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Have You Noticed A Difference Since Speed Limiters Became Mandatory?

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - It's been more than three months since the much-debated Bill 41 - that requires heavy trucks to be governed at no more than 105 km/h - kicked off in Ontario and Quebec. But the que...


BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – It’s been more than three months since the much-debated Bill 41 – that requires heavy trucks to be governed at no more than 105 km/h – kicked off in Ontario and Quebec. But the question is: can anyone really tell a difference?

The government is allowing for a six-month grace period until July 1, so how many truckers are getting used to having their speed limited and how many are taking advantage of these last few weeks of enforcement-free driving? Truck West stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to see if drivers have noticed a slow-down on the highways since speed limiters became law.

Michael Jarrett, a driver with Horizon Transport in Indiana, says that when he comes up to Ontario, many truckers are driving faster than 105 km/h.

“Everyone is still passing me,” Jarrett says, adding “I think it’s wrong to try to limit every truck to just what this province wants. It should be up to the individual driver to control their own foot.”

Rob Whitmore, a driver with Mark Kennedy Trucking in Ilderton, Ont., says he’s seen a few truck drivers that seem to be slowing down to 105 km/h, but added that truckers usually work hard to ensure safe driving – with or without speed limiters.

“The public may not seem to think so, the government may not seem to think so, (but) most drivers out there are very conscious of safety,” he says. “Personally, I don’t agree with (105 km/h). It’s too slow. I’ve never really seen or had issues with the so-called ‘renegade truckers.’ The public sees one and they think everybody does it.”

Norman Laviolette, a driver with Will-Bill Express in Lac Brome, Que., says not much has changed since speed limiters became law and suspects most drivers are waiting until the last minute to change. If anything, Laviolette says the drivers that have decided to turn on their limiters are causing confusion on the roads.

“Sometimes it gets a little more confusing, if anything, because the cars are still going (faster),” he says. “Some trucks might be doing 104 km/h and you’re doing 105 km/h so…it takes longer to get by them and there’s a line-up of traffic. That’s just more cause for an accident. We need to go and get out of the way. Why didn’t they just enforce the law that they already had? I’m thinking you’re going to see a higher amount of accidents than anything.”

Tom Eldridge, also a driver with Will-Bill, agrees with Laviolette, saying that speed limiters seem to be causing more confusion among both car and truck drivers and are actually making things less safe.

“Everyone used to drive their own speed. I don’t believe it’s any safer,” he says. “We’re professionals. We’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’re doing most of the time. The speed limiters suck and in my 20 years’ experience I’ve never been in a locked truck until now. And it may be my last one.”

Donald Smith, a driver with TD Smith Transport in Mount Forest, Ont., fully admits to not having turned on his speed governor yet – but not because he likes to speed.

“I only run about 60-62 mph anyway, but you need the extra speed once in a while to get out of a situation,” says the 40-year veteran. “I run legal. I pay for my licence myself and that is supposed to allow me to run in every state in the US and every province in Canada at the speed limits these provinces and states have got. But Ontario thinks they’ve got the right to cut me back so I can’t do any of that in any of those states and I don’t think that’s right for Ontario to be doing that. They shouldn’t have that kind of power.”


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