SPECIAL REPORT: New Ontario official picks up push for speed limiters

| 11/9/2007

Friday, Nov. 9, 2007 – OOIDA and the Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada continue to fight against mandatory speed limiters following a recent provincial election in Ontario.

Shortly after the Oct. 10 election, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, whose Liberal Party won a clear majority of seats in Parliament, replaced former Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield with new Transportation Minister Jim Bradley.

Prior to the election, Cansfield made a campaign promise to make it mandatory for speed limiters to be set at 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph, on heavy trucks manufactured since 1995.

After being named the new transportation minister, Bradley and his staff said he intends to carry on with the speed limiter proposal.

“The government of Ontario is committed to developing a mandatory speed limiter program,” Bob Nichols, a provincial transportation spokesman, told Land Line this week.

“MTO staff continues to assess technology, determine implementation options and develop a legislative framework,” Nichols said. “Once complete, the draft legislative framework will be brought to the government for consideration.”

OBAC and OOIDA continue to caution Canadian officials about the negative impact speed limiters would have on cross-border commerce and highway safety.

“It is imperative that Transportation Minister Bradley take the responsible course of action on the speed limiter issue by waiting for studies commissioned by Transport Canada to be completed,” Rick Craig, OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs, told Land Line. “There are far too many questions left unanswered related to the impact on safety, trade and the environment.”

OBAC and OOIDA contend that mandatory speed limiters are a ploy by large motor carriers to gain a business advantage in areas such as driver recruitment and retention.

In neighboring Quebec, Transportation Minister Julie Boulet had vowed to implement speed limiters in that province by the end of 2007.

U.S. Reps. James Walsh, R-NY, Thomas Reynolds, R-NY, Randy Kuhl, R-NY, and Denny Rehberg, R-MT, have all contacted Canadian officials to show their opposition to mandatory speed limiters.

Walsh wrote to former minister Cansfield prior to the election to say that speed limiters would hurt trade between Canada and the U.S.

Kuhl followed up with a letter to Boulet in Quebec dated Oct. 11, saying that speed limiters would “have an adverse impact on trade between those Canadian provinces and the state of New York without resulting in the increased highway safety that you are apparently seeking.”

OOIDA and OBAC continue to urge their members to contact the ministries of transportation in Quebec and Ontario to voice concern about government-mandated speed limiters.

In the U.S., a push by the American Trucking Association to make speed limiters set at 68 mph mandatory has not progressed for several months.

ATA petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration in October 2006 to use the Federal Register to implement speed limiters at the manufacturing level and to make it illegal for the software to be tampered with.

An ATA spokesman recently told Land Line that neither FMCSA nor NHTSA have mentioned anything about speed limiters or the petition since early in 2007.

Speaking of petitions, OOIDA member Jean Catudal of Yamaska, Quebec, remains adamantly opposed to mandatory speed limiters.

Catudal is petitioning the Quebec government to abandon its speed limiter proposal. He had 728 names on his petition as of Thursday, Nov. 8. Click here to read more about Catudal’s petition.