Fairness at the pump targeted in Canada... and other news from the north

By David Tanner
associate editor


Fairness at the pump targeted in Canada
The Canadian federal government wants to force fuel retailers to properly calibrate their pumps or face expensive fines. Legislation announced April 15 follows reports that approximately 6 percent of fuel pumps are not properly calibrated and that most of the errors favor the retailers.

Minister of Industry Tony Clement said the legislation would strengthen current weights and measures laws; increase the number of pump inspections from 8,000 per year to 65,000; and authorize fines up to $10,000 for minor offenses and up to $50,000 for repeat serious offenders.

The Fairness at the Pumps Act is currently up for consideration in the House of Commons. Apart from retail petroleum and wholesale petroleum pumps, the act would eventually extend stricter inspection rules and fines for dairy, retail food, fishing, logging, field crops and mining.

Proposed CB restriction second-guessed in Ontario
The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario is already second-guessing a proposed restriction on the use of two-way radios and CBs for commercial drivers. The province had planned to restrict the use of CBs to hands-free use by Jan. 1, 2013.

Ministry officials now say the province is prepared to review the proposal before the phase-in date. The proposed CB restriction is part of a provincial law that took effect in October 2009 to ban texting or talking on hand-held cell phones while driving.

Saskatchewan eyes cap and trade
The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan is considering a bill that would manage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions via a cap-and-trade system.

If passed, Bill 126 would set limits on the amount of carbon an industry could emit, and establish a marketplace for industries to buy and sell carbon credits.

Alberta bill would outlaw texting, even at stoplights
Lawmakers in Alberta are considering a bill that would ban texting while driving and restrict phone use to hands-free modes. Proposed fines would be set at $172 for violations.

If Bill 16 passes, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta would make it illegal for a driver to text or use a hand-held cell phone while behind the wheel, even if the vehicle is stopped at a stoplight.

Two-way radio or CB use for commercial purposes would be exempt, as would hands-free use of cell phones and fleet management tools such as Qualcomm. If passed, Bill 16 would go into effect in spring 2011.

British Columbia to clamp down on vehicle inspectors
If and when the province of British Columbia passes legislation to clamp down on vehicle inspectors and inspection stations, the effects will trickle down to commercial vehicles and drivers.

The British Columbia Legislative Assembly rolled out a new proposal in April that will give government officials authority to do drop-in audits on inspectors and stations. What that means for drivers is that they’re going to check vehicles and logs to make sure the inspectors performed the proper duties. Keep that in mind if you’re traveling in BC.

Canadian owner-op says speed limiters unsafe on downhill grades
Owner-operator Scott Mooney is an OOIDA member from Cambridge, Ontario and leader of a grassroots effort against mandatory speed limiters on trucks. He says he is receiving complaints about the potential for a truck to gain speed on a downhill grade inhibiting a trucker’s ability to slow the vehicle down.

Mooney said the situation could occur if a trucker experiences “brake fade” while on a downhill grade and while the limiter is set at or near the regular operating speed for the truck. Under those conditions, Mooney says the RPMs will fall, reducing the trucker’s ability to shift to lower gears or employ the engine brake.

“Once this happens, the truck will continue to accelerate out of speed control until it either reaches an incline, eventually slowing the truck, or by striking anything in the path of the truck, ending in a wreck,” Mooney said.

Since 2008, Ontario and Quebec have required trucks heavier than 26,000 pounds to electronically limit maximum speeds at or below 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph. LL