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UPDATED: B.C. log trucks no longer require ABS, auto slack adjusters

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...

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 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 “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 She added she’ll be seeking further clarification from the department.

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5 Comments » for UPDATED: B.C. log trucks no longer require ABS, auto slack adjusters
  1. MaryAnne Arcand, Central Interior Logging Association says:

    Point of clarification= the exemption is for trucks that operate PRIMARILY on industrial roads, not exclusively. Most of these trucks do spend part of their time on the highway.

  2. Patrick Smith says:

    Hey James, Why are they not pushing their issues(or pressure)of the abs systems towards the manufacturers( of them and or trailers),to better their products for the end user. I have a concern is when the equipment comes off of the service roads and onto highways roads and they come into a situation, where abs would of prevented, say an accident. what then? I have to ask, I maybe using a service road with these folks. In my opinion it almost like, there is no moving ahead with the times with the agenda they have set out. as for the disc brakes, I ask the CILA do your homework on that one. And present your findings to Transport Canada work with them instead against, you may get further ahead. But at the end of the day, it’s about safety, on or off road. thanks for your time.

  3. george serhan says:

    It is great to see the BC CVSE have recognized that there is a problem with the ABS Brake System and Auto Slack Adjusters on Log truck and trailers.
    I would hope that the BC CVSE does realize that this ABS Brake System and Auto Slack Adjusters are the same ones on other trucks and these systems are common.
    I would hope that the BC CVSE well take a long hard look at these other trucks and the problems they are having with the ABS Brake System and Auto Slack Adjusters.
    BC is a Province of mountainous terrain that demands total respect.
    I Pray that the effort that was put into Lobbying the BC CVSE well not end here but well carry forward to Transport Canada, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other partnering groups.
    I would hope and expect a study of the problems with the ABS Brake System and Auto Slack Adjusters would be carried out.

    Lloyd Inwood of Quesnel wrote in a letter dated September 27, 2011
    – In 1994, the Forest Engineering Institute of Canada did an evaluation of ABS on log haul trucks and found that there needs to be improvements to the speed sensor and wiring. To my knowledge we are still dealing with the same problems. All of the testing results that I saw were done on trucks with single axle short wheel base, three trailer two pintal hitch units (UPS, JB Hunt) on wet pavement with LTL loads. On a log truck, the trailer does not touch the ground unless it is fully loaded and we spend half of our time on roads this system was not designed for. Some of the positive points they found in this report, we are not seeing. i.e.; preventing flat spots in tires, or alerting driver that a wheel has frozen up because the ABS system that was installed on that truck and trailer had a channel for every wheel, but the systems that are used today only monitor 50% of the wheels.

  4. royden bohmer says:

    I have a much bigger concern with traction control and stability control.I have had the traction control system shut me down in the middle of a climb to get loaded.It was nothing i could not have handled in a truck without the traction control.I think these things are dreamed up by young people in an office who have no idea of the challenges i face everyday.Or what it takes to safely get a load to the mill,i have had the stability control sytem lock up completely all the brakes on a super b trailer.I will admit i was going to fast but the last thing i need is to apply brakes in a corner,it is taught in the professionall drivers manual power on for control.Ohhhh and auto shift if you dont know how to drive stay out of the truck .I have been driving for 30 years ,everything from logs to fuel ,sulphur ,coal. I have driven every combination i can think of so i am not just talking ,give me back control of the truck for safety sake !!

  5. Just a driver says:

    There are too many people operating log trucks unsafely as it is with no brakes at all, and many other issues. Drivers are forced to operate unsafe trucks. Who is going to adjust their brakes every day!? What a stupid decision. At least with auto adjusters most of the brakes are adjusted most of the time. There is too much money kept at upper levels in these forestry companies, not enough is given for trucking. These issues also end up endangering people because of hours of service violations.
    Many truck owners spend their money on toys but refuse to make their truck safe.
    The companies that ultimately contract trucking services have to be held accountable. They just look the other way and say commercial vehicle enforcement should deal with it, but they can’t.
    lies lies lies, that what trucking is about.

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