Legislation would require speed limiters on Ontario trucks

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Ontario Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield announced Tuesday, July 3, that the Government of Ontario will introduce legislation after this fall’s provincial election to adopt a proposal to make it a mandatory requirement for virtually all tractor-trailer units that operate into, out of and within Ontario to activate their speed limiters so that a truck will not be able to exceed 105 km per hour (65 mph), according to the Ontario Trucking Association. In so doing, Ontario would be the first jurisdiction in North America to formally announce its commitment to legislate such a requirement, OTA says.

Quebec has proposed the measure as part of its climate change plan, and other trucking associations throughout North America are endorsing speed-limiter proposals consistent with OTA’s and now the Ontario government’s policy. A number of jurisdictions, including the U.S. Department of Transport and Transport Canada, are studying the issue, and groups like OTA are hopeful that now that Ontario is officially on board, others will follow, and eventually a North American standard can be achieved.

“This is a great step forward for highway safety and for the environment,” says David Bradley, OTA president. The proposal was put forward by OTA almost two years ago, Bradley says. “Even though truck drivers are on the whole the least likely to be excessively speeding, the means exist through activation of speed limiters to virtually eliminate it and to improve lane discipline at the same time,” he says. “The trucking industry is showing real leadership in supporting strong measures to eradicate speeding. Our drivers are professionals, and we don’t feel we need to use up scarce police resources catching speeding trucks when most trucks already come equipped with the technology to control speed.”

Bradley admitted that the OTA proposal has at times been a controversial one within the industry, with some truck drivers and companies being opposed. “The fact is more than half the trucks on the road are already governed because it makes such good sense,” Bradley says. “I have been struck by the level of support for this measure from within the industry, from drivers and from fleets of all sizes, both from Ontario and those based elsewhere. I am confident that in time, most of those who are opposed will see the merit, just as happened after seat belts were made mandatory.”

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The minister has said that she will take the summer to work with stakeholders to prepare the legislation and iron out details of how the mandate will be applied. “Minister Cansfield deserves a lot of credit,” Bradley says. “She has been supportive of our plan all along and has worked hard to hear everyone’s point of view, including the police and even the few groups who indicated they had concerns with or were opposed to what we were trying to accomplish. She always told us to keep the faith.”