Ontario committee still accepting comments on speed limiters

| 5/28/2008

A legislative committee in Ontario, Canada, has yet to schedule public hearings on controversial legislation that would make speed limiters mandatory on heavy trucks. The committee is still accepting comments.

As of Wednesday, May 28, members of the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Justice Policy had not met to discuss an agenda for the legislation known as Bill 41, committee clerk Susan Sourial told Land Line. The committee had not taken any action as of Wednesday to schedule public hearings. Click here to read the text of the speed-limiter bill.

According to the legislative calendar, Ontario provincial lawmakers are scheduled to recess from June 26 to Sept. 22, unless the Legislature votes to shorten the recess. The legislative session is scheduled to end Dec. 11. If the bill hasn’t been approved then, it could be left to die or the lawmakers could vote to carry it over to the next session, which begins March 23, 2009.

Sourial said the committee has a few options at this stage.

“The committee could meet over the summer if it got permission from the Legislature to do so,” she said. “I haven’t heard of that, which would lend me to believe that they would want to finish the bill, at least at the committee stage, by summer recess.”

The Legislature assigned Bill 41 to committee on May 13. The committee is responsible for receiving public testimony and has the power to accept or deny amendments to the bill before sending it back to the Legislature for a final vote.

Ontario Transportation Minister James Bradley introduced Bill 41 in March. It would mandate the activation of speed limiters at 105 km/h, or about 65 mph, through the electronic control modules of heavy trucks. The mandate would apply to all trucks doing business in Ontario, regardless of where they are domiciled.

The proposal contains fines for “tampering” with speed limiters once they are set.

Owner-operator groups, including OOIDA, are opposed to such a government mandate, saying speed limiters would cause dangerous speed differentials on the highways among vehicle classes. Truckers also challenge the reported fuel savings and emissions reductions as promoted by large motor carriers and their associations.

The Justice Policy Committee is accepting public comments and requests to testify at future hearings in Ontario, Sourial said. The contact information is:

            Susan Sourial, clerk
            Standing Committee on Justice Policy
            99 Wellesley Street West, Room 1405
            Whitney Block, Queen’s Park
            Toronto, Ontario
            Canada M7A 1A2

            Phone: (416) 325-7352
            Fax: (416) 325-3505
            TTY: (416) 325-3538
            E-mail: susan_sourial@ontla.ola.org

– By David Tanner, staff writer