Do You Need to License Your Equipment?

Road-Building Machine Status Change

Under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a road-building machine (RBM) is currently defined as “self-propelled vehicle of a design commonly used in the construction and maintenance of highways.”  Initially, these vehicles were slow-moving vehicles that could not meet federal manufacturing standards for lights, tires, etc.  As a result, they differed from commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), but since they still needed to operate on highways to perform the road-building function, they were made exempt from a number of obligations under the HTA and other legislation that relies on the HTA to classify vehicles, including vehicle registration, licensing, hours of service, inspections, safety monitoring, and fuel tax.

Increasingly however, technological changes have led to RBMs being constructed on truck chassis.  Newer vehicles can travel at highway speed, resemble and operate like CMVs.  Industry and government have raised concerns about safety, fairness and lost revenue.

The proposed amendments will amend the definition of RBMs to limit it to vehicles that are truly different from CMVs.  All other vehicles formerly considered as RBMs will be required to comply with HTA as a CMV.

Other proposed amendments would add some additional restrictions and obligations to those vehicles that remain classified as RBMs under the new definition.  This includes restricting speed to 40 km/h and requiring a slow moving vehicle sign when operating on the road.  Lastly, through the proposed amendments, the ministry would be authorized to make new regulations under the HTA to set out operating rules for vehicles that continue to be classified RBMs, such as, requiring a valid driver’s licence when operating on the road.

The proposal is a combination of legislative and regulatory amendments.

The legislative element is a new definition for RBMs that sets out the nature of a RBM, such as:

  • A self-propelled vehicle of a design commonly used in the construction or maintenance of highways that belong to a class of vehicle, has features or is being used as prescribed in regulation.

The regulatory provisions would build upon the legislation by providing some specific rules clarifying which vehicles are included in the RBM class and which vehicles are not.  The addition of a regulatory authority will allow the ministry to more quickly modify the rules to respond to future trends in vehicle design.

Example of Vehicle Types

Vehicles that will continue to be RBMs:

  • Any vehicle listed in the current definition including:
    • Asphalt spreaders, concrete paving or finishing machines, motor graders, rollers, tracker-dozers, motor scrapers;
    • Tracked and wheeled tractors while equipped with mowers, pot-hole diggers, compactors, weed spraying equipment, snow blowers and snow plows, front-end loaders, back hoes or rock drills;
    • Power shovels on tracks and drag lines on tracks.
  • Rock trucks with restrictions on load carrying;
  • Cranes not designed for highway operation;
  • Street sweepers that are slow moving and built on a purpose built chassis.

Vehicles that will NO LONGER be considered RBMs:

  • Mobile cranes that do not meet previous requirements;
  • Stone slingers;
  • Any vehicle built on a truck chassis designed for highway operation.

Once the definition is amended, vehicles that are currently RBMs will be broken down into two groups:

  1. RBMs: Vehicles that meet the amended definition of a RBM in the HTA.  These vehicles will remain exempt from many obligations under the HTA, including registration.
  1. CMVs: Vehicles that do not meet the amended definition of a RBM in the HTA. These vehicles must comply with CMV requirements under the HTA.

As a CMV, these vehicles will be required to comply with the following requirements under the HTA and Fuel Tax Act:

  • Vehicle permits (licence plates and registration);
  • Driver’s licence;
  • Safety inspections (daily, annual, and safety standards certificate);
  • Commercial Vehicle Operators’ Registration (CVOR);
  • Hours of Service (proposed deferral);
  • Vehicle weights and dimensions (required for CMVs and RBMs);
  • Drive Clean testing;
  • Automobile insurance; and
  • Fuel tax.