The Canadian Trucking Alliance recently wrote the chair of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, asking governments to work with industry to combat operators who circumvent engine emission rules by tampering with anti-pollution systems.
CTA points out that since 2002, emissions standards for heavy commercial vehicles have progressively eliminated nitrous oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), but the rapid development of the “zero smog truck” was achieved at the expense of reliability and some fuel economy. While most carriers complied with the mandate, weathering the prolonged financial and operational hardships associated with the transition, others continue to skirt the rules by outright removing or disconnecting emissions equipment or by using more sophisticated electronic methods to circumvent computer systems – a tactic that is much harder to detect at roadside.
CTA is urging provincial governments to make resources available to roadside enforcement for new technology and software that is able to scan and detect whether emission systems are regenerating properly and in good working order or whether they are non-compliant.
Geoff Wood, CTA’s senior VP of Policy, likened the “read-only, plug-in” approach to how enforcement in Ontario and Quebec currently determine compliance with speed limiter requirements. He added that Ontario has declared its interest in addressing emissions tampering enforcement in this fashion and CTA proposes CCMTA jurisdictions follow the province’s lead to move forward on developing a comprehensive roadside enforcement plan.
“Regardless of the method used to circumvent the emissions requirements, the result is direct, high emissions levels of both PM and NOx directly into the atmosphere – something we are all striving to prevent,” says Wood.
CTA also identified other efforts CCMTA can explore, even with limited resources available, including an information sharing system at the fleet facility level for trucks found to be non-compliant at roadside. Should a truck fail a roadside inspection, this could trigger further enforcement attention of the carrier. CTA also suggested existing annual inspection requirements in the National Safety Code Standard can be updated to require technicians to also plug in to verify engine compliance; a vehicle that fails the emissions component of the annual inspection would not be eligible for a valid annual safety inspection and therefore could not operate until the emissions issues are corrected.
“By addressing emissions compliance at the individual vehicle level, the fleet level and during the annual inspection process, CTA believes CCMTA can improve the level of emissions compliance across Canada,” says Wood.