Speed limiters could be delayed in Quebec

| 12/7/2007

A proposal in Quebec for mandatory speed limiters on heavy trucks is not expected to be the slam dunk officials hoped it would be when Transportation Minister Julie Boulet filed the legislation earlier this month.

Transportation officials now say they could wait to implement speed limiters until the rest of Canada enacts similar legislation, according to an OOIDA member who spoke before a government-appointed transportation commission Friday, Nov. 30, in Quebec City.

The commission invited numerous people to speak at a series of public hearings – part of the protocol when a bill is introduced in the Quebec National Assembly – to discuss Boulet’s six-point legislation known as “Bill 42.”

Bill 42 includes proposals for speed limiters on trucks, red-light cameras, photo radar, a ban on the use of cell phone handsets while driving, tougher penalties for speeding, and tougher penalties for intoxicated drivers.

OOIDA member Jean Catudal of Yamaska, Quebec, was invited to speak Friday and was one of about 15 people to offer comments.

He said the hearing produced good news and bad news for owner-operators.

“The bad news is the government is going to adopt the bill as is. Speed limiters will not be taken out of their proposal,” Catudal told Land Line. “On the other hand, we got guarantees from the governing party and the opposition parties that they won’t put speed limiters in place until the rest of Canada adopts it.”

Catudal told Boulet and the transportation commission that speed limiters on heavy trucks would lead to unsafe interactions between trucks and passenger vehicles. He also said speed limiters would create rolling roadblocks of trucks unable to pass one another.

Boulet, a member of the Liberal Party, introduced Bill 42 on Nov. 14 to amend the Highway Code and add the six measures she contends will make highways safer. She is hoping to earn support for her legislation by the end of the year. A parliamentary debate and subsequent vote in the Assembly would follow in early 2008, a transportation spokesman told Land Line.

Liberals in Quebec currently hold a minority government, which means they must win the support of at least one of the opposition parties to get enough votes for legislation to pass.

OBAC Executive Director Joanne Ritchie calls it a breakthrough that the Quebec government is even considering a delay.

“On the other hand, if Bill 42 is passed with the speed-limiter clause intact, Quebec will have legislation on the books which it will undoubtedly move to enforce if pro-speed limiter legislation passes in other jurisdictions,” Ritchie told Land Line.

Ritchie said she remains concerned about the province of Ontario, where speed limiters are also being discussed. As of yet, legislation has not been filed by Ontario Minister of Transportation Jim Bradley.

“We still have a tough fight ahead of us, particularly in Ontario, where we need to quash potential legislation before it even sees the light of day,” Ritchie said.

Meanwhile, Bill 42 in Quebec continues to garner media attention and public comments on all sides.

– By David Tanner, staff writer