Ontario speed limiter protest set for March 2

| 1/26/2009

Truckers have set a new date to protest regulations in Ontario that require all heavy trucks to be electronically speed limited at a maximum of 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph.

Protest organizer Scott Mooney, an OOIDA member from Cambridge, Ontario, said bad weather in December forced the postponement of the initial protest. He has rescheduled the event to take place March 2 at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

Mooney said the interest is growing in the grassroots effort to challenge the regulation.

“From what I’ve been gathering from chatter, there may be various groups coming from various directions,” Mooney told Land Line. That includes some U.S. truckers, he said.

Mooney has been rounding up support via the social networking site, Facebook.com. His online group, Truckers Against Speed Limiter Legislation, has joined up more than 500 members. Click here to access the page.

Another online group, Help Truckers Fight Ontario Bill 41, has more than 150 members.

The Ontario government passed Bill 41 in June 2008 and began enforcing regulations on Jan. 1, starting with a six-month educational period.

Owner-operators and the groups that represent them are challenging the law on grounds that it violates rules of fair trade inside and outside the province.

The U.S.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada say the law limits competition in Ontario and has little to do with safety or the environment.

A high percentage of OOIDA members in the U.S. say they will be forced to stop doing business in Ontario and in neighboring Quebec where there is a similar law.

In a recent experiment, Mooney set his cruise control at or below 105 km/h while traveling the provincial 400-series highways where traffic routinely flows between 110 km/h and 120 km/h.

During the experiment, Mooney said he saw his share of unsafe interactions and was routinely cursed by motorists stuck behind his truck or trying to pass.

Mooney says he is in no hurry to ratchet back his speed settings. A number of truckers contacting Land Line have said the same thing.

“At this point right now, I’m not going to comply,” Mooney said. “I’m looking forward to getting my first citation and having my day in court.”

– By David Tanner, staff writer