Where is the OTA coming from? They have a world of their own!
There have been many letters written in this magazine about speed regulators, hours of operation and most of the letters tell it the way it is on the highways.
I have been driving on highways for 60 years from farm machinery to tractor-trailers in England and North America.
Commercial traffic in England used to be limited to 30 mph.
I doubt the OTA was around then, but then neither were the super-highways.
Trucking in Europe is a lot different than in North America and trying to compare is like comparing apples and oranges.
In the last edition, Mr. Lanthier explained in a letter to the editor what the OTA will create if it goes ahead and ignores the advice of truly professional drivers with many years of experience. We are fortunate to have many excellent professional drivers in Canada, and it’s because of these dedicated people that many accidents are avoided. Accidents are avoided by backing off or speeding up. Take one of these options away and you are creating more dangerous situations on our highways.
Surely, stopping reckless drivers is the responsibilty of our police of which there are not enough. Their presence on the highways shows that there are not enough of them.
At the end of the day most Class 1 truck drivers find that the technology does not work. How about the Blue Ribbon Panel showing their colours, and include more than 13 people to make such conclusions that have been made.
If safety is the aim, look back at all the good letters posted in this magazine by people that have the right to be heard.
Speed limiters on trucks at 105 km/h? I think not, 120 might be a better option. I usually drive 105 but have needed 120 now and then, and it’s nice to know it’s there when you need it.
I have been following this story about the plan that the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has proposed to force all trucks operating in this province, no matter where they are from, to have a speed limiter installed. Although the arguments sound good and the results almost sound fantastic, I can’t believe how far the OTA is willing to go to have its wish granted. As I understand it, they are now even willing to have the Ontario Government pass a new law that would make it illegal to run in Ontario without one.
I read with interest the latest story in the January issue of Truck West written by James Menzies, especially the quote by OTA president David Bradley where he says, “truck drivers are the safest of drivers on our highways, the least likely to be excessively speeding and the least likely to show poor lane discipline.”
Somehow these words fall as nothing more than empty compliments, like a politician’s speech during an election. Somehow, you just know there must be more to what he’s not saying.
I have to agree with OOIDA’s president Jim Johnston, an American who is outside of this province. If indeed safety, fuel conservation and so on are their real goal, then let them lead by example; let those members of the OTA who are in agreement with this plan limit their fleets by free will, not by government intervention.
But, if they have a hidden agenda, such as keeping drivers wages low while increasing profits, then this plan starts to make sense.
I, as a truck driver with over 20 years and well over a million accident-free miles, would like to add my voice against such an obviously ridiculous concept.
Not that speed limiters are an idiotic plan, but that the OTA would welcome an increase in government intervention into our business has to be, in my opinion, the most idiotic thing I have heard of since I started my driving career.
For the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) to be recommending speed limiters in all trucks that operate in the province is totally ludicrous!
Why don’t we just go back to the old days of regulation because that’s exactly what it boils down to! First off, who is going to pay for implementation of this pipe dream of all the trucks being governed? It shouldn’t be the owners because they already pick up the bill for every so called safety improvement or regulation that’s made.
I read the original article where the “OTA Task Force” came back from Europe raving about how wonderful the system was over there. What they never bothered considering is that our country is unique in that we can’t drive across it, let alone most of the provinces in a day.
Just because it works over there doesn’t mean it will work over here. If they can’t see that or sit down and objectively discuss it, then they should start thinking about finding new jobs because there won’t be enough trucks around to have to worry about having an association.
I can not speak for others but it seems to me that the mandatory use of speed limiters would be an infringement on people’s human rights.
If there are going to be speed limiters on trucks then every vehicle on the road – cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, motor homes, buses – should have them.
As far as I’m concerned, this policy would spell the end of my 27 year career.
I had the chance to drive a tractor-trailer unit with a governed speed on it and it made passing a slow and difficult thing to do.
I feel doing this is just more intervention in a industry that already has more than enough rules and regulations.
The answer to speeding trucks is enforcement, not speed limiters. Enforcement is a joke in Ontario. I have had other trucks pass me and a cruiser at high speeds and nothing happened.
Listen to the CB and you will hear U.S. drivers being told that they can run 70 mph and get away with it. And what about trucks that run in 70 mph U.S. states?
By the way my truck has the cruise set at 100 km/h and top-end at 110 km/h to give me flexibility in the 65 mph states I run in.
The OTA should worry more about the loss of older experienced drivers because of the onerous re-testing at 65. Ontario is the only jurisdiction to do this.
Hello Lou and James. I’ve sent this to both of you as you have both done your opening editorials on this subject in the January issue, and I would like to bring forward a few points I feel they should be better aware of. First of all let me say I’m not a speeding lunatic or someone that has to do it to make my business survive. But I feel there may be some safety factors with speed limiting. Maybe I’m wrong, but let me tell you why I think it will not be a good idea.
First scenario: Two trucks running together, governed to the same speed. The one in the lead is running not as fast as the other for one reason or another (some fleets governed at 90-95 km/h or weight differences). The second one doesn’t want to pass to speed at over 100 km/h, let’s just say he can maintain the speed limit and the lead truck keeps slowing. They get to a passing lane, now the second truck can’t get a temporary run of speed and there they are, running side by side, plugging up traffic because the second couldn’t get any momentum to complete the pass quickly. Now everyone gets road raged and starts taking stupid chances.
Scenario two: Rain or snow covered road. Conditions that are not anything to bother an experienced driver. Now you come up on a four-wheeled motorist doing 80 in a 90 km/h zone. You’re in Northern Ontario where double lanes are few and far between. You’re on a time schedule. You finally come up on a straight-away and now instead of being able to get that burst of speed to overtake and get back in your own lane quickly, there you are hung out to dry needing all the time in the world to crawl by. Not to mention the road raged four-wheelers behind also trying to get by.
There are those situations where you need to get by another vehicle (not so you can speed like an idiot) but it would be a lot safer to have the ability to speed for a moment to overtake quickly and safely.
Truck West is an excellent publication. I still have just about every issue from 1980. Keep up the good work.
Shawn G. Marcil Trucking
Goulais River, ON.
We should all tip our hats to the OTA for finally coming out with an official policy endorsing speed limiters. As a safety professional with an Ontario-based fleet of tankers, I must agree with this endorsement. Our fleet is limited to a maximum of 90 km/h and we find that tires, suspensions, fuel economy, and drivers nerves all benefit.
A unit weighing 63,500 kg loaded with volatile cargo like gasoline is much safer and easier to control when excessive speed is not a factor. On a recent trip to Europe I was impressed with the discipline shown by truckers on major highways where there was no speed limit for cars.
We could have that here. It is within our power to train drivers. The problem is how to train the public.
E.W. (Rick) Baird
Advisor Safety & Compliance
Petro-Canada Company Fleet
Lobbying in the trucking industry is moving in the wrong direction.
We should be thinking about limiting fleet size to 100 trucks. By limiting fleet size we can encourage small businesses to flourish and prevent stupid debates such as speed limiters which are mainly brought about by the owners of large companies whose only interests are profits.
Professional truck driver
Dear Mr. Dwain Smith:
I have been studying the proposal (Comprehensive Policy on Truck Speed Limitation and Lane Discipline – Fall 2005) as put forth by the OTA and I cannot help but be amazed by the gross misrepresentations, false innuendoes and half truths contained therein.
First of all, Mr. Smith, the OTA’s claim that their proposal is a safety-based initiative is totally fabricated, if not completely false. Mr. Bradley is already on official record as admitting that OTA’s members main concern is to “level the playing field” when it comes to hiring drivers. Apparently this is a major problem for OTA member carriers that already have speed-limited their fleets.
The OTA also claim that another reason for this proposal is because they feel they are at a significant disadvantage over so-called speeding trucks when it comes to soliciting freight. This is absolute hogwash! Their own “manifesto” clearly shows that for a trip from, say, Toronto to Montreal or Chicago, a “speeding” truck might only gain 15 or 20 minutes. Hardly a strong selling point to any shipper! And even a trip as far as Vancouver might also gain only a couple of hours at best. The OTA should be expected to produce proof of this allegation from the shippers that they say require this kind of “speeding service”.
It is my finding that this proposal by the OTA is an attempt to manipulate the business climate for themselves to gain a competitive advantage over other, smaller non-member carriers and, further, it is my contention that no government should interfere in normal business practices, especially not by legislation with such far reaching consequences. As the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau so eloquently declared some years ago, “the government has no business in the bedrooms of our nation.” Mr. Smith, I would expect that our government will act cautiously on this proposal from the OTA and do extensive research before proceeding too hastily.
As a owner/op this new tack is nothing more than the trucking industry and the province admitting they cannot control the speed through enforcement. If the OPP are under-funded and cannot enforce the legal limits, maybe they need to take a course from Ohio where the speed is 55 mph and the trucks do it or face high fines.
I run in the U.S. 99 per cent of the time where the speed limits are 65 mph for trucks to 70 mph in other areas, so tell me how do I not become a traffic blockade when there?
If the OTA members want to limit their equipment let them do so but do not tell a private owner how to run his business. This is a free market country the last I checked.
Tom Desjarlais, Owner/operator
I’ve been in this industry for 36 years and this is the way I see it now: First of all the speed limiters are a waste of time and money. Do people really expect the Americans to come to Ontario and turn down their trucks to 105 km/h and then when they cross the border turn them back up again? All the Canadian trucks that run the U.S. will have to turn their trucks up in order to run the speed limit across the border and then turn them down when they get back to Ontario.
This makes no sense at all – a total waste of money. I think the people who thought of this never took into consideration the bottleneck effect this will have, especially around the cities. Just think about two trucks that are side-by-side for five to six miles, trying to pass each other. If one truck does 105 and the other truck does 105.3 km/h, you can’t imagine the nightmare this will create.This is due in fact to the shortage of good drivers. It seems like today if you can mutter or utter anything that sounds like ‘truck’ you can drive one.
Where I came from there is a proverb “An eager fool is worse than a platoon of enemies.” Simply put, people who are supposed to help the trucking industry are coming up with ideas that look more like justifying the expenses of a European trip, without considering the consequences of their actions.
Can you imagine two trucks travelling at the maximum allowable speed but the actual speed of one truck is one km/h faster than the other? I just wonder how much time the passing would take and how long a line would be created behind those trucks?
As for me, I am an O/O and I personally drive around 100-105 km/h for the simple reason that I have already calculated how much money I would lose by driving faster.
I just hope that a reasonable voice will prevail and the truckers are going to be treated with respect and trust.
With 30 years of trucking behind me and a clean record I’m one of those drivers considering a change. I still enjoy trucking and it has been good to me and my family, but enough is enough. When will the public and politicians smarten up? The statistics are there for everyone to see, instead they jump on the biggest political football around again. Trucks are not responsible for the majority of accidents on our roads, it’s cars. I’ve read article after article about the OTA and how they are going to clean up an industry that has a remarkable safety record to start with. Why aren’t they lobbying the government to educate the general public about truck safety and how to share the road with all drivers instead of bashing the industry.
I can just imagine your inbox is full after this issue. I usually wouldn’t say anything, but this has gone too far. Who do these people think they are, setting a governed speed on a truck? Have they ever even driven a commercial truck ? Or B-trains? I think not. What does a trucker do when he needs to pass some old holidayer in a motor home at 85km/h and the rig is governed at 105km/h? The truck must be able to pass or road rage will set in.
How long until these truckers start to push or bully cars out of their way? More accidents and more lives lost, and what did we really accomplish? Ontario can keep their stupid idea right out of B.C. as far as I’m concerned. Trucking today is the most over-regulated job in Canada (my opinion of course) and won’t be getting any better.
I have been reading a lot about the proposal for putting mandatory speed limiters on trucks. I have been driving for a while and do not drive over 62 mph, even in states where the speed limit is much higher.
The reason for going at this speed is, of course, fuel economy. One more reason for going at this moderate speed is that I want to enjoy driving. Up to 62 mph, the truck is in my full control and I do not have to change lanes very often. Thus I go easy and do not get tired even after long driving hours. Whereas, when I go fast, sometimes when I have to follow another company driver I get tired very soon because of the quick lane changes, shifting gears and using brakes very often. It is fatiguing.
Despite all this, I would strongly oppose the idea of putting speed limiters on trucks because what happens is that very often you come across another vehicle which is going slower than you at, say, 60 mph. In this case if I try to pass this vehicle at 62 mph, it would take me a long time and all the car drivers will get very frustrated. So what I do is speed up, pass the slow vehicle and come back to my lane.
However, I have an idea for the people who are behind this proposal. They should put speed controls in their own cars and the cars of their families and see for themselves how it feels? After all, good things should start from home.
I have an idea that just came to me about limiting truck speeds at 105km/h – it’s called enforcing the speed limit which I believe is 100 km/h – not just for trucks but for cars also. I often wonder if all the politicians would be willing to limit all cars to 105 km/h? I do not think so because they would not have a job.
I run 100 km/h. My problem is not speed limiters, it is the OTA trying to tell me what to do. Are they going to pony up and make part of my truck payment? I highly doubt it. What will be next?
I believe it is time to sell my truck and go in a different direction.
This letter is in response to an earlier article about the OTA lobbying for implementation of mandatory speed limiters for trucks. The magazine told us about the heads of several Ontario transportation companies praising the EU speed regulations for trucks after visiting Europe along with some OTA representatives. That is of course true, in the EU most trucks are governed at 90 km/h +/- 10 km/h, and it does save lives and it does reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
Taking that experience alone though and superimposing it on Ontario would be wrong, in my opinion. Europe did not reach this success just by imposing speed limitation on trucks overnight. One certainly needs to look at events in context.
And the context in the European example is that the speed limits are but a small part of the whole host of regulations and surrounding infrastructure that make transportation in that part of the world safer, environmentally friendlier and fairer.
The brief emotional exclamations by your interviewees fail to mention a number of factors, like better quality of roads and road facilities for drivers to start.
Nowhere in the EU can you find stretches of highway of hundreds of kilometres without a proper, safe place to park a truck, let alone take a shower or have a meal – not an uncommon scene in North America and even in Ontario. Distances are shorter in Europe – measuring extremes, it is 3,300 km from Lisbon to Warsaw (extreme west to extreme east capitals of EU member states) and 5,200 km from Halifax to Vancouver and 4,900 km from Boston to San Diego. There are many more factors that come into play here. In my opinion, speed limiters in North America should definitely come, but never as a stand-alone measure. They should be part of a broader transportation policy that takes into account roads, road facilities, driver education, enforcement, safety, environment and local conditions. If only politicians in charge could put policy in front of their politics.
– 13 years of combined European and North American driving experience, presently an owner/operator.
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