The issue of speed limiters goes beyond truck speed and fuel savings,
according to the Owner-Operator’s Business Association based in
OBAC Executive Director Joanne Ritchie and driver advocates like OOIDA
President Jim Johnston are concerned that mandatory speed limiters would upset
the balance on the roadways and create hazards for all motorists.
“When you have cars going faster than trucks, that in
fact creates unsafe conditions,” Ritchie told Land Line. “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.”
Limiters, also known as engine governors, have been an ongoing issue,
particularly since this past summer, when the Ontario Trucking Association
began seeking a government mandate for all trucks doing business in the
The OTA proposed a top-end restriction of 105 kilometers per hour, or
about 65 mph.
Ritchie points out some of the flaws in the OTA proposal, but she does
not question the fact that reducing speeds saves fuel and could reduce certain
types of accidents.
“To come out and say we’re opposed to speed limiters may send a message
to OTA that we’re opposing it because we’re condoning the opposite,” said the
Canadian owner-operator advocate.
“It’s a tricky issue because what we’re really opposing is the
government regulation on the engine governors.”
The motor carriers’ position, stated by the OTA, includes the
declaration of fuel and money savings and a stance that reduced speeds lead to
Ritchie says governing engines should be left up to the individual
companies and not the government.
“We don’t have any problem if fleets want to make that decision to
govern their engines,” Ritchie said. “It could save them fuel and control
speeding and that’s a business issue for them. As far as owner-operators, on
the cost side of things, most of the ones who are business savvy at all are
aware of the business advantages of going slow because of fuel economy. It
makes a lot of business sense.”
The proposal would govern all trucks operating in
, not just Ontario-based trucks.
“How is this going to be enforced?” Ritchie asked. “I could see
non-Ontario plated trucks being targeted to make sure they have their speed
Then, Ritchie said, there’s the issue of commerce.
“Seventy-five percent of value by trade with the
goes through four
ports, but it doesn’t all originate in
she said. “It’s also coming in through those border crossings and then going to
other parts of
Ritchie said she believes speed can be controlled in other ways.
“We would like to see enforcement,” she said. “Obviously there are the
individuals that are going to speed and we have enforcement for that. The only
place it’s a problem is in the greater
Even then we know from research and studies show speeding is the cars and not
– By David Tanner