SPECIAL REPORT: Ontario Registry seeks comments on speed limiter regs

| 7/17/2008

Thursday, July 17, 2008 – The Regulatory Registry of Ontario, Canada, has opened up a 45-day public comment period on regulations proposed to accompany a recent government vote to make speed limiters mandatory on heavy trucks.

The Regulatory Registry of Ontario posted the proposed regulations as part of a process leading up to the implementation of Bill 41. The Ontario Legislature approved Bill 41 in June as part of a platform to cap the top road speed of trucks in the province at 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph, regardless of where the trucks are based.

Regulators are accepting public comments for 45 days beginning Thursday, July 17, and ending Aug. 31.

Officials with the U.S.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and Ontario-based Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada say Bill 41 is unfair to truckers plated outside of Ontario because it creates jurisdictional barriers to competition.

OOIDA officials said Thursday, July 17, that they plan to file official comments with the Regulatory Registry and are urging Association members to do the same.

Regulatory officials describe the Registry as a way to share opinions and to hear from small businesses on the impact of proposed regulations.

The registry is accepting comments by mail and e-mail directed to the Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch of the Ontario government.

Click here to view the list of regulations proposed to accompany Bill 41. At the bottom of the page, the registry lists e-mail and mail addresses for sending comments. The street address for mailed comments is:

            Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch
            Third Floor, 301 St. Paul Street
            St. Catherines, Ontario
            Canada L2R 7R4

Be sure to reference “speed limiters” and the proposal number 08-MTO003.

Ontario Ministry of Transportation officials told Land Line earlier this month that the ministry intends to conduct “extensive stakeholder consultations” over the summer. A spokeswoman said ministry staff is working on implementing the law as early as the fall of this year. Implementation will begin with an educational period lasting six months to a year, she said.

The province of Quebec has a law on its books with a similar intent to Ontario’s Bill 41.

Quebec officials said in early 2008 that they would wait for the rest of Canada to be on board before they implemented their rule, but Ontario officials say the two provinces will implement the rules in a similar timeframe.

OOIDA officials continue to oppose government mandates for speed limiters. Association officials announced July 8 that they had retained legal counsel in Canada to pursue possible legal challenges to the mandate. The strategy includes the preparation of a formal “notice of intent” to file in court if the Ontario government moves ahead with implementation of the law.

OOIDA’s opposition includes questioning officials about enforcement.

Ontario Regulatory Registry officials wrote very little about enforcement in the proposed regulation but did say that “a truck charged with a speeding offense (for example 110 km/h in a posted 100 km/h zone) will be deemed not to have a functioning speed limiter,” according to the proposed regulation.

Meanwhile, Canada’s federal transportation department, Transport Canada, has released its long-awaited study on the effects of speed limiters on safety and the environment.

While the Transport Canada study promotes speed limiters as being beneficial, it also acknowledges problems a mandate could create including a widened speed differential between passenger vehicles and slower moving trucks.

– By David Tanner, staff writer