Drivers chiming in before speed limiter deadline

| 12/20/2005

Drivers are speaking their minds before the public comment period ends Friday, Dec. 23, on a proposal for mandatory engine governors in the Canadian province of Ontario.

In November, the Ontario Trucking Association announced it wanted a government mandate for speed limiters on all trucks to control speed at 105 km/h or 65 mph.

Since the announcement, the Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada and the U.S.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have come out against mandatory speed limiters.

Gradus Vandenheuvel, an owner-operator who lives in Drumbo, Ontario, grew up in Holland where speed limiters are now the law. He doesn’t like OTA’s position of using a successful European program to set parameters in North America. He says there should be no comparison.

“If you want to go the European way, you go all the way, you don’t go half-half,” Vandenheuvel told Land Line. “These speed limiters are nice and dandy in Holland, because we get paid by the hour and not by the kilometer or mile … so the only people going to benefit from this are the big companies, not the drivers.”

That is also the contention of OOIDA and OBAC – that mandatory speed limiters are a ploy by the large motor carriers to level the playing field in certain areas like driver recruitment and retention.

OOIDA and OBAC drafted a joint statement against speed limiters for the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, which began collecting public comments last week in a brief, 10-day window.

Dwain Smith, a senior policy advisor at MTO, is collecting the comments. He said MTO is scheduled to compile the comments after the comment period closes and release a statement some time after that.

“It would be premature to provide details at this time,” Smith told Land Line via e-mail.

Ray Gompf is another Canadian trucker has serious concerns with mandatory speed limiters.

“Speed limiters don’t work any better than split-speed limits,” he stated via e-mail. “Speed limiters don’t work to solve the problem of either reducing wrecks or making drivers safer. Proper HOS regulations may make for safer drivers but at least a driver may have an argument when the dispatcher says, ‘This load absolutely has to be there, so throw your log book away,’ and that is said all too often.”

Canadian drivers are not the only ones who have concerns about mandatory speed limiters. Should the Ontario government create a new regulation, all trucks operating in Ontario would be required to have their engine governors activated at the proposed limit.

OTA is working with the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Association on a wider regulation for all of North America.

OOIDA and OBAC have also spoken out against a North America-wide policy.

There is still time for your voice to be heard. Contact Dwain Smith at MTO by e-mailing or by calling him directly at (905) 704-2624.

– By David Tanner, staff writer