MTO could make GHG-reduction devices easier to spec on trucks

TORONTO – Ontario carriers who find it difficult to spec emission reduction and anti-idling technologies received some good news today as the Ontario Trucking Association announced the province will consider allowing longer tractors and larger sleeper berths to accommodate some of these devices.

The standard maximum allowable wheelbase of a tractor in Canada (6.2 m; 244”) was established in the mid-1980’s under a MOU between the provinces which ushered in what are often referred to as the "RTAC standards."

While most provinces have provided flexibility in overall tractor length by special permit, Ontario has not yet done so.

These provinces allow for an increase in the maximum tractor wheelbase up to 7.2 metres, in exchange for a reduction in the trailer wheelbase. (In the United States, there has never been an established maximum tractor wheelbase rule, OTA notes).

If the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) adopts the change it will permit carriers to use longer tractors with single semitrailers for greater flexibility in spec’ing many of the emission reduction technologies on the market, says OTA.

Some of these components – such as exhaust after-treatment technology — occupies half of the available space that must be shared with batteries, air supply tanks, fuel tanks and other associated equipment.

"As of today, Ontario stands alone amongst the contiguous provinces in not allowing some flexibility on tractor wheelbase when spec’ing a tractor, so we welcome the fact that MTO is going to review the matter," says OTA president David Bradley.

"There are so many things that are different from when the standard was developed; issues like environmental considerations, driver comfort, hours of service regulations, concerns over driver fatigue and current market demands, are all driving the need for the industry in Ontario to be able to spec a tractor that can legally accommodate more comfortable sleeper berth designs and/or the technologies and devices proven to improve fuel efficiency and reduce GHG.

“That is increasingly a challenge when you are limited to 6.2 metres," he continued. 

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