TORONTO, Ont. -- The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says it is pleased the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is set to begin reviewing whether to permit motor carriers to use longer tractors in combination with single semi-trailers.
TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says it is pleased the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is set to begin reviewing whether to permit motor carriers to use longer tractors in combination with single semi-trailers.
The OTA says the move would allow for greater flexibility in spec’ing power units in order to accommodate emission reduction and anti-idling technologies and to accommodate larger sleeper berths for drivers.
The standard maximum allowable wheelbase of a tractor in Canada (6.2 metres or 244″) was established in the mid-1980’s under a Memorandum of Understanding between the provinces which ushered in what are often referred to as the “RTAC standards.” However, over time, most jurisdictions – the exceptions being Ontario and one or two others – have provided flexibility in terms of the overall tractor length by special permit, or in one case (Nova Scotia) by regulation, the OTA says. These provinces rely upon a similar formula which allows for an increase in the maximum tractor wheelbase up to 7.2 metres, in exchange for a reduction in the trailer wheelbase. In the US, there has never been an established maximum tractor wheelbase rule.
“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 said. “In some cases the new technologies and devices occupy half the available space.”
The OTA says components related to exhaust after-treatment technology occupy a significant amount of space on a tractor between the axles that must be shared with batteries, air supply tanks, fuel tanks and other associated equipment specific to carrier operations (e.g., pumps, blowers, chains, tool and tarp boxes). The OTA notes that anti-idling technologies like auxiliary power units also occupy space between the tractor’s axles.
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