Ontario may limit truck speeds

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Trucks on Ontario highways could be forced to drive slower as one way of helping to reduce greenhouse gases, the Windsor Star reported today, April 11. The Ontario Trucking Association has been pressing the government to require trucks to have computer chips to limit top speeds to 105 km/h (65 mph) — just enough above the limit to allow them to pass slower drivers.

“The (transportation) minister and the government, on an ongoing basis, are reviewing various ways that we might continue to improve safety on our roads,” Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday before a Liberal caucus meeting. “We’re always going to continue to look at various options that we might have when it comes to improving safety.”

Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield told the Star that she agrees with the trucking association that there are good safety, environmental and economic reasons for mandatory speed limiters on trucks, including huge fuel savings. “I’m very supportive of the potential of speed limits (on trucks),” Cansfield told the newspaper. “They obviously can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they save on fossil fuel and (improve) road safety.”

Reducing truck speeds would lower air pollution emitted, which McGuinty admitted would fit nicely with the green plan the government hopes to unveil later this spring. “It might be a natural fit there,” McGuinty said at the meeting.

The trucking association told the Star that drivers of big rigs can save a lot of money just by slowing down. “You burn up so much more fuel doing 115 or 120 (kilometres per hour) versus 105, that for an independent operator whatever profit he’s making is going up the smokestack,” spokesman Doug Switzer told the newspaper.

Opposition Leader John Tory told the Star that the government should do more than talk. “It’s something we should be taking a serious look at, both for safety and the environment,” Tory told the newspaper.