MTO allows permits for smart lift axles, longer tractors for semi-trailers

by Truck News

TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) announced today that the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has officially formalized permit programs  for the use of smart lift-axles (SML) on semi-trailers and for the use of longer tractors (up to 6.8 metre wheel-base) pulling multi-axle semi-trailers.

The OTA has spearheaded the efforts for these initiatives for some time.  The permit process is the first step toward moving forward on regulatory developments and expedites the opportunity for carriers to address these technologies in a shorter timeframe, the OTA said.

“The OTA team approached MTO with a responsible plan and research that clearly demonstrated the benefits of these technologies. We are very happy with the outcome,” said Geoff Wood, senior v.p., Policy, Ontario Trucking Association.

Over the next four to six weeks, the team in MTO’s Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch will be working toward introducing Special Vehicle Configuration (SVC) permit regimes for both initiatives. The SML permit regime will allow permits to be granted based on Vehicle Identification Number(s) relating to the semi-trailer or semi-trailer sets, while Long Wheelbase tractor permits will be distributed on a fleet basis, meaning a single permit can be copied and utilized throughout the fleet of tractors and semitrailers.

To move these issues forward OTA was tasked with providing extensive and credible research and analysis including development of a full business/environmental case, technical and safety analysis, review of approaches and experiences in other jurisdictions and a suggested regulatory approach for Ontario. OTA achieved this through a collaborative effort with input from its membership, in house weights and dimensions team and other industry experts.

“It is important to our membership that the Ontario weights and dimensions regime allows innovation and investment in technologies that carriers want to use, and that we can demonstrate the technologies can be responsibly introduced in the province” said Wood.

Over the course of the next few weeks, OTA will be completing an analysis of jurisdictions where SLA’s and the longer tractors are able to operate.  OTA members interested in receiving a copy of the analysis or have additional questions on these initiatives can email

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  • Currently I have Special Configuration Permits to run 4 and 5 axle trailers on our roads. These permits are expiring at the end of December 2020. The trailers are up to 2005 in age.
    Are the permits renewable again?