Canadian lawmaker wants speed limiters mandated for cars

| 8/29/2008

If speed limiters can be made mandatory on heavy trucks in Ontario, they can also be made mandatory on cars, a federal lawmaker there has said.

Canadian Member of Parliament Jim Karygiannis, a Liberal Party member from Scarborough, Ontario, filed a private member bill this summer that would require the electronic limitation of the speed of all cars manufactured or imported after Jan. 1, 2010.

Karygiannis’ bill, a proposed amendment to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, calls for the top speed of all passenger vehicles to be capped at 150 kilometers per hour, or 93 mph. He has chosen that speed because 150 km/h is the threshold in Ontario that authorizes law enforcement to confiscate a speeder’s vehicle.

“Why does anyone need a car that goes over 150 when you can’t go that fast or you lose your car,” Karygiannis told Land Line.

Karygiannis said all cars with computer technology have speed limiters but they are set much higher than 150 km/h. While visiting in Europe, Karygiannis said, he found that officials in a number of countries are openly campaigning to lower speed-limiter settings.

“Every car has a speed limiter, whether it’s set at 160, 170 or 180 or whatever,” he said.

Because the Conservative Party holds federal power in Canada, Karygiannis filed the measure as a private member bill. This process is reserved for members of opposition parties who possess a minority of votes in the House of Commons.

Private member bills have a low rate of passage because the majority party typically lets them stall in committee without debate.

In order for his measure to pass, Karygiannis said he must convince the Conservative speaker of the House to allow debate and an eventual vote.

Karygiannis said he believes this particular issue warrants discussion.

“There’s a lot of support coming throughout the country,” he said. “We sent letters to mayors across the country and we started to have a lot of the councils writing us back and saying ‘we’re supporting this.’”

Click here for a transcript of the bill.

– By David Tanner, staff writer