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12/15/2005
SPECIAL REPORT: Canada wants speed limiter comments by Dec. 23

If you thought mandatory speed limiters on trucks was just a pet project in the Canadian province of Ontario, you haven't read far enough into the issue.

The Ontario Trucking Association, which represents many of Canada's large motor carriers, proposed a mandatory engine speed of 105 km/h or 65 mph on all trucks based in or doing business in Ontario. The OTA announcement came at a convention and press conference in November, and OTA has since submitted an 18-point recommendation to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

Advocates for truckers say it is in the best interest of owner-operators and other drivers, regardless of where they do business, to get up to speed on the issue because there is now a ticking clock involved.

The Ontario transportation ministry has opened a short public comment period for anyone for or against mandatory speed limiters. The clock began ticking Tuesday, Dec. 13, and the comment period will end Dec. 23.

What this means is the provincial government is collecting opinions to consider before it takes up the issue.

Owner-operator advocates like OOIDA - with 133,000 members in the U.S. and Canada, and the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada (OBAC), oppose mandatory speed limiters.

Both associations are on record opposing the OTA proposal, and they need your help. Check the links below for comments from OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston and OBAC Executive Director Joanne Ritchie.

The association leaders said they need truckers to help raise a collective voice against government-mandated speed limiters. Johnston and Ritchie said the issue has nothing to do with fuel economy or the safety stance OTA has cited in its proposal. It has to do with keeping things equal for cars and trucks. As Ritchie and Johnston have declared, regulating the speed of trucks and not regulating the speed of cars can cause unsafe road conditions.

"When you have cars going faster than trucks, that in fact creates unsafe conditions," Ritchie told Land Line in early December. "When you get trucks in the left lane or right lane going slower, it creates all kinds of problems with cars weaving around them, trying to get on and off the interstates."

Johnston added that mandatory speed limiters create an uneven playing field, not an even one.

"One of my main objections to it is a group of motor carriers get together and decide that they personally would like their trucks limited at a specific speed, which they certainly have every right to do on their own," Johnston said. "The problem is they want to force this down everyone else's throat as well, so they don't lose competitive advantage, either for available drivers, or for their ease of movement around the country."

Johnston encouraged truckers - Canadian and American - to watch the issue closely and make their opinions known.

Anyone interested in the issue may contact the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario regarding the proposal, which seeks to require speed limiters on all trucks that run in Ontario. Write to:

Attn: Dwain Smith, Senior Policy Advisor
Ministry of Transportation
Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch
3rd Floor, 301 St. Paul Street
St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada
L2R 7R4

You can also send comments via e-mail to: dwain.smith@mto.gov.on.ca or call Dwain Smith directly at (905) 704-2624.

Here is a link to the OTA proposal so you can see for yourself what mandatory speed limiters are all about:www.ontruck.org/speedlimiters.

- By David Tanner, staff writer
david_tanner@landlinemag.com

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