Speed limiter issue reaches Quebec government commission

| 6/15/2006

A transportation safety initiative, which includes a section about mandatory speed limiters for all heavy trucks, has reached the government level in Canada’s primarily French-speaking province, Quebec.

The Quebec provincial government, known as the National Assembly, received a report June 8 from a government commission charged with recommending parliamentary action on transportation and the environment.

The 72-page document included information on hands-on versus hands-free phone devices, speeding in general, and a mention of the Quebec Trucking Association’s stance to promote government-mandated speed limiters.

The QTA stance is similar to that of the Ontario Trucking Association and Canadian Trucking Alliance, which calls for all trucks operating in Ontario to be governed at 105 kilometers per hour, or about 65 mph.

Canadian owner-operator Jean Catudal, who is an OOIDA member and co-host of the XM Satellite Radio Channel 172 weekly program, “Entre le 2 Lignes,” – which translates to “Between the Lines” – said the report does not mean the government is automatically supporting speed limiters.

“It’s not a reason to drop our guards on it, but not a reason to worry unnecessarily on it,” Catudal told Land Line.

The issue of government-mandated speed limiters has sparked its share of controversy.

Although speed limiters have the potential to save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, opponents to a government mandate say there are safety issues involved with speed differentials between cars and trucks.

“It will create elephant races on both lanes of traffic more than it already does when this happens,” Catudal said.

Fluent in French and English, Catudal has brought important trucking issues to light on his XM show, which is aired in French. He said he is also a daily “Land Line Now” listener.

Catudal recently submitted written comments on speed limiters to the Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, and he sent Land Line a copy.

Catudal said he believes the large motor carriers have an agenda to recruit and retain drivers once all trucks are governed at 105 km/h.

“This is an effort to level the playing field only in one way – the large carriers’ way, not the small-business trucker,” he stated.

Catudal says enforcement of all existing motor-vehicle laws is the key to making provincial highways safer.

– By David Tanner, staff writer