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Ontario to Mandate Speed Limiters for Large Commercial Vehicles

3 July 2007

Toronto Star. The Ontario government is making it mandatory for all large commercial vehicles to use speed limiters, according to Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield.

The speed will be capped at 105 kph (65 mph)—5 kph above most speed limits to give truckers an opportunity to pass slower moving vehicles.

In November 2005, Ontario trucking companies met at an annual general meeting and adopted a policy that called on the government to require all trucks that drive into, out of and within Ontario to use speed limiters.

The Ontario Trucking Association says all trucks built in the last decade are already equipped with speed limiting technology and they estimate that speed limiters will save a typical tractor trailer 10,500 litres of diesel fuel every year.

They also expect speed limiters to reduce the number of severe accidents involving large commercial trucks.

July 3, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)

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Such a move taken by a U.S. state would arguably violate the Dormant Commerce Clause. I don't know much about Canadian jurisprudence, but I wonder how this plays under Canada's treaty obligations, especially NAFTA.

A speed governor is not a restriction on trade; nor does requiring it for all trucks passing through the Province favor one country's land transportation services company over another country's. It is a public safety measure that is permitted under NAFTA where exemptions of another country's trucks are allowed on the basis of safety.

For example, the US prohibits entry of Mexican trucks and buses on the basis of safety. Canada similarly requires any truck operating in Canada to meet the same requirements as trucks that are registered in Canada. (Where the US prohibition was to have phased out 7 years ago but hasn't been phased out; the Canadian limits only require equal levels of safety.)

As a resident of Ontario I like this policy but am hesitant that with speed limit of 100 kmph on Ontario highways and a passing speed of 105 kmph it will take a truck 3 or more minutes to safely pass another truck at the limits. The unintended consequence may be that cars perform risky maneuvers to not be slotted behind trucks for 3+ minutes.

Rather than speed restrictors, the Ontario governement should require trucks have Euro-style data-loggers, aka tachographs. That would have several benefits: reduced speeding, reduced over-work, and data for accident reconstruction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachograph

It's too bad that a law like this hasn't been passed in the USA. I love to see all commercial trucks limited to 67 mph in the USA, and every other vehicle (cars, trucks, SUVs) limited to 75 mph. The highway death rate will plummet, as well as our insurance bills.

Why limit it to trucks?
At a bare minimum the NHTSA should require that speedometers "peg" at 80mph.

KM519:

As far as U.S. jurisprudence goes, nonuniform "safety" standards have been recognized as creating undue burdens on interstate commerce, especially when the safety gains are minor or uncertain relative to the impact in out-of-state truckers. See KASSEL v. CONSOLIDATED FREIGHTWAYS CORP., 450 U.S. 662 (1981), which dealt with a truck-length regulation.

The point is that trucking companies domiciled in Ontario or which do a lot of work there will equip their trucks with the appropriate devices, while firms from further afield, which only do occasional business there, will not know about the requirement or not bother to have the devices installed. This is especially true of truckers who do a lot of work in places where the speed limit is higher than the one proposed here, as the disadvantage of going ten miles an hour slower on home turf would be too much to bear, relative to the advantage of being able to make the occasional stop in Ontario.

This state of affairs carries the great likelihood of creating regional disadvantages, which is why I bring up the dormant commerce clause analysis. Even if it is not strictly applicable in this case (Ontario is not a U.S. state), it is frequently the case that Canadian jurisprudence or North American treaty obligations incorporate some of the same basic structures and analysis as are found in U.S. constitutional law.

P.S. Why do you think the province's trucking association supports this measure? Because it will increase their business -- at the expense of non-local truckers who do not have the limiters installed. Not that there is a good way to tell from the outside if the device is installed or not (except if the truck itself is speeding). Will Ontario police pull over non-speeding out-of-state truckers more often just to check for installation?

NBK

USA laws do no (and should never) apply to other countries nor to Canada...

Since speeding is the major reason for fatal accidents, we should support Ontario's speed restriction for all trucks. Similar speed restriction should apply to cars and SUVs. A few thousand more Automated roadside radars could help to catch the speeders above 110 kmh.

@NBK-Boston: My points were that NAFTA permits restriction of trade on the basis of safety of local residents, and that waiting for speed-limited trucks to pass each may have the effect of causing other traffic drive hazardously. (E.g., 3 minutes at 105 km/h is about 5 km/3 mi distance. That distance seems like a long time in a car.)

Though, I am under no illusion -- The proposal gives advantage to Ontario-domiciled truckers in Ontario; but the flipside is that it disadvantages Ontario-domiciled trucks in a lot of the US (e.g., out West and down South where speed limits are higher for trucks).

The policy when implemented will be under NAFTA arbitration as undue regulation. I reckon that the NAFTA arbitration panel will likely rule that a one-province policy for speed limiters restricts trade.

New law in Ontario to fight speeders. Oh well, if you loose your driver license in Ontario. Just move east or west of Ontario... and redo your written and practical driving tests. However your car insurance could drastically jump.

Wish that all the Provinces in Canada have this law to fight racers that are too cheap to pay $20 to race at the racing track. At least, you will not loose your driver license, and won't kill anybody for nothing.

In Alberta, there are few rich ones driving exotic cars. Not just drug dealers. But they all pretend to be good drivers. I compare this to someone that has a powerful sound system. That person could either blast it with his subwoofer or behaving as an audiophile and listen hifi quality.

Also, there should be a canadian law against road ragers... Lots in Calgary,Alberta...

The US or Canadian government has aboslutely no right to tell anyone how fast they can drive. This law, especially one trying to limit cars to 75 mph or something would be a big step closer to DICTATORSHIP. WHat the hell are the nut-cases thinking? And yes, I agree there would be unintended consequence such as car doing rishk maneuvers to get around trucks taking 3 mins or so to pass a slower vehicle. Also in case you assholes didnt know, speed limits are simply about money. Its about the government and greedy insurance companies getting bogus revenue. It always has been and always will be. Especially in rural areas. Its interesting that Germany has a lower fatality rate per capita that the us or canada and they drive twice as fast.

If you want to see what happens when a group of vehicles go the same speed watch Daytona. The market makes many truckers keep their sppeds down. Most truck companies allready have speed limiters on their trucks at 65mph or less.

There is scintific research that show split speeds between trafic will cause more accidents. Thats why Texas removed the 55mph speed for trucks. TO REDUCE ACCIDENTS. If you will limit one, you must limit cats too.

For people driving cars think of all the truck in the right lane doing the same speed, making a train affect in the right lane. This happens in California that has split speeds. More cars will drive faster in order to pass trucks, also cut in front of them at last minute to exit causing more dangorious interations.

Another point, 80-85% of fatal accidents involving a commercial truck and car are caused by the car. If you read the study thorugh and not just the begging you will also see that speed in not the major factor in commercial vehicle crashes. Limit the speed of trucks and I belive that the 80-85% will increase as trafic interations increase around the limited trucks.

Well, all this governor means to me is that my truck will never set rubber into ontario. I am an ontario resident, but I work out of alberta, I run to Texas, and most of the southern states where the speed limit is 75 mph... my truck is governed at 73mph... I personally set that governor, so that I am legal everywhere, but cant push it more than the posted speed limits... My cruise control is set at 67.2 mph, which is optimum (1420 rph) for my fuel milage... what I want to know, is exactly how it benefits the enviornment for me to burn more fuel???

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