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No limit to speed limiter craziness!


Speed limiters is going to go down as the issue that just won’t go away, despite the fact it has been in the books in Ontario and Quebec for a few years now. The latest development is a series of court challenges, which range from the valid to the downright silly.
Under the “nice try” category, there is the case of owner-operator Lee Ingratta who argued in court that enforcement officials should have to sign a waiver accepting responsibility for any damage caused by the EZ-Tap reading device they plug into his vehicle’s ECM. The case got thrown out.
There is the bizarre case of Don’s Triple F Transport, where a company truck was found to be in violation of the speed limiter law, even though the speed limiter was activated but set at 121 km/h, well above the legal requirement of 105. However, the charge on the ticket read: “Permit operation of commercial motor vehicle not equipped with working speed limiting system.” The charge got dismissed because the truck did have a working speed limiter, even though it was set at an illegal limit. Saved by a technicality.
And there’s the case of one carrier who took six trucks to a mechanic and asked for the speed limiters to be properly set. But the mechanic set them at 107 kmh, instead of 105, resulting in a ticket. The carrier won that case, as he should have.
Of course, of all the cases, the Gene Michaud case is cited by opponents of the law as the most important. With financial backing from the US-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Michaud won a case before an Ontario Justice of the Peace, which found the law to be unconstitutional under Sec. 7 of the Charter of Rights. David Crocker, the lawyer who represented Michaud, argued that limiting truck speed to 105 km/h jeopardizes driver safety, rather than enhance it. It’s the same argument OOIDA and their Canadian counterpart, the Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada (OBAC) have been pressing since we first started talking about speed limiters back in 2005.
Justice of the Peace Brett Kelly bought into Crocker’s argument, stating that “inability to accelerate, or not accelerate fully places a driver in a less than safe situation because we have taken some of the tools required to drive properly away from the driver. Mr. Michaud needs to be able to take certain precautions in the execution of his job that will take him out of harm’s way and keep him and those around him safe.”
The decision is being appealed, and so far has not resulted (nor is it expected to) in any change to the law.
But let’s consider (yet again) the argument that limiting truck speeds is a safety risk. If it is the safety risk that OOIDA and OBAC claim it to be, after more than two years of having this law in place, we should be seeing a great increase in accidents, shouldn’t we? Yet, there is no proof in the accident numbers. In fact, during the first year the law went into effect, large truck fatalities in Ontario actually dropped by 24%.
Okay, maybe the province got lucky. Let’s take a longer term view. Australia has had speed limiter legislation since 1990. Its trucks are limited to 100 km/h. Surely they should be seeing the carnage on their highways we’ve been led to believe is sure to happen?
Here is what the Australian Transport Safety Board has to say: “There is no good evidence that a 10 kmh differential between light vehicle and truck speed creates a safety problem. If there is any such problem at all, it is small compared to the safety benefits of running trucks at 100 kmh.”
So let’s call a spade a spade. Safety is not an issue with speed limiters no matter how much OOIDA and OBAC want to pretend that it is.
All that the spate of recent legal challenges proves is this: A large majority of owner/operators and drivers remain vehemently opposed to the law; their associations are willing to continue fanning the flames of protest even though their concerns have not been borne out by the evidence; and there are plenty of lawyers willing to spend their money as they bring their fight to court.


Lou Smyrlis

Lou Smyrlis

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.
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17 Comments » for No limit to speed limiter craziness!
  1. Seth Allen says:

    with all these pro speed limiter articles I hust have one qusetion Lou, Since when did Truck News become the PR firm for Dave Bradley and his OTA minions, publications like yours should also represent the drivers in this industry, not shoving all this pie in the sky BS on how wonderful speed limiters are.

  2. Stephen Large says:

    Lou! Did you put a speed limiter in your car? If not, then zip your lips about it! If you don’t need or want one in your car, why would anyone else need or want one in their vehicle???? You guys keep yapping about ‘driver shortages’ and all the while, you keep pushing for one of the very things that is causing many, many good truck drivers to get out and stay out of the industry! There are far too many rules and regulations already! You want to see a driver shortage? Keep pushing all the unneccessary crap on us and you will amplify the so-called shortage! You will not find drivers who have driven millions of miles, safely, who want speed limiters!!!! Instead, they will be running a backhoe or a forklift somewhere, and, like I have said before, they will have to be replaced by someone with NO experience and NO knowledge of the trucking industry! These are the people that will be causing the accidents, not the guy who has driven for 20 or 30 years without a speed limiter in his truck!

  3. meslippery says:

    The law is not needed.
    How many drivers with lots of speeding tickets on there record
    can get or hold on to a driving job?
    How many accidents happen at speeds above 105 kph which is
    the only accidents speed limiters have any effect on?
    I dont remember before the limit law the OPP screaming we
    have truck speeding problem. In fact I dont believe there was
    a truck speeding problem.
    We all know it was the OTA pushing for this un needed law.
    Bad law needs to be over turned.

  4. meslippery says:

    Hey Stephen its not like they already dont have some drivers working for less than minimum wage, they dont care.
    Thats not cheap enough, we need to import people to do it cheaper.
    Safety has all ready been established.. Speed limiters and
    soon EOBRs.
    So f ing sad.

  5. jimh says:

    You are absolutely 100% correct Lou when you say ” Safety is not an issue with speed limiters no matter how much OOIDA and OBAC want to pretend that it is.”
    It is not and never was anything to do with safety. It was all about the OTA wanting to limit the competition. The safety angle was just used to sell it to the government.

  6. Paul Bauman says:

    Truck News has become nothing more than a propaganda rag for the OTA,CTA ,David Bradley and his minions.If any one of these clowns actually got behind the wheel of a speed-limited truck for more than just a test drive they might look at things with a different frame of mind….but I doubt it though!

  7. Murray Kennedy says:

    I think if you look at the accidents most are at intersections,cities and rural roads. I am surprized they don’t want the limiters set at 80 klm just in case you get off the 400 series highways.

  8. paul korn says:

    Paul Bauman and Stephen Large you two guys have both hit the nail on the head.
    Congrats to both of you.
    Popkorn

  9. LeeAnn McConnell says:

    Speed Limiters maybe we should look at wages, If all drivers are Professionals, and are paid like any other Profession, I am sure that this would not be an issue at all!

  10. Joy says:

    Gee, they raised speed limits in Texas. Do you think they’re trying to lower the population? Of course, no one from Ontario can take advantage of that because they’re stuck in the “nanny state” mentality of “The Government knows what’s best!”

  11. Mark says:

    Why is everyone so upset about speed limiters?
    If you do the posted speed limit you will be below the 105 kms/hr.
    If you speed you do not have the right to be on the road when I am there or my wife or my children or any of my friends!
    The only reason that the speed limiter law came into effect is because some people were getting tickets and then claiming discrimination, so the Government painted all truckers with the same brush and we were limited to 105kms. That is still faster than the posted limit. Get it through your head – POSTED LIMIT – not your speed.
    You do not have the right to speed.
    Read your Drivers Book – Driving is a privilege-not a right.
    If the OPP had the manpower to ticket everyone that speeds, then maybe the brainless few might get the idea to slow down.

  12. Vin Diseasel says:

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned obvious issue for those of us running U.S.. Ohio, Indiana as well as Michigan have all determined that split speed limits are unsafe and were responsible for many rear end collisions and have all but eliminated them. Physically limiting the speed on on trucks and still allowing cars and RVs and Pick-ups with and with out 10000lb trailers, all driven by totally unprofessional drivers scream past at 120+ while texting, makes me question just how much “safety” really plays in to it Lou. It would seem to me that taxpayer dollars could be spent more efficiently on enforcing the highway traffic act equilateraly since the majority of vehicles using our roads are not trucks. Last time I checked, driving any vehicle carelessly should in no way be inconsequential.

  13. Greg Decker says:

    Lou:
    I happen to agree with you that the constitutional case is bogus!! HOWEVER regulations that cost money with no net benefit to society, do nothing but support some addiction of “we have to justify our salary so lets do this”!!! And make no mistake about speed limiters did cost money and have done nothing to improve safety.
    According to the data I recieved from Transport Canada between 2005-2009 there was 1,160,997 vehicles involved in collisions in Canada. This total includes Fatal, Personal Injury and Property Damage accidents. Commercial Vehicles (Buses, Straight Trucks >4536 kgs and Tractor Trailers) were involved with 112,128(commercial vehicles 62,866 plus non-commercial vehicles 49,262) of those collisions. This data shows that all commercial vehicles were involved in 9.7% of the total vehicles involved. So explain to me WHY when we are involved in such a low percentage of the total vehicles involved (and likely less than 35% “at fault” of those claims) that we should continue to be villified by the general public and egged on the media, that can not be bothered to research the data BEFORE voicing opinions? I expect more from the media. Am I being naive to expect the truthful facts to be reported?
    I requested this data and while it took 3-4 weeks to get it, I did receive it and now I will be beginning to educate you and the general public of the safety record the drivers of our industry and achieved. I hope you are prepared for the statistical data that PROVES our drivers are safe and we are in greater danger of collisions by the general public’s disregard in improving their driving skills!!!
    PUSH
    Greg

  14. Rick Gregoire says:

    When the speed limiter law was enacted,the economic down turn was also enacted, so more trucks were sitting in Ritchie’s auction lot than driving up and down the road.The decrease in truck related fatalities might also be related to this fact also.I believe most drivers (particularly owner-operators)found that reducing average overall speed increases overall net income due to fuel savings.Using the safety angle to justify this legislation was political as it played on the public fear of big trucks.I have also noted that other forms of unlimited transportation have continued their carnage unencumbered by the political guidance deem so necessary to the trucking industry.

  15. Billy says:

    “Why is everyone so upset about speed limiters?
    If you do the posted speed limit you will be below the 105 kms/hr.
    If you speed you do not have the right to be on the road when I am there or my wife or my children or any of my friends!
    The only reason that the speed limiter law came into effect is because some people were getting tickets and then claiming discrimination, so the Government painted all truckers with the same brush and we were limited to 105kms. That is still faster than the posted limit. Get it through your head – POSTED LIMIT – not your speed.
    You do not have the right to speed.
    Read your Drivers Book – Driving is a privilege-not a right.
    If the OPP had the manpower to ticket everyone that speeds, then maybe the brainless few might get the idea to slow down.
    Posted by: Mark | October 9, 2012 06:16 PM”
    Congratulations Mark, you win the prize for the most rediculous and uninformed opinion on the topic.
    Lou you still don’t get it either. I paid for my equipment and I set the parameters where I want and I’ll drive it like I want. That by the way is to get decent fuel mileage and you’ll rarely see it going faster than 10 over the limit on a highway, in the city you’ll rarely see it doing anything but slightly below the posted limit. Bradley et al don’t have their arms up my rear end operating me.

  16. Stephen Large says:

    I agree with Billy! MARK WINS THE PRIZE FOR THE MOST RIDICULOUS AND UNINFORMED OPINION ON THE TOPIC! Mark, has it not occured to you that some trucks venture outside of the Province of Ontario? Wyoming has a 75 mph speed limit, as do several other states and in Utah, there are higher limits than that! Obviously, trucks don’t need to go 75+ mph, but why should the Province of Ontario be forcing trucks that travel elsewhere to be speed limited? For many years, all interstate freeways in the U.S. had a 55 mph speed limit, now, they are ALL higher! There are several reasons for the States to all raise the speed limit. Apparently, Ontario “didn’t get the memo”!

  17. DANNY SHATFORD says:

    EVERY TRUCK I HAD THE SPEED LIMITER SET AT 105 EITHER HAS THE ECM GO TO PIECES [2]AFTER BEING CHECKED AT THE SCALE HOUSE ,OR I HAD PASSMART INSTALLED TO HAVE THE TRUCK GO FASTER THAN 105, AND BOTH BLEW UP. [2] TRUCKS ALSO.
    THIS PROBLEM IS SIMPLE. STAY AT THE POSTED LIMIT, OR 105 OR GO WITH THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC, NO MATTER THE SPEED.
    IT IS OFFICERS DISCRETION TO ISSUE TICKETS. DO GOUVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.

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