Scott Mooney, of the Owner-Operated Independent Drivers Association, led the convoy from Cambridge and introduced the various speakers at Queen's Park for the truckers rally opposing Bill 41.

Truckers brave cold to raise heat on new highway speed limits

The cold weather didn’t stop truckers from both the east and west ends of Toronto to rally downtown on Monday. Their message was simple: New rules and technology limiting their speeds may actually increase the risk of accident and death on Ontario highways.

A handful of truck drivers showed up at Queen’s Park on March 2 to rally against legislation that requires them have speed limiters.

Bill 41, an Ontario Highway Traffic Amendment Act, was introduced in March of last year. The amendment requires large trucks to have speed limiters and sets the maximum operating speed at 105 kilometers per hour.

Two groups of truckers, including Jack Logan who organized the convoy from Bowmanville, voiced their disapproval of the required speed limiter unit.

“I travel along the 400 series highways daily logging about three to five thousand kilometers a week between Toronto and Montreal,” Logan said. “I have witnessed first hand the negative impact the speed limiters are having already.”

Part of Bill 41’s initiative was to slow down trucks in a city setting in hopes of improving overall safety.

“It’s not the speed of the truck that is killing people on our highways,” Logan said, “it is the inexperienced drivers that are behind the wheel that are killing the people on our highways.”

The legislation, which has also passed in Quebec, will start to be enforced around June or July of this year. The remaining provinces have rejected the concept stating that speed limiters make the highways less safe.

A study by the University of Waterloo, commissioned by the federal government, was conducted last year and cites various safety questions about speed limiters. For example, more vehicle interactions will take place in a close capacity.

Amidst safety concerns, other problems facing truck drivers involve competing with truckers in other jurisdictions who don’t have speed limiters.

Gilles Bisson, MPP for Timmins-James Bay, says that there are three problems with the legislation that are detrimental to the trucking business in Ontario and Quebec.

“We are not going to have the resources on our highways in order to enforce current highway rules,” Bisson said. “Why are we doing this?”

Bisson said the trucking business is now at a disadvantage because of competition from other business outside of Ontario and in the United States.

“We are not necessarily going to achieve the point that the government says is the important point which is making the highway safer,” Bisson said.

Filed by Ciaran Thompson