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Setting the stage

MONTREAL, Que. - For those trying to keep track of the twists and turns in the road leading to speed limiter laws in Quebec and Ontario, here is the latest: Quebec now has a speed limiter law, but has...


COMING SOON?: Trucks from all parts of North America will be expected to comply with Ontario's speed limiter rules, when enacted.
COMING SOON?: Trucks from all parts of North America will be expected to comply with Ontario's speed limiter rules, when enacted.

MONTREAL, Que. –For those trying to keep track of the twists and turns in the road leading to speed limiter laws in Quebec and Ontario, here is the latest: Quebec now has a speed limiter law, but has not yet implemented it and professes not to know when it will. Ontario is busy drafting its own law, it may have it ready to adopt by spring and it wants to implement it by this fall or sooner.

To recap the story, last November Quebec became the first province to introduce speed limiter legislation, in Bill 42. On Dec. 19 the National Assembly voted B-42 into law. However, the law set no implementation date for section 66, which mandates activating speed limiters at 105 km/h; i. e., Quebec has a law but has not yet turned it on.

The word from Transports Quebec, as of Feb. 29, is that it is conducting studies of “105” -the hip new shorthand for this issue.

It desires and is discussing harmonizing the implementation of 105 with the rest of Canada and even North America.

When 105 will be implemented, and how it will be enforced are, at least for public ears, unknown.

Harmonization talks between Ontario and Quebec are taking place at the “staff level,” according to Chris Brant, manager of the carrier safety policy office, with the Ontario Ministry of Transport.

“We are working with Quebec and Transport Canada as well, should any other jurisdiction be interested. We want our legislation to dovetail across the Ontario-Quebec border,” he says. However, he adds, “We are not going to wait forever.”

According to Brant, Ontario’s MTO is satisfied that the 105 concept is safe and sound enough to impose on trucks and that its strategies for implementation, education and enforcement are already partially fleshed out.

First, with or without harmonization with other provinces or states, once Ontario implements its own 105 law, every truck built in 1995 or later and with a gross vehicle weight of 11,793.4 kilograms (26,000 lbs) or more that operates in or through the province will have to have its speed limiter set to 105 km/h.

No matter where a truck comes from, says Brant, “They need to be ready to comply.”

That said, the law will not require trucks without speed limiters to be retrofitted with them. But Brant also notes, “You can’t hide, modify, defeat or deactivate (your truck’s speed limiter). That would be considered an offence.”

There will be an education period of six to 12 months after 105 is implemented, during which truck owners who have not set their speed limiters will not be prosecuted, at least the first time they are stopped.

The strategy to spread the word about 105 will be broad and could include roadside inspections, pre-announced blitzes, inspections at weigh stations, information booths at trade shows/conferences and sign campaigns.

What carriers should not count on are letters in their mailboxes alerting them to the new law.

“We will ask officers (around the province) to put together speed limiter plans with the resources each (area) has available,” says Brant.

“We’ll see how the level of ignorance is in the first three to six months. The education period is just that. We would be lawfully allowed to (ticket) but we don’t plan to initiate prosecution for non-compliance. The intention is to reach drivers and let them know that there is a new law on, and you have X time to become compliant.”

Ontario is also well along in testing the equipment its enforcement officers will need to test trucks for compliance. The idea is to jack into a truck’s Electronic Control Module (ECM), download speed limiter data in a readonly format and determine whether the speed limit has been set to 105.

The MTO has already purchased and beta-tested some offthe-shelf technology for interrogating ECMs, and is looking at other equipment that might be suitable for purchase and possible modification to meet its needs.

The gear needs to be ruggedized, portable, have readouts that are visible at night, and be capable of printing out data for enforcement purposes.

As well, says Brant, “There is a lot of data we don’t want to see. We are only interested in the speed-related settings. We are looking at how to give our officers the way to see the speed limiter information without inconveniencing drivers.”

It is difficult to imagine that Transports Quebec, its latest claims notwithstanding, does not already have some well thought out implementation and education plans in place and that the carrier enforcement branch of the Societe de l’assurance automobile du Quebec would not yet have any enforcement equipment to play with.

According to Quebec Trucking Association president Marc Cadieux, Quebec wants to get as many provinces on board as possible, although he says Prince Edward Island is not going to buy into 105.

He does say, not surprisingly, that a soft enforcement period in Quebec has been discussed.

If Ontario does become the first jurisdiction in North America to implement 105 in this “show me yours and I’ll show you mine” story, its “all must comply” law, will surely mean that resistance to 105 is futile and other jurisdictions will quickly follow suit.


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