Ontario Legislature to consider truck speed limiter law

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The Ontario Legislature is considering a bill mandating the activation of speed limiters on heavy trucks that operate into, out of and within the province, at a maximum speed of no more than 105 km/hr.

The Ontario Trucking Association on Wednesday, March 19, praised Transportation Minister Jim Bradley for introducing the bill to the Ontario Legislature. OTA President David Bradley called the move “a significant step forward for highway safety and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” The law would apply to all trucks built after 1995, regardless of where they come from, and the government would allow a six-month introduction period before the limit goes into effect.

According to OTA, at least half of the trucks currently operating on Ontario’s highways have activated their speed limiters. Quebec passed similar legislation late last year and is expected to co-ordinate implementation with Ontario. “It just makes sense,” says OTA’s Bradley. “Not only is there a direct relationship between speed and the severity of crashes, but there is a direct payback in improved fuel efficiency from operating at lower speeds, and that, in turn, reduces costs and GHG emissions.”

Bradley says truck drivers are the least likely to be speeding excessively. “But there are some who need to slow it down, and this technology will allow us to do that without putting a further drain on police resources that would be better spent going after reckless motorists and criminals,” he says. “We acknowledge that there are some in the industry who oppose this measure, just like there were those who didn’t like being told they must use seatbelts or motorcycle helmets, despite the obvious advantages. However, in due course, we are confident that they, too, will see the benefit, especially to their bottom line.”

The bill is supported by a host of safety and environmental groups, as well as police services. Calling the bill’s introduction “a solid move,” Brian Patterson of the Ontario Safety League told the Toronto Star that commercial coaches also should be subject to the speed limiter requirement. “Those crashes are as horrific and as speed-related as anything, and they have exactly the same technology,” Patterson told the Star.

Bradley anticipates all-party support for the bill and “urges the Ontario Legislature to pass this legislation without delay.”