End Needed on Axle Weight Enforcement Freeze, says OTA

Gravel haulers protest at MTO station.

TORONTO – The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) said today that the resumption of a moratorium on the enforcement of provincial axle weight standards for certain SPIF (Safe, Productive and Infrastructure Friendly) vehicles in the aggregate hauling sector isn’t going to go over well.

The moratorium announcement came in the wake of protests by aggregate haulers last week in Milton, ON. at an MTO weigh station.

“The optics of the whole situation at the weigh scale and the announcement of a moratorium will not sit well with a lot of people in the industry,” said David Bradley, president of the OTA. “There does appear to be isolated technical issues regarding certain SPIF configurations in the aggregate sector that MTO, working with the industry, should be able to resolve quickly – at least that is what we will be pushing for.”

“There does not appear to be any reason for a revision of the SPIF standards or a delay in their implementation. These have been fully vetted over the past 10 years and carriers in all sectors have made millions of dollars in investment to meet the deadlines and to become compliant. Instead, it looks like this is a matter of interpretation and some cases where people in the aggregate sector bought what they thought were SPIF compliant vehicles only to encounter problems when they got to the scales. Under the circumstances, a short moratorium is an appropriate response although the way it came about makes everyone uncomfortable. It’s certainly not how we do business and there was no reason to resort to these tactics this time.”

The OTA said they will be present in upcoming meetings to help resolve the matter, and address technical concerns with SPIF.

But they’ll also be calling on the MTO to start enforcing the laws already on the books regarding shippers liability for axle overloads.

“OTA was successful in getting all party approval for the axle weight law back in the early 1990’s,” he said. “Since that time it has rarely been used. It’s time to start doing so. If the law needs to be amended, then amend it, but shippers have been getting a free-ride for too long and have to start bearing more of the responsibility for proper vehicle loading – which they control.”

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