A recent letter from an owner/operator’s association criticizing our report on the Ontario Trucking Association’s poll showing most Ontarians support speed limiting for trucks has left me wondering why the speed limiter debate has turned so nasty of late.
The owner/operator’s association took a swipe at our editorial integrity and I would like to address that first before getting on to the larger issue of the speed limiter debate.
The poll, conducted by IntelliPulse, on behalf of the OTA, found that 71% of respondents were in favor of the speed limiting proposal and that 79% felt that highway safety would be improved if the policy to limit all trucks to 105 kmh were to become law.
The criticism was that our report on the poll, which appeared on trucknews.com, did not include comments from other parties. Of course, I agree that fair journalism requires comment from other parties, particularly on controversial issues. On the surface, if we look at this story in isolation, it would seem we were not doing our job. But that’s a picture way out of whack with reality.
The reality is that we have devoted tons of ink in previous months to ensuring that all sides in the speed limiter debate have been clearly heard. The Ontario Trucking Association has run columns in Truck News, obviously in favor of speed limiting. But so has the Private Motor Truck Council, a fleet organization, with its opposition to speed limiting. Our sister publication, Motortruck has spoken with truckers in Australia and Europe who have been using speed limiting for some time. We didn’t take the OTA’s word that speed limiting works in the countries that are using it; we made our own enquiries.
And we made sure owner/operator associations were given ample opportunity to share the reasons behind their opposition to the policy. OBAC, for example, has written several times about the issue in its monthly column in Truck News. The comments of OBAC and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers’ Association (OOIDA) have also been included in several news stories about speed limiting in recent months. Our February issue included not only a front-page story about the controversial policy, which included ample comments from OBAC and OOIDA, but also page after page of letters to the editor from drivers and owner/operators. Almost all of the letters were against the OTA’s position.
We have committed so much ink to this issue that I doubt anyone can point to a competing publication that has a done a better job of presenting all sides of this issue.
The “poll” story that we ran on trucknews.com simply advanced our coverage of the issue. If another organization was to come up with a credible poll that showed a different result, we would be happy to publish that as well. To insinuate we are purposely trying to suppress other points of view on this controversial subject is a great distortion of reality.
What it does leave me wondering is if certain industry stakeholders have become so wrapped up in their positions on this issue that they’ve lost their sense of perspective
With more than 25 years of experience reporting on transportation issues, Lou is one of the more recognizable personalities in the industry. An award-winning writer well known for his insightful writing and meticulous market analysis, he is a leading authority on industry trends and statistics. All posts by Lou Smyrlis