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Ontairo court hears speed-limiter appeal from Michaud team

By David Tanner, senior editor

The highest court in Ontario, Canada, has heard the appeal from a trucker’s attorney challenging the provincial law that requires trucks to have speed limiters set at or below 65 mph.

The appeal was argued March 10 in the Ontario Court of Appeals by attorney David Crocker on behalf of the late Gene Michaud, an OOIDA member from St. Catharines, Ontario. The decision now resides with a panel of judges who will take approximately six weeks to issue a written ruling.

Michaud received a citation from an Ontario truck inspector in 2009 for not having his speed limiter set at or below 105 kilometers per hour, or 65 mph. Michaud had his set at 68 mph, claiming that the slower setting created situations on the highways that harmed his security of person under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Having the speed limiter set in Ontario as required by a 2008 provincial law also hindered his ability to do business in other provinces and in U.S. states with higher posted speed limits.

OOIDA opposes government-mandated speed limiters and has backed Michaud’s case.

In 2012, an Ontario traffic court judge tossed out Michaud’s citation and declared the provincial law unconstitutional.

The province appealed, but Michaud, who had been battling cancer, died before that appeal went to court. His wife, Barbara, and their attorney continue to fight on Gene’s behalf.

The Ontario Court of Justice then ruled to overturn the lower court’s decision, but Michaud’s team successfully petitioned the Ontario Court of Appeals to hear more about the trucker’s right to personal safety.

Following oral arguments in March, Crocker reported that the judges’ panel asked pointed questions concerning speed differentials and why truckers would be against having speed limiters.

The panel could rule to strike down the provincial law, keep the law intact, alter the law, or remand the case to a lower court for a new trial. LL