Appeal will proceed in OOIDA member's challenge of Ontario speed limiters

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 8/20/2014

The highest court in Ontario, Canada, has agreed to hear an OOIDA member’s constitutional challenge of the law that requires trucks to have speed limiters. The Court of Appeal for Ontario granted the appeal on Tuesday, Aug. 19, agreeing to hear a claim initially brought by OOIDA Member Gene Michaud that speed limiters created a situation on the highways that harmed his security of person under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Gene Michaud, with backing from OOIDA, initiated the constitutional challenge of the Ontario speed-limiter law after receiving a citation from a truck inspector in 2009. He passed away in 2013 after a lengthy battle with cancer, but not before making his mark. Gene’s wife, Barbara, and his attorney, David Crocker, have carried on the case on his behalf and it is now in the hands of Ontario’s high court.

Michaud claimed the forced speed differential on the highways violated his right to personal safety under the Charter. He also said the speed limiter harmed his ability to compete with U.S. trucks and trucks from other provinces.

In 2012, an Ontario traffic court judge tossed out Michaud’s citation and declared that the provincial law harmed his ability to operate safely.

The province appealed, but Michaud died before the appeal went to court. About a year after his death, the Ontario Court of Justice ruled to overturn the traffic court decision.

In their ruling, the Ontario Court of Justice did not buy Michaud’s claim about speed differentials or their potential harm to a trucker’s safety.

In June of this year, Crocker asked the Court of Appeal to make the final determination about the constitutionality of the speed-limiter law, which requires all Ontario-bound and Ontario-domiciled trucks 1995 and newer to have a working speed limiter set no higher than 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph.

Attorneys for the province of Ontario did not file any motions to oppose Crocker’s motion to appeal.

The Court of Appeal will likely schedule oral arguments within a few months according to Crocker. The parties will present their arguments to a three-judge panel.

The Ontario case is important, OOIDA says, because other policymakers including U.S. regulators have their eyes on mandating speed limiters.

Copyright © OOIDA