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Speed Limiters: A Country Divided?

FREDERICTON, N. B. - The province of New Brunswick is the latest to consider drafting speed limiter legislation, which would mechanically cap truck speeds at 105 km/h.

FREDERICTON, N. B. –The province of New Brunswick is the latest to consider drafting speed limiter legislation, which would mechanically cap truck speeds at 105 km/h.

The Department of Public Safety has put forth a recommendaaccording tion that the province follow the lead of Ontario and Quebec and require all heavy trucks operating in the province to set their speed limiter to no greater than 105 km/h, Peter Nelson, executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) told Truck News.

Since nearly all long-distance carriers based in the Maritimes run through Quebec and Ontario, Nelson said it’s unlikely there’ll be much resistance in the Atlantic provinces.

“Already, all our (member) carriers are using speed limiters,” he said. “All our trucks are out operating in Quebec, Ontario and the US anyways and they’ve been using speed limiters since this time last year when fuel prices went through the roof.”

“It’s a moot point right now,” he added. “I don’t know how you’d make the argument against it anymore.”

If New Brunswick proceeds with speed limiter legislation, there’s no guarantee the other Atlantic provinces will follow suit. Nelson said Prince Edward Island sees little point in capping truck speeds at 105 km/h, when the province’s speed limit is no greater than 90 km/h. The same can be said for Newfoundland, where the speed limit doesn’t exceed 100 km/h.

According to Nelson, those provinces see little point in limiting truck speeds to 105 km/h, which is faster than trucks are allowed to travel there to begin with.

On the other hand, in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia there are stretches of highway with speed limits of 110 km/h.

While the speed limiter bug appears to be spreading east, it’s less likely to catch on in Western Canada.

John Spacek, assistant deputy minister with Manitoba’s Department of Infrastructure and Transportation, recently told the Canadian Press that the province was not planning to introduce speed limiter legislation unless all other provinces were on-board.

“Most of the provinces, as far as I know, have said ‘no’ other than Ontario and Quebec,” he was quoted as saying. In fact, Manitoba recently increased speed limits on certain stretches of four-lane provincial highways from 100 km/h to 110.

In Alberta, Transport Minister Luke Ouellette made it clear his department has no interest in introducing speed limiter legislation.

“Forcing trucks to stay below 105 km/h on provincial highways could potentially cause more collisions on roads, while other vehicles travel at higher speeds,” Ouellette said at the Alberta Motor Transport Association convention in mid-April.

“I believe it is safer to have trucks moving at the same speed as other traffic, to reduce the collisions resulting from an increase in lane changing. If there’s a real problem with certain carriers, we can deal with that through roadside enforcement or other measures. So, unless it becomes a North American standard, I really don’t see any reason why our government would force you to put them in your vehicles.”

And in B. C., Jeff Knight, spokesperson for the public affairs bureau of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the province has “no plans” to introduce speed limiter laws.

“Unlike Ontario and Quebec, B. C. – because of its mountainous terrain – doesn’t have many highways where trucks can legally travel at 105 km/h or more,” Knight told Truck News. “Also, many trucking companies already have corporate speed limits.”

So for now it appears Canada will be a country divided – literally right down the middle – when it comes to introducing and enforcing speed limiter legislation.

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