Questions remain about speed limiter enforcement tactics
July 7, 2009
July 7, 2009
Enforcement of Ontario and Quebec’s speed limiter laws took full effect July 1 and enforcement officers in Ontario didn’t hesitate to fine drivers who didn’t have their engines locked in at 105 km/h or less.
However, the tool the MTO is using to detect whether or not a vehicle complies with the law has raised some questions. As pictured on the cover of the July issue of Truck News, the MTO is using an Ez-Tap, read-only device to plug into the engine’s ECM and determine whether or not the speed limiter is set at 105 or less.
The device, however, does not display other parameters such as tire size and gear ratios, which engine manufacturers admit can influence actual on-road speed. Naturally, this has not been lost on speed limiter opponents – most notably OBAC – who are questioning the validity of these enforcement tactics.
The MTO would likely require costly OEM software to read all the parameters that influence road speed. Not only is it costly, but it varies from engine manufacturer to engine manufacturer. To equip all scales or enforcement branches with every required version of OEM software would incur a considerable expense. Using the OEM software rather than a simple read-only device also opens the whole can of worms regarding the ability to change or corrupt ECM parameters and accessing additional information, raising questions of privacy rights.
It’s not clear where the MTO will go from here, whether they’ll acquire a more effective enforcement tool, invest in the OEM software or stick with the Ez-Tap device. However, owner/operators who are bent on fighting charges under Bill 41 may have a compelling case. Of course, it may be less time-consuming and costly to just get on with it and comply with the law.
As a side note, Quebec enforcement officers are apparently showing some more flexibility when it comes to enforcing that province’s version of the new law. Until July 31, they’ll offer drivers or owners of non-compliant trucks a seven day grace period to have their speed limiters locked in at 105.
– Enforcement officer Travis McMunn shows the Ez-Tap tool the MTO is using to measure compliance with Ontario’s speed limiter law.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies