SPECIAL REPORT: New Brunswick seeks speed limiters for trucks

| 4/28/2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 – The province of New Brunswick may be next to follow Ontario and Quebec in requiring electronic speed limiters on all heavy-duty trucks, Land Line has confirmed.

Registrar of Motor Vehicles, Charles O’Donnell, said he is working on a recommendation for consideration in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.

“At this point the Legislature hasn’t made a decision or considered a bill,” O’Donnell told Land Line. “We’re expecting that they will be considering a bill within the near future.”

“Of course, Ontario and Quebec have implemented the legislation in their jurisdictions, so we’re looking very seriously at the benefits of having a speed-limiter corridor from the eastern New Brunswick border to the western Ontario border,” he added.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes government-mandated speed limiters because of the consequences for interprovincial and cross-border trade and because of the creation of unsafe speed differentials between cars and trucks on the highways.

“New Brunswick is jumping the gun on this,” OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Rick Craig told Land Line. “No one has proven the benefits of speed limiters or disproven the points we’ve made about the negative implications of speed-limiter mandates.”

Should New Brunswick follow the Ontario and Quebec laws that went into effect Jan. 1, all trucks 1995 and newer grossing over 26,000 pounds would be required to have a working speed limiter set at or below 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph, regardless of where they are base-plated.

O’Donnell said the issue in New Brunswick comes from the belief that speed limiters will improve safety and reduce greenhouse gases.

He said the province has worked on a national and international scale to implement programs to curb climate change.

Skeptics are not convinced on the arguments of speed differential and fuel savings.

New Brunswick’s top posted speed limit is 110 km/h, or about 68 mph. Speed limiters would force trucks to go below the speed limit, creating a greater speed differential on major highways than exist in Ontario or Quebec where the top posted limit is 100 km/h, or 62 mph.

Craig said fuel savings will happen only if a particular truck is spec’d to operate at the intended highway speed.

“This needs to be stopped before it gets out of hand,” Craig said. “If anyone operating in New Brunswick has anything to say about it, now is the time before it’s too late.”

O’Donnell said he welcomes comments on issues affecting the motoring public at the following address and phone number:

Charles O’Donnell
Registrar of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB E3B-5H1
Phone: 506-453-2410

The legislative session in New Brunswick has four weeks left until summer recess and resumes in the fall.

– By David Tanner, staff writer