Ontario Trucking Association

Ontario Trucking Association

November 18, 2005 12:54 ET

OTA Welcomes Drive Clean Change

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 18, 2005) -

Model year exemption for heavy trucks extended by an additional two years

At the Ontario Trucking Association annual convention today, the province's Minister of the Environment Laurel Broten announced a first-round of much needed changes to the heavy duty Drive Clean emissions testing program. The changes are part of the mandatory review promised when the program was first introduced seven years ago. Further changes are possible in 2006.

But for now the Ontario Trucking Association, which for years has been arguing that it was costly and pointless to require newer trucks to undergo annual or bi-annual testing, is pleased the MOE has decided to extend the model year exemption from the mandatory periodic tests by an additional two years. In other words, trucks that are four years old or newer will be exempt from Drive Clean testing.

David Bradley, president of OTA welcomed the announced changes: "It takes some courage to stand up and say that an environmental program is not working effectively and needs fixing. The MOE is responding appropriately to the fact that the average pass rate for heavy trucks five years or newer is 98% -- even with the toughest opacity test in North America. Current vintage trucks are much cleaner than they were even just ten years ago. We estimate that the changes announced today will save the trucking industry about $5 million a year in costs. But, as importantly, it recognizes the strides being made by the trucking industry in developing and introducing clean technology. The Drive Clean program was developed at a time when the technology was much different and maintenance practices less sophisticated. The move to extend the exemption for newer vehicles by an additional two years makes imminent sense."

By next year, the new generation of smog-free trucks will come on the market and the Drive Clean program will need to take account of this new reality, said Bradley: "We will be suggesting further refinements to the program during the next round of consultations, for example to see if the testing exemption for the new smog-free engines can be stretched further."

Bradley added OTA will be looking to finally resolve the current competitive gap that exists between Ontario-based vehicles which must undergo periodic testing and out-of-province vehicles which don't: "This has never made much sense to us from either a competitiveness or an environmental point of view," he said. "On any given day 30% of all the heavy trucks operating on Ontario highways are from outside of Ontario. There are buses and trucks that are based in Ontario, but plated somewhere else that are exempt from the program."

The change will appeal to small independent trucking operators. Dale Holman of Georgetown, Ont. owns five of his own trucks: "With fuel, insurance and other costs on the rise, I cannot afford to take my trucks out of service and then pay for a test when I know they are going to pass with flying colours. It's about time this change was made."

Northern Ontario carriers are particularly impacted by Drive Clean. Light duty vehicles in the North are exempt from Drive Clean and there are far fewer testing facilities, often great distances away. Gord Grant is president of Grant's Transport, a family-owned and operated business in New Liskeard. He said the changes "...are a good start. It makes no sense to test clean trucks."

Although there might be some push-back from some of the private testing facilities who fear a loss in business levels, the association points out that rates charged to test trucks were not capped as they were for cars, but were set by the market, from the very beginning. Said Bradley: "Anyone who operated a testing facility for the last seven years was able to do so charging whatever the market would bear. They also knew the program would come under review after seven years. If they have not gotten a return on their initial investment by now, then perhaps they did not make the right business decisions. A business's survival should not be predicated on needless, outmoded regulations."

About OTA: The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is a business association representing motor carriers operating into, out of and within Ontario. The trucking industry is one of Ontario's largest employers. Trucks haul 90% of all consumer products and foodstuffs produced and consumed in the province and 80% of Ontario's trade with the United States. Founded in 1926, the association's membership comprises trucking companies of all sizes, shipping all types of commodities, from all regions of North America. OTA is a member of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Ontario Trucking Association
555 Dixon Road
Toronto, Ontario
M9W 1H8

Contact Information

  • Ontario Trucking Association
    Rebecka Torn
    Mgr. Communications
    (416) 249-7401 Ext. 224 or Cell: (416) 720-2643
    (416) 245-6152 (FAX)