Drivers

Canadian Carriers Looking to Extended Tractor and Combo Lengths

December 08, 2010

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The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is proposing changes to Canada's vehicle length rules to accommodate longer tractor wheelbases and longer over-all lengths for B-train combinations.
Canadian length restrictions limit tractor wheelbases and fleet flexibility.
Canadian length restrictions limit tractor wheelbases and fleet flexibility.
CTA says the longer tractors would make more room for the installation of GHG-saving add-on devices such as auxiliary power units, while adding to fleet flexibility in dispatching power equipment.

Canada's vehicle length restrictions limit tractor wheelbases to 6.2 meters (244 in.). CTA would like to see the limit increased to 7.2 meters (283 in.).

"It's difficult to accommodate much additional frame equipment such as APUs, toolboxes, and chain hangers in an envelop as tight as [244 in.]," said Geoff Wood, CTA vice president of operations and safety. "The additional equipment required for EPA 2010 compliance has taken up some of the space where that other equipment was once installed."

Recognizing that extending the power unit length would impact turning geometry, CTA is advocating the so-called Quebec model, where the inter-axle distance between the drive axles and the trailer tandems is shortened by a corresponding amount. According to Wood, the turning radius and off-track in a corner would remain substantially the same.

CTA is also urging the National Vehicle Weights and Dimensions Task Force in Canada to amend the National Memorandum of Understanding on truck configurations to accommodate larger sleeper berths on B-train combinations. Currently, B-train combinations in Canada are limited to 25 meters overall (82 ft) length. But that imposes strict limits on the tractor length. Most B-train combinations operate at a 20-meter (65.5 ft) box length -- the effective length of the two trailers. That leaves little room out front for a tractor with a wheelbase much longer than 230 inches.

CTA is asking overall length restrictions to be relaxed allowing tractors as long as 6.2 meters.

"The changes CTA is proposing for B-trains -- which are a very productive configuration used in many sectors of the industry across Canada -- and tractor wheelbase, which is also an issue for many fleets, are two areas where we feel more flexibility would be desirable," says CTA's chief executive officer, David Bradley. "In order to ensure those drivers who use sleeper berths have the maximum of comfort, and carriers and owner-operators will have more flexibility in determining which fuel economy-GHG reduction options they wish to implement going forward, we thing the length increase is a reasonable request."

The current truck weights and dimensions regulations have and continue to serve the industry well, Bradley notes, "But like anything else they need to be tweaked in order to modernize them from time to time."


For more information on this issue please watch this video.


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