September 8, 2008 11:20 AM, EDT
ATA Backs Ontario Speed Limiter Plan, but Suggests Changes to Avoid Conflict

By Sean McNally, Senior Reporter

This story appears in the Sept. 8 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

American Trucking Associations said it supports Ontario’s plan to mandate speed limiters set at 105 kilometers — or about 65.2 mph — on all trucks but urged the province to alter its regulation to avoid conflicts with potential U.S. rules.

“ATA supports Ontario’s efforts to mandate the use of speed limiters. We believe that this is a necessary part of a comprehensive strategy to make highways safer for all vehicles, help conserve energy resources and reduce the industry’s carbon footprint,” the trucking federation said in an Aug. 29 letter to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

ATA added that it does “not believe that Ontario’s proposal will produce significant compliance, operational or competitiveness problems for U.S. carriers, provided [our] recommendations . . . are included in the final regulation.”

Ontario approved the legislation in June (6-23, p. 1). It is similar to a proposal previously floated by ATA that would limit U.S. truck speeds to no more than 68 mph.

ATA said in the letter it was concerned with how the rule would be applied to vehicles and how it would be enforced.

Ontario’s proposal would require all trucks built after 1995 and equipped with electronically controlled engines to use the speed limiter, but ATA said the requirement should only apply to new trucks.

ATA said that would allow manufacturers to “embed a security code [or] software that would minimize the potential for tampering” after a truck is sold.

The Ontario proposal also would call for a truck to be cited for having a faulty speed limiter if the device failed to keep a driver from accelerating past 65 mph on level ground — a requirement ATA said would be expensive to test and maintain and therefore should be eliminated.

“It would likely require a sophisticated stationary test bed, or road testing on level ground at highway speeds with a calibration device,” ATA said. “Recalibration would be necessary after several different types of routine maintenance activities, such as tire changes.”

ATA also objected to a provision holding that a driver charged with a speeding offense “will be deemed not to have a functioning speed limiter.”

“Many factors influence the maximum governed speed of a vehicle,” ATA said. “Even with a properly set and calibrated speed limiter, various components on a truck can influence the vehicle’s potential speed.”

ATA added that the rule should apply to all commercial vehicles, including buses, not just heavy-duty trucks.

Ontario is expected to issue its formal regulation later this year.