There is little doubt that most of
the media focus in Canada has been on the grueling political campaigns that closed
on Election Day, Monday, Jan. 23.
But as the end of January
approaches, the eyes of professional truckers continue to be on the issue of
mandatory speed limiters in
Not only are Canadian truckers
interested in what the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario will say about a
proposed mandatory setting of engine governors at 105 kilometers per mile –
about 65 mph – all of North America’s truckers have a stake in the outcome.
MTO is poised to brief Minister of
Transportation Harinder Takhar soon. Early reports said the briefing would
happen by the end of January, following a public comment period at the end of
2005. The latest word from MTO is the briefing will happen soon, but no exact
date has been announced.
The Ontario Trucking Association,
which represents many of the province’s largest motor carriers, asked the
government mandate speed limiters with the 65 mph cap. Many of the motor
carriers already set their engine governors at 65 mph voluntarily, and a
government mandate is one way to level the field of competition with
owner-operators and small-business truckers.
The benefits, which professional
associations such as OOIDA are questioning, are OTA’s claims of safer roads,
less-severe accidents, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced wear and
tear on trucks and tires.
OOIDA and the Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada have both submitted formal oppositions against
the proposal, not because they have any dispute with findings about greenhouse
gas emissions or wear and tear. Those studies are not in dispute. The
opposition comes with the OTA claims about safety.
There are several studies out
there, and they don’t always show the same results.
With traffic on interstates and
major Canadian highways flowing faster than 65 mph, trucks with engine
governors set at that limit are more likely to be encountered from behind by
faster vehicles, a University of Arkansas study has shown.
The Canadian Automobile
the province’s largest insurer, has come out in favor of mandatory speed
limiters, but even that association has conceded a few points in a 1991 study
by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“Our position on that is, while
there’s clearly no evidence this is going to increase or decrease the number of
accidents, it shows there’s going to be a change in the nature of accidents,” CAA spokesman Kris Barnier told Land Line. “You see an increase of cars
in the back of trucks, and you see a decrease in the number of trucks in the
back of cars.”
CAA’s support for speed limiters
comes from an environmental angle, Barnier said, since one of CAA’s main
missions is for protecting the global climate.
“From an environmental
perspective, it’s a good thing,” he said.
Barnier said a number of CAA
members surveyed said their fear of big trucks increased when the trucks passed
OTA President and CEO David
Bradley helped draw the attention of the mainstream media last week, saying the
speed-limiter proposal was gaining momentum.
Bradley, who is also president of
the Canadian Trucking Alliance, said motor-carrier associations in most
Canadian provinces support mandatory engine governors.