All systems go for speed-limiter protest Monday in Ontario

| 2/27/2009

Truckers are gathering Monday, March 2, to call attention to a law they say will hurt small-business truckers and highway safety in the province of Ontario.

The provincial government began enforcing regulations Jan. 1 that require speed limiters to be set at a maximum of 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph, on all heavy trucks manufactured since 1995, regardless of where they are base plated.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada filed comments and testified against the law on grounds that it will limit competition and violate rules of fair trade inside and outside the province.

OOIDA member Scott Mooney, an owner-operator from Cambridge, Ontario, organized the grassroots protest, saying the Liberal Party government has ignored repeated testimony that mandatory speed limiters will hurt trucking.

He is hoping truckers can gain the attention of lawmakers to repeal or at least amend the law.

Mooney will lead a peaceful convoy of trucks Monday morning from Cambridge to arrive at 11 a.m. at Queen’s Park, the provincial government headquarters in downtown Toronto.

According to Mooney’s online Facebook group, Truckers Against Speed Limiter Legislation, truckers from any background are welcome to join one of two convoys departing at 9 a.m. from truck stops in Cambridge and Bowmanville. A third convoy originating in London was in the works but had not been confirmed as of press time.

The Cambridge convoy will assemble from 7 to 9 a.m. at the Cedar Creek Esso Truck Stop at Highway 97, just south of Highway 401.

The Bowmanville convoy will assemble at the 5th Wheel Truck Stop, located at the Waverly Road interchange on the 401. Truckers will depart for Queen’s Park at 9 a.m.

“Word is out that there are many more truckers coming from different directions and from a lot farther away than what we are aware of,” Mooney stated in a recent press release.

By the request of the Ontario Provincial Police, trucks involved in the convoy will travel in the center lane of Highway 401 to have the maximum exposure but minimum effect on traffic, he added.

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.

For this reason, a high-percentage of OOIDA members in the U.S. stated on an OOIDA Foundation survey that they would stop doing business in Ontario and in neighboring Quebec when provincial enforcement makes it cost-prohibitive and time-prohibitive for them.

In the meantime, Mooney is not alone in saying he is in no hurry to ratchet back his speed settings.

The province’s educational period ends and full enforcement of the regulation is scheduled to begin around Canada Day, July 1.

– By David Tanner, staff writer