Ontario and Quebec transportation ministers have signed an agreement to harmonize truck weights and dimensions for several vehicle configurations that commonly operate between the two jurisdictions. This ends seven years of protracted discussions and negotiations among the two provincial governments, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), and the Quebec Trucking Association.
OTA President David Bradley concedes that while the agreement creates some new complexities (eg, permits) and that steering axles will need to prove themselves, the association's main goals — of maintaining Ontario-only configurations and ensuring that carriers using triaxles have productive alternatives — have been achieved.
Some aspects of the agreement will require legislation in Ontario. OTA expects full implementation in 2001.
Highlights of the agreement include harmonizing VWD for:
Tandem tractors and semitrailers at 18,000 kg (39,680 lb).
Tridem semi-trailers at 24,000 kg (52,900 lb) or 26,000 kg (57,300 lb) depending on axle spread, to be phased in over five years.
Quad self-steering semitrailers at 32,000 kg (70,540 lb) or 34,000 kg (74,950 lb) depending on axle spread.
In addition, the agreement will:
- Extend to Quebec 53-foot quad semitrailers with self steering axles.
- Establish a 10-year permit regime to accommodate the period of transition.
While details are sketchy, the agreement also commits the two provinces to undertake research on on-board monitoring technology for axle weights. This technology eventually may record such things as hours of service and vehicle speeds. A joint trial of technology will be conducted by 2003.
As for lift axles, a phase-down of weights allowed on non-dump triaxle semitrailers (three-axle semitrailers with a lift axle) will commence in 2006. A specific penalty for lift axle violations will be developed and introduced, and a special permit will be developed to screen, monitor, and control vehicles that have minor variances from existing regulations.