Canadian owner-operator starts petition against speed limiters

| 7/9/2007

An owner-operator in Canada is doing his best to stand up against legislation calling for mandatory speed limiters on heavy trucks in Ontario and Quebec – legislation that would affect all trucks traveling in those provinces, including U.S. trucks.

Jean Catudal, an owner-operator from Yamaska, Quebec, is familiar to many French-Canadian and U.S. truckers alike through his online forum, Catudal has started a petition against mandatory speed limiters as proposed by transportation officials in Ontario and Quebec.

“It’s a petition I intend to present when the debates are going to come up, so the more signatures the better,” Catudal told Land Line Magazine.

Ontario Minister of Transportation Donna Cansfield and Quebec Minister of Transport Julie Boulet have called for speed limiters to be set on all trucks to govern top speeds at 105 kilometers per hour, which is about 65 mph.

Lawmakers in the respective provinces could debate the bills in October. Both bills toe the line of the Ontario Trucking Association and Canadian Trucking Alliance that all trucks should be speed-governed as a matter of highway safety and to reduce greenhouse gases.

Like many drivers on the highways, Catudal believes posted speed limits already regulate speeds and that most drivers abide to those laws. He believes the large motor carriers want to rein in owner-operators to gain a business advantage.

“We are limited in hours that we can drive with the hours-of-service laws in two countries,” Catudal said. “Over that, we are going to be limited on the speed we can travel in jurisdictions that allow us to run faster than 105 kilometers an hour, or 65 miles an hour – that’s the equivalent in miles. So for us being paid per mile, that’s where the difference is.”

From what he has seen and heard from other truckers, the issue of cross-border trade between the U.S. and Canada could get thrown for a loop if U.S. drivers have to activate speed limiters to enter the provinces, or if Canadian-domiciled drivers have mandatory speed limiters no matter where they operate.

Furthermore, he said, a driver knows best how his or her truck performs for the conditions.

“I know myself, being an owner-operator, my bottom line is relevant to the ways I can control my right foot on the throttle,” Catudal said. “I adapt my driving to whatever the load, the temperature and road conditions to get the maximum out of my truck.”

To read and sign Catudal’s petition, click here.

– By David Tanner, staff writer