Western Promises: HOS rules are coming to Alberta, speed limiters are not

BANFF, Alta. — Hope for nationwide implementation of speed limiter legislation hit a roadblock in Alberta, as the province’s Transport Minister revealed he has no intention of pursuing the idea.

Transport Minister Luke Ouellette assured the province’s largest trucking association that new hours of service rules are on the way, but a speed limiter law would not be, during the AMTA’s annual management conference.

Quiet applause broke out in parts of the banquet room as the minister explained he had no intention of introducing speed limiter legislation in Alberta.

“I have no plans to make it mandatory to have speed limiters in Alberta. If they want to do it themselves because of economic and environmental issues, that’s great,” said Ouellette. “Here along the main economic corridor the speed limit is 110 km/h and it would be wrong to put them below that. If they do it on their own that’s great, but I’m not ready to go there.”

Ouellette’s statement comes on the heels of legislation being introduced in Ontario that if passed would limit the speed of commercial trucks operating in the province at 105 km/h. Prior to Ontario’s legislation, Quebec introduced the controversial speed limiter legislation, but tabled the motion waiting for other provinces to join in before moving forward.

Alberta Transport Minister Luke Ouellette wants
no part of a speed limiter law.

It’s not the first time Alberta has bucked the national trend when it comes to new legislation. When new federal hours of service rules were rolled out in January 2007, some provinces took a few months to enact similar legislation, but Alberta remains the lone hold out.

Ouellette insists his ministry is still working on it and new legislation is coming, perhaps even soon.

“We need to be very careful how we implement this,” noted Ouellette. “I want to balance our regulations with enhancing industry productivity. I want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for drivers and not just big corporations.”

To help with hours of service compliance, Ouellette is aware the provincial rest stop network is lacking and plans to address this issue in the near future. His ministry is trying to secure $100 million over the next seven years from the provincial budget to increase the number of rest areas along the province’s highways.

Alberta Transportation has a number of other projects in the pipeline and is confident recent restructuring will provide a more focused approach in completing their goals.

Following the provincial election in March, the cabinet was reshuffled which led to the separation of the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation.

As its own ministry, the Department of Transportation plans to provide more focus on road and infrastructure improvements, which include: record amounts of investment in road construction and repair; the Port Alberta project in Edmonton; full implementation of the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement with B.C.; development of an NSC profile for drivers; introduction of a fatigue management program for drivers; trailer aerodynamic length allowances; increased weight allowances for wide single tires; and expedited permit service for oversize loads.

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