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Seen any speeding LCVs ?


As Ontario’s pilot LCV program is getting ready to wrap up for the winter, I’ve noticed something strange going on. They’re getting faster. Some of the long trains are pushing the 90kph limit, and I don’t just mean downhill.
The Ontario/Quebec reg’s are pretty clear: Thou shalt not exceed 90 kph, and most of the big boys seem to be keeping it there. But the tractors are governed for 105 and when the law’s not looking some of the trainmen are dropping the hammer part ways. Usually at night, and I suspect they’re trying to do Montreal-Toronto round trips and trying to keep within HOS. When the highway gets closed they also get all messed up because they can’t take detours, and don’t forget they’re not allowed in the Big Smoke during rush hour.
So if you’re trying to run say, Mississauga Road to the Montreal suburb of Anjou, you’d be pretty hard pressed to do it in 6.5 hours steady driving at 90kms without a break. Even if the trains hooked up when you get there, pulling a round trip in 14hours, without exceeding 12 hours driving time is nigh impossible.
Quickening road trains are a new issue. Maybe it’s not a big deal, and I’m sure they can do 100 yards safely, no problemo, like they do out West. But this is while the pilot project is still in effect. Why jeopardize the trial, when most companies only have one or two permits?
And remember, these are supposed to be the best, most qualified, conscientious drivers, the cream of the creme brule, exemplary knights of the blacktop. But unless you’ve got the cruise control set at nine-zero, a driver could be excused for letting it go a little bit down the gentle rolling hills of Northumberland County. But that’s not what I’m talking about. These daredevils are up to 95 and maybe more when no one’s looking. Yikes, I say.
So what’s the big deal? Truly, I only noticed because I used to whip by these guys doing my 99 kph, and lately it seemed to be taking longer to pass them. Speed limiters setting the max at 105, and the 90kph LCVs, have changed the dynamics out there.
As my colleague Bob Sherwood explains: “One night they closed the 401 for 15 or 20 minutes at the 613 in Kingston. I noticed it took almost one hundred kilometres before traffic worked its way out, to about the 710 marker. That’s with four-wheelers going crazy and trucks running side by side for a long ways.
“LCVs, if they’re working right and running 90, straighten the traffic out. People have to pull into the left lane to pass and the traffic gets spaced out quickly. But if I come across an LCV doing 97, I can’t get around him.”
This really is happening, but I’m not going to name names I’ve asked around and other drivers have noted this trend as well. Like I said, most of them are playing fair. Two I came across last night were doing 90 right on the button.


Harry Rudolfs

Harry Rudolfs

Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio. With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude.
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19 Comments » for Seen any speeding LCVs ?
  1. J.J. says:

    Here in Alberta , it has been my experience to see them traveling @ a buck ten or better !!!!!!
    Few (if any) travel @ 9o kmh !

  2. Kevin Brulotte says:

    Although the speed limit in Alberta for L.C.V.’s is 100 km/h as J.J. pointed out many drive at 110 km/h. I am not defending those drivers for speeding but it is better than the days when some of the drivers at Rosenau Transport and other companys used to drive L.C.V’s at 130 km/h regardless of the weather… that was just insane!

  3. Adam says:

    What if a speeding LCV was involved in an accident where there were fatalities? I can only imagine the outrage from the public. The backlash could not only lead to the cancellation of LCV’s, but we could see the speed limiter setting being reduced to 100 km/h.

  4. Harry Rudolfs says:

    I heard there were a couple of minor incidents with LCVs during this Ontario trial period. No injuries as far as I know. I’d like to find out the stats. Maybe the OTA or its affiliate, the ministry of transport, will enlighten us. But realistically speaking: this is the future of the 401 corridor…one driver, two trailers. You’re going to see a lot more permits and double 53s in the next while.
    I haven’t noticed any LCV speeding the last few nights. But I did see one guy reading a book! Has anyone noticed the overall speed of 18 wheelers is also creeping up? Maybe they’ve been turned up, or were never turned down. I’m sure there are drivers out there doing 110-115, and this is not just Americans without speed limiters. And is the MTO or OPP checking to see if the electronics are set for 105kph at the scales? I kinda think not

  5. Funny you should ask, Harry. I requested the most recent stats from MTO just the other day:
    “To date there have been 78 permits issued to 39 carriers. LCVs are operating in the Windsor-GTA-Quebec border corridor with more than 60 LCV trips daily. To date there have been more than 16,800 trips totaling over 5.3 million kilometres of travel.”
    When I asked if there have been any accidents/violations, I was told the only violations have been relatively minor Ie. travelling through the GTA during rush hour.
    Thanks for posting your observations from out on the road. The province still seems non-committal about extending this project after the winter hiatus begins Dec. 1.
    James

  6. Harry Rudolfs says:

    Well I heard of two incidents through the grapevine: one where the rear trailer slipped partway off the shoulder when the driver pulled over for a break, and a small crash in Mississauga involving the rear unit coming off a ramp. Maybe they weren’t reported as violations or maybe it was just talk. Also in order for these trains to speed they would have to be hooked to a regular highway tractor governed at 105 kph, as the doubles are supposed to be mated with a specially spec’d power units (bigger compressor, 500 hp motor, 90kph speed-limited), and I suspect that is what is happening.

  7. ralph the trucker says:

    Harry, are the drivers working for such a cheap rate that they have to perform the complete turn in order to earn an adequate income? Just because they are the cream of the crop doesn’t necessarily make them the smartest.

  8. jimh says:

    Quote from Harry Rudolfs:
    “OTA or its affiliate, the ministry of transport,”
    Sad Harry, but so true.

  9. Mike Kroestch says:

    I have yet to see any speeding LCV out there. The only LCV that I seen at night were going the opposite direction so it is impossible to know if they were speeding. Any that I have travelled with on the east side of GTA have been in daylight hours and have been running the speed limit.
    Mike Kroetsch

  10. CHRIS says:

    Even non LCV’s are supposed to be governed at 65 km/h, yet I continue to drive by trucks that are wide open, a law is only effective if it is enforced… and talk to any cops you know, even if they know about the law (which I have found most dont), they rarly will stop them… Keep on truckin!

  11. Mike Kroestch says:

    Chris is right but it is not just the trucks everyone is speeding. Like anything else the view is it is only against the law if you get caught. Increasing the fines will help somewhat but again there still needs to be enforcement.
    I wish I knew the solution?
    Back to the LCV I hope that it is going to be the way of the future, Keep the enforcement on LCV strict and the carriers will still see benifits. If a driver is caught breaking the law in an LCV make them pay with the fine and temporarily susspending the endorsement. This opens the door for new conversation and that is the pay rate to the drivers who operate this equipment.

  12. Dave R says:

    LCV requirements are pretty clear and I believe they are taken very seriously. Any motorist, commercial or private witnessing a speeding LCV should call the company or the OTA and relate the matter to them. No individual, company or organization involved in this project is looking for negative press or ultimate failure. Guaranteed; the matter would be addressed immediately.
    The OTA is the voice of the Ontario trucking membership lobbying on behalf of our industry. Their sarcastically referred “affiliate” (the MTO) would struggle along on their own with many policy making and commercial traffic matters if it weren’t for the diligence of their personnel and the committment of the OTA. Whether you are an industry member or the general motoring public, you can thank the OTA for working with the MTO in the interest of fair play and public safety. Without them, there would be rules and policies by which this industry would have a much more difficult time in their pursuit of commerce. And if that were the case, the best interest of public safety would not be properly served!

  13. Harry Rudolfs says:

    Some good points Dave R. Someday, someone’s going to write a book called “the Bradley Years” and document some of the victories this man has chocked up at the helm of the OTA and CTA. The OTA is a well-oiled machine and D.B. operates with remarkable astuteness and finesse. The only set back I can think off is the new bridge at Detroit-Windsor..no matter how OTA wants to spin it DRIC is dead in the water right now. This round goes to Mattie Maroon.
    I only take issue with Dave R’s suggestion to call the OTA if you notice a speeding LCV in Ontario. What are they gonna do, make some phone calls to safety managers? I see lots of bad commercial driving out there and the OTA would be the last place I’d complain. But no one should doubt the influence that the industry association can bring to bear on gov’t policy; some resentment might be due to the perception that the relationship is a little too kushy. After all it, it is a mouthpiece for the transport company owners, and doesn’t speak to or for the men and women driving those rigs, except when it comes to helping regulate what those men and women do.
    Notice I’m venting my spleen on the eve of the OTA convention and I hope I can still get in. This year they’re having money-guru Kevin O’Leary deliver a seminar, and Lighthouse (the band played at my high school 40 years ago!) is supplying the tunes at the gala. What was it Trotsky said, “You don’t have to believe in the trolley company to let it take you wherever you want to go.”

  14. Regis Delannoy says:

    I have not seen many LCVs speeding on the 401, I travel on it regularly, but I have noticed an increase in speed of other class 8 vehicles, 115kph is not unusual.

  15. AH says:

    I have read through all of the posts and until now thought this too will pass like all bad food eventually does. It however seems that this started at the wrong end, so to speak. There is an obvious bone of contention between some writers and the OTA. Is it suggested that the businesses that employ the drivers not have a say is what is going on? I am not sure who everyone works for however MANY reputable companies discuss, poll or otherwise bring the drivers into the conversation. Many issues addressed by the OTA are a direct result in what is seen roadside (if not brought up by the drivers is seen in trending). Once on roadside it has already made it’s way through regulation or poor interpretation thereof. Although my highschool reunion is only 20 years gone by I will make a stretch to say that even at my level of experience in the industry this type of involvement is welcome.
    As for LCV’s, which seems to be the original topic once you make your way through the waste there is such stringent rules and monitoring that the first place I would go is to the OTA. If you go straight to the company it may not go any further than the safety representative. At least the OTA by virtue of it’s “kooshy” position, as put, is held to a higher standard and has to address the situation. I personally would rather have record of addressing it to the association held responsible for selection, approval and licencing.
    It seems that any Jim, Harry or Ralph can be a Joe trucker (obviously not LCV approved) and knowing what the CTA and the OTA has done for the industry like or dislike every decision I would much rather have a mouthpiece for the industry than simply be one.

  16. Harry Rudolfs says:

    Well AH, you know truck drivers like to bitch, and I count myself in that number. First off, speeding LCVs: I haven’t been on the big road at night the last couple of weeks, but noticed three companies whose drivers were pushing it at times, and this surprised me because no LCV was doing this earlier in the year. I talked to a couple of other drivers and they had seen it too. Never called the OTA or anybody, but I don’t think these guys were pouring on the coal constantly, just when there was a straight section and no one around. Really, I don’t think this compromises safety, they can safely operate at 100 as far as I’m concerned. Just thought I’d point it out. As far as speed limiters go, it’s clearly not enforced so crank ’em up. “Wide open!” as that idiot used to intone in Toronto every morning on the CB.
    Sorry if this is giving you indigestion, AH. Maybe you should stop going to this “Taco Hell” of blogs and try another one. What would you rather have, a truck driver who knows a little bit about journalism and the industry, or a journalist who doesn’t know much about trucking? To be clear I’m not a spokesperson for anything and have declared my bias several times. Company driver for Purolator, but it’s just a job and I ain’t pushing their agenda whatever it is. Looks like the new CEO attended a hockey game in Ottawa with minister John Baird. Fly Emerites I say. And I pay a whole bunch of money to Teamsters so I can work there, and that organization does as much for me as John Baird does. The last communication I got from the local was an election ad for Jimmy Hoffa JR. and his slate, including their coterie of Canadian sycophants who are entrenched better than, metaphor escapes me now, pornography on the internet?
    Most assuredly, OTA is a great organization and a template for other industry associations. They seem to do everything right and the seminars I attend tomorrow at the convention will be edifying to say the least. I can still bitch about it, though.

  17. Andy says:

    Well, seems like as good a time to drop in my two cents worth as any. For as much as I read Truck News anymore, I enjoy your contributions Harry. As for the magazine or should I say, some of the all knowing, all seeing other personel, not so much. ‘Nuf said. The speeding LCV thing is a puzzler, if indeed it is a chronic issue. I can certainly see the odd driver letting his iron roll away on a downhill, but why would companies allow the improper or un-governed trucks even be hooked to an LCV, if that is indeed the case. Aren’t these companies the ones who so desperately wanted this program? Why would they jeopardize the program? As well, why would a driver HAVE to speed to make the trip? Sounds to me like, once again it just might be poor planning by the company, left to the driver to resolve. Or is it a case of just not being able to REALLY hire a true professional driver? Those are getting next to impossible to find. If, as a 30 year veteran, I sound a little jaded, I speak from the afore-mentioned 30 years experience. I spent enough time working at the big white fleet out of Cambridge to realize when it comes right down to it, “Go get it done and we don’t want to hear about it” mentality exists as long as it works for the company. The O.T.A certainly seems to all about themselves, although Im sure they would like people to believe otherwise. It is all about public relations and the need to be seen doing something positive, isn’t it? I would offer as proof the debacle that is the “105” law. In all my years of driving I have never hated driving as much as I do now, in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ontario. Every idiot truck driver out there now seems incapable of wrapping their brain around this concept, so they drive down the middle lane for miles on end, all locked at one speed and tailgating to be sure no-one can change lanes safely, consequences be damned! And of course, the proverbial “Rip it back over 5 feet in front of the guy you just passed” to go from the middle lane to the right lane and don’t turn the signal off ’cause you’re getting off now anyway! Yep, that law is a real doozy! Certainly made our roads safer. Perhaps Bradley and his circle of idiots should spend some time DRIVING a truck, not just talking about them. I’m certain there would be some re-consideration if it was them that had to deal first hand with the stupidity they have wrought. Sad really, what this industry has become. It doesn’t take much to drive properly, but no-one seems to give a rats ass about anyone anymore, let alone their fellow truck driver. If I can say one thing positive it would be at least the LCV drivers don’t seem to engage in jerking other drivers around, a sport that seems to have become all too popular. My personal experiences with them have been good. In closing,I’m happy to say that I will be getting back in my own truck in another couple of weeks, after taking the summer off to drive a friends gravel truck. Why so happy? It’s still set at 75 on cruise and 80 on the floor, and it’s an 01. And I regularly (oh horrors!) pull trains up and down the 401 to Michigan at 70 ton. And there-in lies the joy of being able to get out and around the idiot who you just moved over for at the service plaza so he could get on, and now has his right foot THROUGH the floor to be sure you won’t impede his travels. A light application of fuel to deal with said moron and back over to the right lane. So apparently you DO need a truck capable of breaking the law to drive safely. Just like Transport Canada said in their study. The one McGuinty and the OTA ignored.

  18. Rick BLATTER says:

    LCVs: consider that in Sweden Road Trains can pull 6 trailers, whereas in Australia (in the Outback) they have 8 trailer Road Trains.

    One of my long term objectives is to prove the SAFETY & EFFICIENCY of LCV3s and LCV4s between major cities and terminals… and help make them legal in Canada. Sweden has 6 Trailer Road Trains, and Australia has 8 Trailer Road Trains. So one day 3 & 4 Trailer LCVs will be used here, (I hope).

    • Harry Rudolfs says:

      on a separate highway I hope. triples are radical on this continent
      but back to the original point, there are LCVs regularly speeding on the 401 better than 95 I’ll bet.. one or two companies only, others let it go down some hills in Northumberland County, but you’r allowed that right, in Ontario?

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