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Reaching my limit with the speed limiter debate

Oh, look what’s back in the news. It’s everyone’s favourite debate topic: speed limiters. I visibly cringed when I first heard about a ruling by an Ontario court in which the Justice of the Peace found the controversial...


Oh, look what’s back in the news. It’s everyone’s favourite debate topic: speed limiters. I visibly cringed when I first heard about a ruling by an Ontario court in which the Justice of the Peace found the controversial ‘105 Law’ to be unconstitutional.

I’m neither for, nor against the law. My feelings haven’t changed. I think it was an unnecessary law and that the arguments both for and against the legislation are grossly exaggerated and lack substance.

What I do know is in the three years since the law was first put on the books, the sky hasn’t fallen. Road safety doesn’t appear to have been compromised, though manners may have suffered as drivers now spend several kilometres at a time trying to complete a pass. For the most part I think four-wheelers understand the limitations of these trucks and have adapted their own driving to accommodate speed-limited truck traffic.

Frankly, I don’t care if the law stays or if it goes. What induced my cringe was the thought of spending months on end debating the merits of the law and rehashing every tired argument both for and against.

As an editor covering the Canadian trucking industry, there is no shortage of compelling stories for me to write about. I don’t want it to be all about the speed limiters. Been there, done that. I’m not getting into it anymore.

Of course as your dutiful editor, I’ll continue covering the court cases and will report on the implications as necessary. But that’s it. I’m not getting emotionally invested in the matter this time. Nope, no way.

I’m pulling a Switzerland and staying neutral. Just try me. Not even Lou can goad me into a debate on this subject despite his thinly veiled attempt below. You want to talk speed limiters? Give Lou a call. And do it quick, before he changes his phone number.

In all seriousness, not much has changed since this issue was debated ad nauseum from late 2005 when OTA first floated the idea to 2009, when the maligned law finally went into effect. I still feel the law was unnecessary and that speeding trucks weren’t a huge issue; soaring diesel prices saw to that.

I think the claim that the speed limiter law resulted in an immediate 24% reduction in truck-related fatalities in 2009, as the Ministry of Transport has stated, is highly debatable. I think the arguments that road safety has been somehow compromised by the speed limiter requirement is equally disingenuous – maybe even more so.

Those who hate the speed limiter requirement are buoyed by the judgment and who can blame them? My personal feeling is that the judgment doesn’t spell the end of the law; it just assures a longer, costlier legal battle.

In one corner you have OOIDA with its deep pockets, bankrolling the case against speed limiters. In the other you have the province of Ontario, flat broke, but governed by hardheaded Liberals who’ll defend this thing to the end. It may sound like a compelling battle, but to me it’s just two shot fighters, well past their prime, who don’t know when to hang’em up. Whichever side wins, may the decision come quickly.


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