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CTA Member Carriers United on Speed Limiters

(Akron/Tire Review – Today’s Trucking) The Canadian Trucking Alliance has won the support of the last remaining provincial trucking association to join the campaign for coast-to-coast speed limiter adoption in Canada.

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According to today’s Financial Post, the CTA is on the verge of announcing a consensus among member carriers across the country. Each provincial trucking association will follow the lead of the Ontario Trucking Association – which drafted the original proposal – and lobby their respective transport ministries to approve a mandate that engine governors on all trucks be set at 105 km/h.

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In an interview with TodaysTrucking.com this morning, CTA CEO David Bradley confirmed that the Quebec Trucking Association – the only provincial group that did not yet officially endorse the plan – has too jumped on the speed limiter bandwagon.

Bradley was clear that the new campaign is a jurisdictional matter for each province to rule on individually; this is not an initiative that the CTA is taking to Ottawa and involving federal rulemakers. However, added Bradley, he does envision a role for the feds in the future, likely in regards to the environmental aspect of the proposal.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is currently reviewing the original OTA proposal. The government was expected to rule on the plan in January, but says it’s still studying comments from proponents and critics.

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Asked by TodaysTrucking.com if Ontario will press on if some of the other provinces decline to follow suit, Bradley reiterated past statements that the OTA will go it alone if it needs to.

"The more governments that come on board the better," he said. "But I don’t necessarily buy the argument that we have to have harmonization. It would be preferable, but there are lots of cases where we don’t have harmonization and I think Ontario is a big enough market to stand on its own. I don’t want to wait until everybody is signed, sealed, and delivered before we do anything."

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Proponents say the plan would save both lives and fuel. Similarly, Bradley confirmed that he’s ready to continue to market the proposal to the rest of the country if the MTO decides that it does not intend to regulate speed limiters in the province. "Certainly. It’s a national position," he says. "Without speculating what Ontario’s position would be, I can say we’ve invested heavily in this, and we believe in it."

As Today’s Trucking has reported online and in print, there is heavy opposition to the plan among grassroots truckers and independent owner-operators.

The Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada (OBAC), and the American group, Owner-Operator and Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), are challenging the concept of a legislative rule for governors. They insist that many studies find that governed trucks actually increase the risk (of collision) to motorists by creating dangerous speed differentials.

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The other major carrier association in the country has also come out against the plan.

"What we believe is lacking in the proposal is any definitive proof that truck speeding is a major issue in Ontario," PMTC president Bruce Richards said. "In fact, in the OTA’s own words, ‘trucks are the least likely vehicles to be speeding on Ontario’s highways.’

"Until there is proof that truck speeding is a significant, out of control issue, we cannot support a regulation that would require speed limiters for all trucks."

However, the momentum is now on the OTA-CTA side of the argument. The groups are supported by several safety and environmental groups and the Canadian Transportation Equipment Association. Last week the OTA released a survey that found the majority of Ontarians think speed limiters on trucks is, to varying degrees, a good idea.

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Furthermore, the American Trucking Associations has also "endorsed a move to limit the maximum speed of large trucks, at the time of manufacture, to no more than 68 mph." An ATA spokesman clarified that the association is only encouraging truckmakers to set the standard on the engine’s ECM on the assembly line, but customers would have the option of raising the limit.

"At this point they’re not where we’re at," Bradley said of the ATA’s position. "But what we’ve seen is a remarkable turnaround. It indicates to me we are on a path that over time could lead to some continental arrangement – although that’s a long way away."

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