Ontario Extended Stinger-Steer Auto Carrier (ESSAC) Program

Learn more about the Ministry of Transportation’s program for Extended Stinger-Steer Auto Carriers.

About the ESSAC Permit Program

Extended Stinger-Steer Auto Carriers (ESSACs) are trucks that transport cars, and can accommodate more cars than the auto carriers currently allowed on roads (known as Stinger-Steer Auto Carriers). The Ministry launched the ESSAC Program in December 2017 and will continue to monitor, assess and review the pilot on an ongoing basis through 2018.

In 2015, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) changed US Interstate regulations for Stinger-Steer Auto Carriers (referred to in the United States as Auto Transporters). The total overall length of Stinger-Steer Auto Carrier configurations changed from the previous 82 feet (25.0 metres) to 90 feet (27.4 metres) including overhanging loads.

Ontario regulates dimensions for Stinger-Steer Auto Carriers through Ontario Regulation 413/05, Vehicle Weights and Dimensions (VWD) for Safe, Productive, and Infrastructure-Friendly (SPIF) Vehicles (Designated Tractor-Trailer Combination 14 – Stinger-Steer Tractor Semitrailer Auto Carrier – SPIF 14). The regulation is harmonized with  Canadian jurisdictions and was harmonized with the US before the FAST Act.

Who needs a permit?

Longer front and rear overhangs introduce additional safety risks to other road users and infrastructure at corners where the new configuration would operate. To address safety concerns, Ontario has placed restrictions on some dimensional criteria of ESSACs, such as overhanging load dimensions.

MTO will require operations under Special Vehicle Configuration (SVC) permit, and there will be constraints for operating these three configuration types:

  • The Transitional SPIF Hybrid
  • The ESSAC
  • The ON-ESSAC.

Each configuration will need to comply with dimensional criteria specific to their type.

The Transitional SPIF Hybrid and ESSAC may only be operated along an Authorized Network for Travel, unless traveling along an approved engineering assessed route. Engineered route assessments to operate Transitional SPIF #14 and ESSAC configurations off the Authorized Network for Travel can be submitted to the MTO for internal review. Once accepted by MTO, the approved Origin-Destination location will be added to the carriers ESSAC Program permit package.

The ON-ESSAC can be operated without any route restrictions.

To apply for a permit

By email: ESSAC.Monitoring@ontario.ca

By mail:
Ministry of Transportation 
Permit Office 
301 St. Paul Street 
3rd Floor 
St Catharines, Ontario L2R 7R4

By phone: 416-246-7166 ext. 6306 or 1-800-387-7736 ext. 6306 (English) or 6307 (French)
By fax: 905-704-2545

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