TORONTO, Ont. — More than 20 years after Ontario first agreed to adopt the NSC 11B standard for periodic mandatory commercial vehicle inspections, the transition is almost complete.
Ontario is the last province not to have fully adopted the national standard, which will replace HTA Reg. 611. It formally adopted the standard July 1, 2011 but granted a two-year phase-in period for industry and its own department to adjust to the new regulation.
The transition should be completed as of June 30 of this year – or maybe not.
Rolf VanderZwaag, manager of maintenance and technical issues for the Ontario Trucking Association, told the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar yesterday that the province was considering further delaying the forced implementation of NSC Standard 11B.
“We have heard word the Ministry is going to likely extend that, but we haven’t gotten official word of that yet,” VanderZwaag said. “On their Web site, it still says June 30 of this year, but it’s likely to be extended to the end of next year. It’s going to take you nearly a year to get this fully underway anyway, so if we do get an extension on time, take full advantage of it.”
It’s thought the province is considering an extension, because revisions are underway to the NSC standard that won’t be finalized until late this year. It would make sense to wait until those changes are implemented before formally adopting the NSC standard, rather than forcing the adoption of a standard to which further changes are imminent.
Regardless, VanderZwaag said fleets should be transitioning to the NSC standard now, if they haven’t already done so.
Today, there’s a lack of consistency in the industry, with many fleets and commercial service providers conducting the commercial vehicle inspections to the NSC standard while roadside enforcement officers continue to use the HTA Reg. 611 criteria.
“That’s a bureaucratic reality,” VanderZwaag said. “It’s because of the difficulty in adopting different regulations at roadside, not because 611 is a very good regulation and they want to keep it.”
Currently, VanderZwaag noted, “we do have the technical possibility of a vehicle passing a (mandatory periodic vehicle) inspection one day and failing a roadside inspection the next day.”
However, the two standards are not drastically different – except in length. The current HTA Reg. 611 document is 10 pages long. The NSC standard is 220 pages.
“That gives you some sense of the impact this is going to have for mechanics,” VanderZwaag said. “There’s a lot more material they need to know about.”
And the province hasn’t made it easy on technicians to reference the new material. They’ve provided it on CD, but the documents on that CD can’t be printed off.
“I have a real objection with the way the Ministry has rolled out the adoption of this standard,” VanderZwaag said.
Many of the changes mechanics will notice involve clarification of the language within the standard. The yellow sticker to be applied to inspected vehicles will be different, but fleets will be able to use up any leftover stickers they have remaining. One of the biggest questions that arise when making the changeover, VanderZwaag said, involves when wheels need to be removed.
NSC 11B requires drum brake components to be inspected by removal of the brake drum or removal of the dust shields. In the case of disc brakes, the standard says they can be inspected without removal if the manufacturer allows, but VanderZwaag said there are no disc brakes currently on the market that allow for inspection without removal.
Mechanics may be tempted to inspect drum brakes by simply removing the dust shields, but VanderZwaag said that’s not always a time saver, since removal will be necessary anyway if a closer inspection is required.
Each inspection requires the measuring and recording of certain brake component dimensions, including drum diameter, rotor thickness and brake lining thickness. Taking those measurements without removing the drum could prove difficult, but not impossible, VanderZwaag said.
Another point of confusion involves a 24-month inspection interval for brakes, if proof is provided of an internal brake inspection within the previous 13 months. The exemption would allow the technician to conduct an inspection exclusively through inspection holes if they’ve conducted a thorough inspection the last time and carefully recorded all the measurements as well as other vehicle information.
While it may seem tempting, VanderZwaag said “You’re still not exempted from the requirement to take the measurements, so there’s really no advantage. Even in cases where an exemption applies, it is still necessary to measure and record brake lining thickness and the brake drum or disc brake rotor size.”
Working with the OTA, VanderZwaag has produced a handbook for mechanics to help simplify the transition to the new standard. Practical Safety Inspection for Trucks and Trailers is a 144-page book that outlines the requirements of the NSC 11B standard. It also features a one-page checklist that technicians can use to ensure they’ve followed all the steps required during the inspection.
VanderZwaag warned the time spent to conduct an inspection to the NSC 11B standard will likely increase, and so will the cost if having it done at a third-party service provider. In extreme cases, he said, “We’ve heard of inspections going from $99 to $1,000,” which elicited a few gasps from a room packed with maintenance managers.
VanderZwaag’s book on the new standard can be ordered from the OTA store here.
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