The Council of Ministers Responsible for Highway Safety announced it has approved in principle changes to the national Memorandum of Understanding on Inter-provincial Weights and Dimensions (the MoU) to allow use of longer tractors.
The amendments to the federal Memorandum of Understanding, which governs weights and dimensions, will see the maximum tractor wheelbase increase to 7.2 meters from 6.2 meters for tractors pulling semitrailers. Tractors pulling B-trains will see allowable wheelbases increase to 6.8 meters from 6.2 meters.
The proposed change would increase the maximum allowable tractor wheelbase from 6.2 m (244 in.) to 7.2 m (282 in.) for vehicles classed as SPIF 1 (Safety, Productivity and Infrastructure Friendly) Designated Tractor-Trailer Combinations — single, tandem and tridem tractor/fixed axle semi-trailer configurations.
“Together these components can occupy up to two metres (80”) of frame rail space, or half of the area between steer and drive axles currently available to carriers on a 6.2-metre wheelbase tractor,” OTA said in a press release. “This impinges on space typically reserved for fuel tanks, air supply tanks, batteries and other equipment and makes spec’ing a vehicle very difficult.
Spec’ing APUs on tractors with a sleeper berth is a particular challenge, OTA noted. Emerging technologies like hybrids and LNG vehicles may also create pressures on frame rail space on trucks.
Provinces and territories now begin the process of introducing the changes to their respective weights and dimensions regulations.
Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) applauded the announcement as it has lobbied for longer tractors based on the need for more frame rail space to accommodate emission reduction technologies as well as larger sleeper berths to address driver comfort and fatigue.
“CTA is extremely pleased with the announcement as it signals another step forward by transportation ministers from across the county to adjust regulations to provide greater flexibility for fleets and OEMs to adapt to forthcoming GHG regulations,” .
Furtherance on other configurations
will be seeking an expansion to the list of configurations contained in the proposal to allow longer wheelbases on other SPIF configurations that can meet or exceed the same turning performance criteria as those already listed, including the SPIF tri-axle, quad –axle, five and six-axle configurations.
All provinces and territories are signatories to the MoU and agree to allow vehicles which comply with MoU weights and dimensions to travel on designated highways in their jurisdiction.
“CTA is hopeful all jurisdictions will work in an expedited manner to move this important issue forward and amend appropriate regulations. While this is taking place, enforcement deferrals should be strongly considered, which have worked well for other key GHG reducing technologies such as trailer boat tails,”