OOIDA wants feedback about speed limiters

| 3/30/2009

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wants to hear from truckers on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border about their experiences with electronic speed limiters and the laws that require them on all heavy trucks traveling in Ontario and Quebec.

OOIDA Government Affairs Counsel Laura O’Neill is preparing to meet with Canadian lawmakers on the issue of speed limiters, highway safety, competition and trade.

She particularly wants to hear from U.S. truckers who are being affected by the speed-limiter laws that went into effect Jan. 1. The Ontario and Quebec laws require all trucks 1995 and newer in excess of 26,000 pounds to be equipped with an electronic speed limiter set at or below 105 kilometers per hour, or approximately 65 mph.

“It is important for those U.S. truckers who haul into Canada to be aware that they could be facing fines if they are running non-compliant,” O’Neill told Land Line on Friday, March 27.

“While we have pretty firm commitments from federal officials in the U.S. not to pursue this foolish legislation, we certainly don’t want to see it spread across Canada. The U.S. has had a pretty good trade relationship with Canada particularly when it comes to trucking, and we would like to see it continue. But provinces shouldn’t have the freedom to pass trade barriers and unilaterally thicken the border.”

OOIDA issued a Call to Action on March 27 requesting truckers to share their opinions about speed limiters. E-mail comments to Laura_Oneill@ooida.com. She is looking for answers to questions such as “have you or someone you know received a citation or warning?” or “will you continue to haul into Ontario and Quebec?”

O’Neill will meet with provincial lawmakers April 6 in Toronto followed by meetings with federal lawmakers in Ottawa.

“The purpose of this trip is to bring the stories of the truckers who this legislation is already impacting,” she said.

“For example, the drivers who have to pay $100 every time they enter or exit the province; or the driver who has a regular route hauling from Toronto to Texas. He describes himself as a rolling hazard now as he travels through the varying states at least 10 mph slower than the flow of traffic. He has been yelled at ‘to go back to his own country’ or learn how to drive.”

“You will simply see less U.S. trucks traveling into Ontario, and you will see animosity start to grow for Canadian trucks on U.S. highways,” O’Neill said. “It’s already happening.”

U.S.-based OOIDA and the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada continue to fight against government-mandated speed limiters for reasons including but not limited to competition, effects on highway safety, cross-border and interprovincial trade, and the provinces using limiters as a substitute for enforcing current speed laws.

– By David Tanner, staff writer