Canadian fleet council does not support speed limiters

| 1/27/2006

A private fleet council in Canada says it will not support the Ontario Trucking Association’s proposal for government-mandated speed limiters on trucks.

The Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, which is committed to promoting the rights and interests of private fleet operators, stated in its monthly newsletter it does not favor a government-imposed speed limiter setting at OTA’s recommended 105 km/h (65 mph) cap.

“What we believe is lacking in the proposal, is any definitive proof that truck speeding is a major issue in Ontario,” the newsletter stated.

Many fleets already use engine governors. The Ontario Trucking Association proposed making them mandatory, in part to level the competitive playing field with owner-operators and independent drivers.

The OTA cited fuel economy and highway safety when selling the proposal, but at the same time, OTA President and CEO David Bradley acknowledged that trucks are the “least likely vehicles to be speeding on Ontario’s highways.”

The PMTC points to statistics in 2003 that shows 20,600 Class A drivers were issued speeding tickets, compared to 587,000 regular motorists.

“We are not cavalier about speeding trucks,” the PMTC letter said. “Of course they represent a danger, but responsible carriers have established speed policies for their fleets.”

PMTC said that a “few bad apples” who speed give truckers a bad name.

“Until there is proof that truck speeding is a significant, out-of-control issue, we cannot support a regulation that would require speed limiters for all trucks,” PMTC said.

PMTC also suggests concentrating efforts on areas of enforcement, such as speeding in construction zones.

“Bill 169 specifically identified speeding in construction zones as worthy of increased penalties,” the newsletter stated. “And it would be valuable to know, over time, whether this has the desired effect.”

PMTC said it would like to see if that type of enforcement would be effective before the province moves on to something like mandatory speed limiters at 105 km/h.

PMTC said the province of Ontario has been unable to quantify the issue of speeding trucks in past attempts.

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario is getting closer to rendering a briefing on speed limiters and whether the government should consider the issue. That briefing was originally set to happen before the end of January.

MTO officials said they are still working toward a briefing, but no formal date has been set.

OOIDA, which represents more than 133,000 professional truckers in the U.S. and Canada, along with the Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada, have filed formal statements with MTO in opposition to speed limiters as part of an information-gathering process by the province.

– David Tanner, staff writer