Truckers concerned about speed limiters and civil rights

| 6/2/2009

In one month, July 1, many Canadians will be traveling the highways to or from Canada Day celebrations. July 1 is also a significant day for highway users in Ontario and Quebec, as law enforcement is scheduled to begin fining truckers who are found in violation of regulations that require heavy trucks to have speed limiters.

The six-month educational period that began Jan. 1 ends on Canada Day as full enforcement begins on the provincial laws that require trucks to be limited to 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph, in Ontario and Quebec regardless of where they are from.

Truckers are still hoping to get the governments of these provinces to take another look at what these laws will do to the flow of traffic, highway safety and to trucking.

Scott Mooney, a trucker and OOIDA member from Cambridge, Ontario, formed a group called Ontario Truckers Against Speed Limiters. The group is staging a protest event for June 13 at the Milton Fairgrounds, just minutes west of Toronto along Highway 401.

“This decision is disastrous for Ontario truckers and their families, and it is causing irreparable damage to our economy,” Mooney stated in a media advisory.

“At a time of one of the worst economic recessions in recent history, when thousands of Ontario trucking families are having trouble making ends meet, the cost of implementing a mandatory speed limiter is the worst possible decision the government could make.”

A year ago, the Liberal Party government under Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty enacted Bill 41 to cap the top road speed of trucks at 105 km/h.

Studies including a six-part review by Transport Canada have shown that limiting trucks creates an unsafe speed differential on the highways.

U.S.-based OOIDA, as well as the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada, contends that speed limiters in Ontario will harm interprovincial and cross-border trade.

Mooney says that with Canada Day approaching, he is hearing from truckers who are concerned that their rights under the country’s Charter of Rights are being violated with each suppressive measure taken by the government.

“Making speed limiters mandatory is prejudging every truck driver as a speeder,” Mooney told Land Line. “People are saying we have a right to face our accuser in court, and they’ve taken that right away.”

Mooney organized the protest event to bring truckers, the public and the media together to talk about the effects of the legislation.

The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, June 13, with speeches at 11:30 a.m.

Milton Fairgrounds is located at 136 Robert Street, Milton, Ontario, less than a mile south of Highway 401, which is considered one of the busiest routes in North America.

– By David Tanner, staff writer