Stakeholders on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border
continue to weigh in on the issue of mandatory speed limiters as Ontario officials say they are still not ready to report on their review of the matter.
The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario was scheduled for
an official briefing on speed limiters in January, but the MTO has not yet
released any new information.
An MTO spokesman’s e-mail to Land Line on Friday,
Feb. 24, confirmed the ministry is still studying the issue.
There are two proposals out there, one from the Ontario
Trucking Association, which is asking the provincial government to require speed
limiters to be set at 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph, on all trucks
operating in Ontario that were made since 1995.
The other proposal came from the leadership of the ATA,
which voted in mid-February to endorse activating speed limiters at 68 mph for
all trucks at the time of manufacture.
Some ATA spokespeople say their organization is not pushing
for a government mandate at this time, but north of the border, it’s all about
asking for a government mandate. OTA President and CEO David Bradley made no
secrets about endorsing mandatory speed limiters for all of North America.
The Ontario motor carrier’s group has built quite a case for
speed limiters, garnering support from environmental and insurance groups,
public safety advocates and a self-funded public survey.
However, OTA has drawn criticism from owner-operators and
the authors of studies that contradict the OTA’s safety claims.
Industry stakeholders continue to weigh in.
Take trucker Carl Brown, an OOIDA member from Gainesville, GA, who has been trucking since 1981.
Brown wrote to the Ontario ministry to say officials should
be listening to the truckers and not the powerbrokers. He shared his e-mail
with Land Line.
“They need to get in a truck and ride for a couple of weeks
and to see what we deal with day in and day out,” Brown wrote. “The thing we
need is to teach the everyday driver out here on how to share the road and what
we deal with.”
Brown said highway safety is about more than capping the
speed of the big rigs.
“Until you educate everyone on the roads and share them
equally there always going to be problems,” he wrote. “But limiters will only
cause accidents injuries and death. It’s not the trucking industry who is the
problem, it’s other drivers who are uneducated on the rules laws and just
common sense of the roads.”
OTA has claimed that activating speed limiters will increase
safety, reduce the severity of crashes involving trucks, and result in fuel
OTA’s official position on its Web site includes this
statement: “Similarly, it is further anticipated that lane discipline by trucks
will improve as a by-product of the mandatory activation of speed limiters,
again increasing the expectation that police services will be better able to
deal with the remaining transgressions of the laws pertaining to lane
Opponents have said they don’t feel that stacking trucks in
the right lane will lead to increased safety, particularly near on- and
OTA released statistics Tuesday, Feb. 21, that showed 71
percent of the Ontario public supporting a mandate on speed limiters at the 105
km/h setting. That survey of 1,000 people by IntelliPulse also showed that 79
percent of the public believes safety would increase if trucks were forced to
stay under 65 mph.
The Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada and its
executive director, Joanne Ritchie, are fighting against the measure in Ontario. Ritchie says enforcement of speed laws would be more practical.
OBAC and OOIDA submitted separate and joint comments in
opposition to the proposal to the Ontario government.
– By David Tanner, staff writer