I received a lot of those warnings in my Inbox since the January issue of Truck West hit the stops. The second most frequent e-mail I received was titled along the lines of “What is the OTA thinking?!” There were various other versions of this as well, many of them unfit for publication. It appears the OTA’s policy on the mandatory use of speed limiters struck a chord with many of you – and rightfully so. Whether you agree with the policy or not, it’s encouraging to see truckers are willing to voice their opinion on a controversial subject that will have an impact on their lives and their livelihoods.
For the most part, I steered those of you who called towards Dwain Smith of the Ministry of Transportation. It was his job to solicit feedback from the industry and the public so the MTO could collect the facts and present them to the Minister of Transportation himself. From what I hear, Mr. Smith’s phone was ringing off the hook – despite the startlingly brief comment period allotted for feedback.
As this issue of Truck West went to press, the Ministry was still in the process of making sense of the OTA policy and sorting through the countless responses it had received. Regardless of what happens from here, let’s hope the Ministry gives both sides the consideration they deserve.
Kudos to all those of you who took the time to contact Truck West, the OTA or the Ministry of Transportation. We received so many letters on the subject, it would be impossible to include them all in this issue of Truck West. However, this is your publication and with that in mind we set aside a number of pages where you – the readers – express your views (and in no uncertain terms!) See pages 8-11 for reader reaction.
It’s also worth mentioning that every letter in favour of the policy was included – a total of one. That’s not to say the OTA policy on speed limiters is without merit, but clearly it will not be embraced by the vast majority of those of you on the front lines.
On a more pleasant note, I want to send kudos out to some friends in Calgary who have worked tirelessly over the past couple years to launch and keep rolling the 18 Wheels of Christmas Campaign. In just the second year of the food drive, held throughout Alberta and sponsored by the transportation industry, organizers this year collected over 65,000 lbs of food for local food banks. That’s enough to fill a 48-foot trailer (donated by Rosenau) and a five-tonne truck. Congratulations on all the hard work Colleen Nickel and Dale Hart! Also, congratulations to all the trucking companies that collected food and made the campaign a huge success!
Although it’s a Christmas food drive, Colleen and Dale work throughout the year coordinating and preparing for the event. More than anything, they’d like to see the program copied in other parts of the country. Just imagine if all 10 provinces could duplicate the success of Alberta! That would be more than half a million pounds of food collected by the trucking industry for families that are less fortunate and don’t always have the resources to enjoy a Merry Christmas.