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Western reaction:;Mixed messages in Manitoba, as speed limits raised

DELTA, B. C. - Like their Ontario sister organization, the Western Canadian trucking associations support a move to limit truck speeds to 105 km/h. But unlike in Ontario, the associations have had lit...


DELTA, B. C. –Like their Ontario sister organization, the Western Canadian trucking associations support a move to limit truck speeds to 105 km/h. But unlike in Ontario, the associations have had little luck convincing their respective Ministries of Transportation to adopt the policy.

The B. C. Trucking Association (BCTA) has supported a national initiative undertaken by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) to implement speed limiters. On its own, the BCTA has supported speed limiters as being valuable from both a safety and environmental perspective, and has lobbied the B. C. provincial government on this issue, promoting the associated benefits.

“We have informed the government of B. C. of our support for speed limiters, and most recently have reminded them of the potential for a reduction in greenhouse gases associated with speed limiters,” says Paul Landry, the president and CEO of the BCTA.

“The initial response that we got, when we first raised this with the provincial government is that ‘speeding trucks is not an issue in

B. C.,'” said Landry, of a discussion that happened about a year and a half ago. “I guess we were disappointed with that response, but again: as part of our climate change package, as part of a series of proposals that we made in respect to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from trucks, we reminded the government of the value of speed limiters.”

Landry says many of its members are already managing speeds, so operating in Ontario shouldn’t pose a challenge.

“They either use speed limiters or they monitor the speed of their trucks and/or they take action with respect to drivers that engage in speeding practices,” he says. “Speed management is very common in the industry. This is one approach to dealing with that, although some companies would prefer other approaches. But Ontario has decided that we should be using the technology that exists in the vast majority of trucks, to put something more concrete in place.”

In response, a spokesperson for the B. C. Ministry of Transportation and Highways, says B. C. is part of a federal group that’s considering speed limiters.

“We’ve been working with Transport Canada on this issue to understand the implications of this device at a national level, given that commercial trucks travel daily across provincial boundaries,” says Jeff Knight.

Bob Dolyniuk, the general manger of the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA), says his organization also endorses speed limiters. As for Ontario’s new law, the general manager would like to see the actual wording of this new legislation before commenting further.

“I guess it has often been said ‘the devil is in the details,'” says

Dolyniuk, who is interested in knowing when, where, and how the new Ontario legislation will be enforced, and if the speed limiter rule will be applied to US-based trucks.

“Specifically, there’s been a view that at times, Americans are treated differently than Canadians in Canada,” he says. “Well, sometimes things may or may not be applied to them, and we would hope that if the intent of this legislation is applied to all trucks operating in Ontario, that would include Americans as well.”

The MTA has made clear its position in favour of speed limiters to the Manitoba provincial government, and like the BCTA, has yet to reach an agreement on the topic.

“The province knows our position on speed limiters, and as a matter of fact: the province of Manitoba has recently taken steps to actually increase the speed on the Trans-Canada Highway, and Hwy. 75, to 110 km/h, which we were opposed to,” says Dolyniuk, noting the speed is presently sitting at 100 km/h.

“In spite of all our efforts, it would appear that this increase is going to happen,” he adds of a higher speed limit, which is expected to be passed shortly by the Manitoba provincial government.

Colin Lemoine, a spokesperson for the Manitoba Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation confirms that a Manitoba transport board did approve an increase in speed, which is now awaiting provincial government approval.

The Manitoba spokesperson believes that this increase is not out-ofplace with other speed limits across the Western provinces.

“There are speed limits at 110 km/h in Alberta, in Saskatchewan and in other provinces. So Manitoba is not in any different position from them, but I guess that’s why a federal group needs to look at the effects of these speed limits, all those types of things,” says Lemoine of a federal task force presently considering a national consensus.

The Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) is also in favour of speed limiters and previously supported a proposal made by the CTA and the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) on the matter. Like the MTA and BCTA, it is not getting any support from its provincial government to control speeds.

“We know that there are owner/operator types that seem to think that this is not a great thing to do,” AMTA executive director, Mayne Root says of an opposing sentiment that doesn’t support legislation for speed limiters.

“There is a whole lobby of people that believe that the (trucking) companies already have this ability.”

Root says the AMTA supports the research that has been undertaken by the CTA and the OTA, supporting the reliability and cost-effectiveness of a control device that limits speed.

While Root emphasizes that the AMTA’s focus is on the trucking industry, enforcing speeds with all vehicles has certainly been a topic of discussion within the association, especially with one member who spoke out recently, recollected the executive director.

“The comment he made was: ‘If the speed limits were enforced, with everybody, would this be a big issue?’ And, probably it wouldn’t be,” said Root.


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