The Ontario government is seriously considering letting double-trailer transport trucks on the highways during peak traffic times in the GTA.
As things stand, these “long-combination vehicles,” are not allowed on highways between 7.30 am and 9 am or 4.30 pm to 6 pm.
But the Progressive Conservative government is proposing a change that could make transportation easier for trucking companies.
The government said the change will help the economy, and that long-combination trucks have more safety restrictions and fewer collisions than single-trailer trucks.
The government disputed the idea that allowing double-trailer trucks would make the roads more congested; saying instead that these larger trucks can carry double the goods so there will be fewer trucks on the road overall.
Kinga Surma, associate minister of transportation maintains that allowing double-trailer trucks during rush hour would be “good for the environment” and would reduce emissions.
Long-combination vehicles have been in a pilot phase in Ontario since 2008 and there are 1,600 already driving in Ontario, Surma said.
These trucks already drive during a lot of heavy traffic, said Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada.
“They’ve already been sharing the road with these vehicles for eight years,” he said.
This change just gives truck drivers “more flexibility in their day.”
But Millian said safety won’t be compromised with the change. He said long-combination vehicles have lower accident rates, speeds are limited to 90 km/hr, and the trucks have heavy signage.
Furthermore, these drivers have to go through more rigorous training than drivers of regular trucks.
These trucks would also be able to carry extra materials under the new rules.
Previously, LCVs couldn’t carry any dangerous goods. But under the proposed plans, the trucks would be allowed to carry some dangerous goods like cleaning agents and battery acids.
Highly explosive materials and tankers will continue to be restricted.
Surma said the minister has been consulting with the public and small businesses on the decision. The change is part of a package of government plans to “reduce regulatory burdens” in Ontario.
The change is currently before committee, Surma said, and there will be more consultations before it returns to the House.
Research Chair in Freight Transportation and Logistics agreed that allowing multi-trailer trucks during rush hour may mean fewer trucks on the road overall.
Although many drivers of non-commercial vehicles will be understandably nervous with these changes, overall it could actually be a good idea. Fewer trucks, better trained drivers operating these double-trailer trucks forced to stick to a speed limit of 90 kmh. If anything, drivers of smaller vehicles may end up complaining that these trucks move too slowly and would like them to speed up a bit, like they do. -CINEWS