PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — B.C.’s Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) agency has exempted log trucks operating primarily on forest and industrial roads from complying with regulations requiring anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and automatic slack adjusters.
The agency issued a notice to inspection facilities and authorized inspectors on Dec. 31, 2011 indicating: “By means of this notice, the requirement for inspection criteria of anti-lock brakes as stated in the Vehicle Inspection Manual is amended so that vehicles equipped with (ABS) components that may not meet inspection criteria or that do not function as OEM and that operate primarily on industrial or forest service roads may pass a provincial inspection.”
The notice pertains to the B.C. Vehicle Inspection Manual regulation that requires vehicles with a GVWR of greater than 10,000 lbs to be equipped with ABS if manufactured on or after April 1, 2000.
Also on Dec. 31, the agency issued an amendment notice indicating “air brake equipped vehicles with manual slack adjusters that operate primarily on industrial or forest service roads may pass a provincial mechanical inspection.”
That amendment stems from Bulletin 03-10 issued on Aug. 30, 2010, which outlaws replacing automatic slack adjusters with manual slack adjusters on vehicles manufactured on or after May 31, 1996.
The two amendments are being heralded as a major victory for log haulers, who have pointed out concerns with ABS and automatic slack adjuster safety on logging roads.
“CVSE as been made aware that some vehicles in B.C. that operate primarily on industrial and/or forest service roads may have issues with the proper operation of (automatic slack adjusters/anti-lock brakes) due to adverse road bed conditions,” the agency said in its notices.
The CVSE defines industrial and forest service roads as “A road on Crown or private land used primarily for transportation by motor vehicle of natural resources, whether raw, processed or manufactured, or machinery, materials or personnel, and includes all bridges, wharves, log dumps and works forming a part of the road.”
One log hauler told Trucknews.com the amendments were significant, but did not go far enough towards addressing trucks that spend part of their time on-highway. Nonetheless, the Central Interior Logging Association trumped the announcements as a major victory.
In its Jan. 6 FactsFax bulletin, the association said “The CILA worked hard on this file, following up on years of work by CILA member Lloyd Inwood from Quesnel. We want to acknowledge Lloyd’s tireless efforts to make log hauling more efficient and sustainable and the rules pertaining to log trucks more reasonable and practical.”
In a September e-mail to CILA, Inwood outlined some of his concerns with ABS performance in the bush. They included: amber light coming on for no apparent reason; plastic brake valves getting broken by rocks; loss of brakes on steep hills; spongy brakes on gravel roads; and poor performance compared to non-ABS trailers. Inwood also expressed frustration over the durability of the plastic used to secure wires to the air lines and cam tubes being destroyed by rocks and debris on logging roads.
“In the mud the fine wires are cut or pulled out of the dust covers, causing sensor gap issues. On the mechanical suspension trailer, ECU fails from vibrations or breaks the port off the air tank,” Inwood pointed out.
As for automatic slack adjusters, MaryAnne Arcand, CILA executive director, told Trucknews.com “My understanding is it had to do with them not functioning properly in mud, snow and ice conditions. Those concerns are now also being directed at the potential move by Transport Canada to (mandate) disc brakes on trucks, which we will try to stop before it happens, rather than fight it for 10 years afterward.”
Despite the welcomed news of greater flexibility for log haulers, there’s still some question as to what ‘primarily’ means. For instance, will trucks that spend most of the year as log trucks and then several months doing other work on-highway qualify for the exemption?
“We talked about the purpose of the truck – if it’s a logging truck, obviously it’s going in the bush, etc. Since the inspections are semi-annual, the exemption would stand unless it’s not being used off-highway at all for over six months. At least that’s my interpretation,” Arcand told Trucknews.com. She added she’ll be seeking further clarification from the department.
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