SPECIAL REPORT: CTA wants mandatory speed limiters in Canada

| 3/2/2006

A national speed limiter campaign has become official in Canada, and an effect is expected to be felt across all of North America.

As expected this week, the Canadian Trucking Alliance announced its provincial subdivisions will campaign for government mandates requiring speed limiters to be set on all heavy trucks at a maximum of 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph.

David Bradley, CEO of the alliance, said that while truckers are among the safest drivers on the road and the least likely to be speeding when compared to cars, the mandatory speed limiters are needed for safety and fuel economy.

Bradley's position has drawn fire from owner-operator associations in Canada and in the U.S. because of studies that contradict the safety claims. Owner-operators also believe CTA is pushing the proposal to decrease competition and level the playing field in terms of driver recruitment tactics.

Canada has seven provincial associations making up the CTA. The Ontario Trucking Association opened the gate in 2005 when it asked the Ontario government to mandate the 65 mph setting for speed limiters on all trucks operating in that province. OTA began pushing a formal campaign in November 2005 and followed up with other provinces.

Bradley is the top executive of both CTA and OTA, which makes it no surprise to truckers that the campaign got to the national scale this week.

The provincial groups will soon be asking their respective governments - which operate similar to state governments in the United States - to mandate speed limiters through legislation, according to a CTA statement.

Quebec's trucking association had initially rejected the idea of speed limiters, but is now on board, Bradley told Land Line.

CTA and OTA continue to boast about endorsements for speed limiters from safety associations, environmental groups, insurance companies and other interests.

Owner-operator associations such as U.S.-based OOIDA and the Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada, continue to reject the idea based on studies that refute studies and surveys conducted by CTA and the ATA. To read OOIDA's comments as submitted to the MTO, click here. To reader OBAC's comments, click here.

In the U.S., the ATA leadership recently voted to endorse activating speed limiters at 68 mph at the point of manufacture. The OEMs already activate speed limiters, which are part of a truck's computer system, at the request of their customers.

Speed limiters, opponents believe, will only lead to more "elephant races," right-lane convoys and tailgating.

- David Tanner, staff writer