Don’t delay speed-limit law: Bradley

TORONTO  — The President of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) David Bradley tore a strip off the anti-speed-limiter camp this morning when he talked to politicians putting the legislation together.

And, he said, the fleets that support speed limiters are among the safest, highest-paying and most efficient truckers on the continent.

Bradley was speaking at Queen’s Park before the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, which is holding public hearings into Bill 41. Bradley encouraged the politicians to pass the legislation, as is, speedily, so the details of how the law will work can actually be hammered out.

Here’s a recap of Bradley’s comments:
“It is OTA’s view that it should be mandatory that speed limiters be activated on all trucks equipped with electronic engines built since 1995 that operate into, out of and within Ontario, regardless of domicile, and that the limiters be set at a maximum speed of no more than 105 km/hr.
“This was a position we came to after extensive research and consultation with carriers, drivers, engine and truck manufacturers, enforcement personnel, safety and environmental experts and policy-makers at home and abroad.
“We know that truck drivers are not the worst offenders when it comes to excessive speeding. In fact, as a class I am proud to say that they are the safest drivers on the highways. However, we also know that some do speed and drive aggressively or are forced to by unscrupulous carriers and shippers; that voluntary measures have failed to be embraced by all operators; and that as an industry that shares its workplace with the public we have — as safety professionals — an added responsibility to do the right thing.
“And, this is the right thing to do. There is no retrofitting required. The speed limiter just needs to be activated and that can take as little as 45 seconds.
“Our motivation is simple — to improve our industry’s overall safety performance and therefore overall highway safety and to reduce our carbon imprint. The public and government demand no less of us and the responsible operators demand no less of themselves. It is also good business.
“We are delighted with the support this measure has attained from so many individuals and organizations within and from outside the trucking industry. We are confident that one day we will be able to look back on this time and know it was because of the leadership shown here in Ontario that the rest of North America will eventually embrace this measure as well. There are no NAFTA issues here. There is no discrimination. Trade will not be impaired.
“You will be hearing from some people that are opposed to this bill. Debate is good and the trucking industry is never short of it. Trucking is a tough business; especially in these difficult economic times.
“However, I urge you to consider the fact that the majority of trucks operating in North America today are already doing so with their speed limiters activated.
“If any of what the opponents of this bill say will happen was true, how is it that many if not the majority of the companies already embracing speed limiters are generally considered to be amongst the best managed companies in any industry, the most successful and the most responsible in terms of safety and the environment?
“How is it that they are regularly recognized by their shippers on both sides of the border as providing the highest levels of service and on-time performance?
“Is it coincidence that some of the most vocal Canadian supporters of this measure also happened to dominate the US truckload carriers’ association safety awards this year?
“How is that they are also likely to pay better than average wages to their drivers?
“How is it that our members who have governed their trucks for years at even less than 105 cannot identify one instance of a car into truck rear-end collision where the car driver was not drunk or excessively speeding?
“The Ontario Trucking Association is a reasonable and responsible voice for our industry. In the past 15 years or so we have worked with all three parties when they formed the government. We have been at the forefront of every major safety, environmental, productivity and efficiency measure impacting our industry.
“In the mid-1980’s we provided the vision for the Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration, or CVOR program which MTO likes to now say is the envy of North America. We were among the major proponents of the National Safety Code for Trucks.
“We worked with the Rae government to introduce regulation of load brokers; to introduce longer trailers and combination lengths; and to introduce some semblance of shipper responsibility for axle overloads.
“We worked with the Harris and Eves governments to create the Target ’97 Task Force on Truck Safety which led to many tough, new initiatives. During that time OTA developed the mandatory wheel installers’ certification program, which there can be no doubt has saved lives.
“We have worked with the McGuinty government to develop modernized regulations governing truck driver hours of service and trip inspections. OTA proposed a tougher standard for the heavy-duty Drive Clean program, which was adopted by the Minister of the Environment.
“There were people opposed to those initiatives as well.
“No piece of legislation or regulation is ever perfect or the entire solution to all the world’s ills.
“However, I don’t think anyone on the committee would say now that those measures were not the right thing to do.
“The Ontario Trucking Association believes that Bill 41 is also the right thing to do.
“Thank you and I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions you might have."

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