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Industry Issues: It’s your chance to comment on speed limiters

By now, you will have read or heard that the OTA board of directors has endorsed a policy directive to make it mandatory for speed limiters to be activated on all trucks. This would be part of a compr...


David Bradley

David Bradley


By now, you will have read or heard that the OTA board of directors has endorsed a policy directive to make it mandatory for speed limiters to be activated on all trucks. This would be part of a comprehensive policy on speed control and lane discipline that OTA is developing and which we hope one day would form the basis of a North American approach. While OTA feels that as a class truck drivers are the least likely to be excessively speeding on our major highways, it is still the right thing to do for a number of reasons.

It is felt that by creating a more uniform truck speed there are a number of potential benefits: further improvement to the industry’s already good safety record; better lane discipline; and more fuel efficiency. With fuel prices continuing to escalate, this is money in the pocket. Moreover, it would be a significant hedge against more draconian government measures to curb the industry’s GHG emissions as required under the Kyoto Accord. There is also a significant competitive aspect – all players in the industry should be competing, pricing their service, establishing schedules and meeting customer demands on a level playing field where everyone plays by the rules without pressure to operate beyond them.

The desire for improved truck speed control is not a new policy area for OTA. For many years, we have called for more enforcement of the speed limits for all vehicles – cars and trucks. (There is still an insufficient enforcement presence on the highways). We supported the introduction of photo radar and opposed its repeal. We have advocated awareness and training on the impacts of speeding on fuel efficiency. We have repeatedly called upon carriers to resist pressure from shippers to operate “outside the law” and for drivers to avoid carriers that put similar pressure on them. We want to reduce the stress on truck drivers and want them to tell us what a safe maximum speed should be.

The purpose of this latest initiative is not to single truck drivers out. As I stated at the outset – they are as a class the safest drivers on the road. So, we will have to consider how speed compliance and lane discipline by those we share the road with – the car driver – can be improved as well. We are aware that some truck drivers may have concerns over how speed limiting might impact their income. I believe they have nothing to fear – it is certainly not our intent to see drivers paid less. The truckers’ lot in life will never improve to the extent they’d like if there are those who get business by operating outside the law. The market will properly adjust only when there is a level playing field.

A blue ribbon panel of about 15 carrier CEOs has been struck to oversee the development of the details of the OTA policy. Contrary to what some of you may have heard, OTA has not decided what the maximum road speed for trucks should be set at. Moreover, because trucking is an industry that crosses borders, ideally we want a North America-wide approach. If that is not possible, an Ontario only approach would have to ensure that all trucks operating, into out of and within the province would have to meet precisely the same requirements as Ontario-based trucks.

As part of its analysis, OTA has been examining what is being done in other parts of the world to control truck speed and control lane discipline. There is a lot going on in Australia, in Europe and in the United States (take Ohio for example). But, we are also speaking to carriers, truck drivers, enforcement officials, the insurance industry, engine manufacturers and policy-makers to help us fill in the blanks. If you would like to have input, feel free to fill out the following very short survey and send it to us:

1. Has your company, or have you, activated the speed limiter on your truck?

a. Yes ?

b. No ?

2. If so, at what maximum road speed are your trucks limited to?

a. No more than 56 mp/h (or 90 km/h) ?

b. No more than 60 mp/h (or 98 km/h) ?

c. 62 mp/h (or 100 km/h) ?

d. 65 mp/h (or 105 km/h) ?

e. 68 mp/h (or 110 km/h) ?

f. Other ____ mp/h or km/h

3. If your company sets the maximum speed for its trucks, does the policy apply to:

a. Company trucks and owner/operator trucks?

b. Company trucks only?

4. What would you set as the maximum cruise and pedal speed for all trucks?

a. Maximum highway speed (cruise) _________ mp/h

b. Maximum highway speed (pedal) _________ mp/h

5. What should be done to reduce speeding by cars?

6. Any other comments? Please attach them and include in the fax.

7. You are a:

a. Carrier?

b. Company Driver ?

c.Owner/Operator ?

Please complete this questionnaire as soon as possible and return it to OTA, Attention: Speed Limitation Survey by fax: 1-866-713-4188).


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