Western Canada harmonizes trucking regs

| Monday, July 18, 2011

For years, trucks from one of the three westernmost Canadian provinces may not have been compliant in the other two because of differences in weight and length dimensions, but that has changed thanks to a new agreement.

The provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan enacted the new agreement, called the New West Partnership, on July 1. Of interest to truckers is the harmonization of overall truck length, steering axle weight limits, and dimensions for tridem drive tractors and combos.

Trucker and OOIDA Member Greg Decker of Airdrie, Alberta, says the changes could mean the difference of a meter (just over 39 inches) to overall length for single and tandem drive A, B and C-trains. It may not sound like much, but some truckers have had to skimp on comfort to meet the previous regs.

“What they’re doing is harmonizing the regulations,” Decker said. “At least truckers can go from a shoebox of a bunk to a real bunk now. That meter can go toward the overall length.”

The governments of the three provinces began working on the regs and other trade considerations in September 2009 and signed their agreement in April 2010. The goal is to cut red tape, harmonize regulations wherever possible, and share certain resources to boost trade opportunities.

Trucking was just one part of the agreement.

Following is a quick rundown of the harmonized truck regs, as posted by the province of British Columbia. Some figures have been rounded off.

  • Single and tandem trucks may now have up to 6,000 kilograms on the steering axle. Notably, this is an increase of 500 kg in British Columbia.
  • Tridem trucks are required to have a minimum of 27 percent of tridem axle weight on the steer axle at all times. The previous requirement was 25 percent.
  • The overall length of tridem-drive truck tractor and semi-trailer is 23.5 meters.
  • The maximum allowable axle group dimension on a tridem semi-trailer is 3.7 meters.
  • Axle track width for tridem-drive trucks must be 2.5 to 2.6 meters for those vehicles manufactured after July 1, 2012.
  • Hitch offset for a tridem truck towing a pony trailer is 2.6 meters
  • Box length for a tridem truck and pony trailer is 20.5 meters
  • A, B and C-train length for single and tandem drive trains is 26 meters. The harmonization adds a meter in BC.

Visit newwestpartnership.ca for additional information on the New West Partnership.

Editor’s note: A meter is about 39 inches and a kilogram is 2.2 pounds.

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