Mudslinging over speed-limiter debate has gone too far
May 11, 2008
May 11, 2008
What has been most disappointing during the past couple of years is seeing the discussion about speed limiters become polarized and degenerate to mudslinging.
How else can I categorize last month’s remarks from Joanne Ritchie, head of the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada (OBAC), that in considering speed limiter legislation the Ontario Ministry of Transport was “pandering to a handful of carriers who are either too cheap, too lazy or too greedy to compete fairly” and that “rather than pay their drivers a decent rate, invest in training and anti-idle technology, and implement internal safety and compliance regimes, those carriers have bamboozled government into taking these responsibilities off their shoulders.”
Come on Joanne. Aren’t you going overboard with those comments?
We both know which carriers are pushing for this legislation. They include some of the safest operations in the country. In fact one of the most vocal proponents of the legislation was recently voted the safest carrier in North America. Not only have these carriers invested in anti-idling technology, often before it was in vogue to do so, they’ve also spent millions implementing the latest training technologies. How much more do they need to invest, how many more safety awards do they need to win, to convince you that they care about safety, the environment and their drivers?
They’re so lazy they need the government to do their work for them? In many instances these are the same carriers that keep getting named to the list of the 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada year after year. It would seem they’ve figured out how to compete pretty well.
And from the carriers I know, most seem to have figured out how to compete successfully without breaking the rules on speeding or otherwise. They’re most often the ones that demand their drivers adhere to the rules, including hours of service, rather than expecting their drivers to speed and lie in their logbooks to deliver a shipment. Seems to me these are exactly the kind of carriers that if I was a driver or owner/operator that I would want to work for.
It also seems to me that while the issue has become politicized and polarized, these carriers are the only ones that have not lost sight of what’s most important: the reality that trucking is one industry of many competing for image, funding, and favorable legislation. Its perception among government and the public as a good corporate citizen willing to take the lead on issues such as safety and the environment will determine how the industry is treated in the future.
Joanne your intelligence and hard work have been a credit to both OBAC and our publication (your award-winning owner/operator column in Truck News is testament to that) but I think on this occasion you have let emotion run ahead of reason. For the sake of an intelligent debate on the speed-limiter issue and continued productive and respectful relations between owner/operators and carriers I hope you would consider retracting your remarks.
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