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Canada news briefs

By David Tanner, associate editor

Trucker not fazed by loss in speed-limiter case

Trucker and OOIDA Member Scott Mooney of Fergus, Ontario, says that even though he lost a recent court battle, he will continue to pressure lawmakers and educate the public about safety concerns he has with the Ontario speed-limiter law.

A traffic court judge ruled Dec. 1 that because Mooney did not have a speed limiter set at or below the maximum of 105 km/h, or 65 mph, he must pay the fine.

Mooney had been fighting the citation on grounds that the law puts truckers and other motorists in danger, especially on the 400-series highways where cars travel much faster than the posted limit of 100 km/h (62 mph).

The traffic court, however, did not have jurisdiction to hear a defense based on safety, Mooney said.

He was cited near Napanee, Ontario, shortly after the provincial law affecting truck speed took full effect in October 2009. The judge reduced Mooney’s fine from $390 to $250 without explanation.

“I don’t look at the loss of this particular court challenge as a loss,” Mooney said. “It was a learning experience, and I did learn a lot from it on the procedures that need to be done. It will prepare me for another challenge if it comes up, as well as making that information public to anyone that wants it.”

Alberta passes distracted driving law

The Legislative Assembly of Alberta passed a law in late 2010 that takes a comprehensive approach to distracted driving in the province. Included are restrictions on texting, e-mailing, use of laptop computers and electronic devices, and personal grooming. The law does allow commercial drivers to use CB radios for work purposes.

Use of cell phones must be in hands-free mode, and GPS devices are exempt as long as the driver does not program the unit while driving. Full enforcement, including fines of $172 for violations, will take effect in midyear. LL

eManifest program closer to implementation

The Canadian Border Services Agency has rolled out the next phase of its eManifest program affecting ground cargo. The agency’s goal is to protect against potential health, safety and security risks at the border.

The program is currently in trial mode, but when fully implemented in about a year and-a-half, it will require trade partners in all modes of transportation to submit cargo, crew/passenger, conveyance, secondary and importer data to the Canadian Border Services Agency prior to arrival at the border. Visit www.cbsa.gc.ca for more information. LL

New Brunswick bridge will soon be toll free

Tolls on the Saint John Harbour Bridge in New Brunswick will be removed March 31 after 42 years.

The bridge carries four lanes of provincial Route 1 traffic across the St. John River and is an important link for the eastern provinces and border traffic from nearby Maine. A thousand commercial vehicles use the bridge daily, paying $3.50 cash or $3.15 with B-Pass.

An agreement signed by provincial and federal officials transfers ownership of the bridge from the Saint John Harbour Bridge Authority to the province and eliminates the bridge authority. As part of the agreement, the federal government will forgive an outstanding $22.6 million federal loan and will kick in half of the $35 million needed for rehabilitation. LL

Aug/Sept Digital Edition