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Eastern reaction:

MONTREAL, Que. - Like Quebec, which passed into law three months before expected a Bill that will cap commercial truck speeds at 105 km/h, Ontario has wasted no time adopting its own 105 Bill on March...

MONTREAL, Que. – Like Quebec, which passed into law three months before expected a Bill that will cap commercial truck speeds at 105 km/h, Ontario has wasted no time adopting its own 105 Bill on March 19.

One might think that Ontario’s Bill 41 should help Transports Quebec to firm up its own thoughts on just when to make 105 mandatory (the law is on the books, but the start date for it has not been set), but Transports Quebec spokesperson Nicole St. Marie says, “I don’t know whether the Ontario decision will have any impact on our decision here.”

She notes that Transports Quebec and other provinces’ administrators are still discussing 105; Quebec has been promoting the idea of a harmonious adoption of 105 laws across the continent.

“The discussions are supposed to end this spring and after, we will know whether the law can be applied at the end of this year or early next year,” St. Marie adds.

Despite what Quebec might wish, however, Ontario’s Bill is written to mandate 105 for all heavy trucks driving in the province, regardless of origin.

Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association president Peter Nelson speaks both to the idea of similar legislation east of Quebec, and how eastern carriers will cope with 105 in Ontario, should it be the first to demand compliance:

“Ontario’s initiative in regards to enacting speed limiter legislation was expected. It is not the issue here in Atlantic Canada that it is in Ontario and Quebec. Prince Edward Island’s highest posted speed limit is 90 km/h and Newfoundland is 100 km/h. More than 90% of roads in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would be posted at 100 km/h. The major carriers and the ‘work smarter’ owner/operators in Atlantic Canada have slowed down as diesel prices have gone up, and they have slowed down voluntarily.”

Of course, if truckers always respected the posted speed limit, most provinces would have no need for 105 laws, but point taken.

A 105 law in Ontario will pose no difficulties for New Brunswick’s Sunbury Transport, according to Paul Murphy, manager of business improvement.

“Our company fleet is already governed at 100 km/h, so compliance won’t be an issue.”

The maximum speed of the company’s trucks had been 97 km/h, but was raised to 100 km/h three years ago.

“From a safety point of view, we are self-insured. I don’t care what people say: the faster you go, the more risk there is of an accident.”

One Truck News reader commented a while ago that carriers were afraid to impose top speeds on their owner/operators, for fear of offending them and causing defections to other carriers, but Murphy notes, “We manage our owner/operators’ speed with Qualcomm’s SensorTRACS. We review that on a weekly basis. The target with them is 105 km/h. We give them the tools for things like safety and fuel usage, but ultimately they have to manage their own rigs. We are very active in green initiatives with the provincial and federal governments. Speed is something we are working on with our guys all the time.”

Paul Easson, general manager with Eassons Transport in Berwick, N. S., explains that the carrier has activated speed limiters on all its company tractors. Some are set at 105 km/h, others at 100 km/h, depending on driver preference.

In any case, the company drivers earn a bonus for having no more than 5% of their time over 100 as well as an idle time bonus for idle hours less than budgeted. As for its owner/operators, Easson says, “Owner/operator speed is not limited but it is monitored so we can deal with anyone who leads the group for speed.”

He adds, “My personal opinion on speed limiters: Reduced speed is safer, more economical and environmentally-friendly. It is simply good business. There are some valid arguments against speed regulation but I think the benefits win hands down.”

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