OOIDA to Ontario: speed limiters treacherous

| 9/5/2008

OOIDA officials say a government effort to make speed limiters mandatory in Ontario, Canada, will not make highways safer and will not save the environment.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed comments with the Regulatory Registry of Ontario prior to the regulatory deadline of Sunday, Aug. 31.

OOIDA officials oppose government-mandated speed limiters and suggested alternatives for the government to consider.

Provincial lawmakers passed Bill 41 in June to require speed limiters on all heavy trucks doing business in Ontario regardless of domicile. Provincial officials continue to push for a fall 2008 implementation that is to include an educational period of six months to a year.

“Slowing down trucks, without slowing down other vehicles, will compromise safety,” OOIDA officials stated in their comments.

OOIDA officials stated that mandatory speed limiters will have a “significant adverse effect” on truckers who live or run in jurisdictions outside Ontario that have higher posted speed limits than the cap proposed by regulators at 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph.

Association officials pointed out that 22 states have speed limits at 70 mph or higher and four Canadian provinces have speed limits at 110 km/h, or 68 mph, on major highways.

Limiting trucks at a speed that is less than what is permitted in other jurisdictions violates rules of free trade and commerce, OOIDA officials claim.

OOIDA officials do not condone speeding by any vehicle class, pointing out in their comments that truck traffic almost always moves at a slower rate than passenger vehicles.

That point led into stated studies about fuel conservation and greenhouse gas emissions, something Ontario lawmakers see as a benefit of mandatory speed limiters.

OOIDA officials contend that although a truck may move at a slower pace and save fuel with speed limiters as a general rule – a benefit that diminishes if the truck is not geared or specified properly – other vehicles will be decelerating and accelerating around that truck and therefore consuming more fuel than if traffic were moving uniformly.

“Similar savings may be obtained by less costly means,” OOIDA officials stated.

OOIDA’s suggested alternatives to government-mandated speed limiters include driver training.

“Training is crucial because driver variability (brake use, idle time, frequent acceleration/deceleration) has twice the effect of speed on fuel efficiency,” Association officials stated.

OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig told Land Line that the Association would rather see Ontario implement a pilot program to limit the road speed of the “few bad apples” than blanket the entire industry with a mandate.

OOIDA officials also favor stronger enforcement of the posted speed limits.

– By David Tanner, staff writer