our history, to see this is nothing more than reviving Our Past and trying to make it look New and to show, what WE are doing to improve the safety of the trucking industry.

    I remember the company I worked for back in the 1990s having a number of or 10% of their equipment inspected for the Pre-Approved Drive-By back then. And now, they want to Present this as being something New.
    If 80% of the equipment is passing inspection, why don’t they bring that and exploit that as a Positive, instead of looking like, they have now brought this game to a whole new level?
    20% is bad, and I’m betting that better than half of that, is from Brampton here in Ontario. Why doesn’t the system work on the Training Programs for Pre-Trip training, Company’s compliance with Pre-Trip and Brake Adjustment check every so many days of operation?
    Stop bringing in stuff that you think is New, when drivers like myself who have been in this industry for 40 years know the past. I hear there is a Convoy planned for the future and that will be a Protest to show there is a problem in this industry. Otherwise, if Wages and Hours and other items are not addressed at a minimum, this industry is going to collapse, and you will not have anyone behind the wheels.

  • I used to run with the bypass, and it was a godsend. It saved me the time of slowing down to 10 kph and rebuilding to 100 kph. But let me assure you that I was always compliant and safe because if and when I did get red lighted, I knew the inspector was going to be thorough; failing a Level 1 Inspection was never an option.

  • With the cost of plating, MTO safeties, CVOR fees,Training etc. adding a cost per truck for this is at $14.00 per truck is too expensive. Bring in the ELD ruling and find a way to cover this without adding more costs to the operator.
    You police the MTO shops, you see our CVOR reports, ELD manages hours of service, so why more costs to all of us? Take the politics out and do the right thing for all.