In a recent letter to the Ontario Provincial Police, Ministry of Transportation and the Ontario Police Commercial Vehicle Committee (representing regional and municipal police forces), OTA highlighted ways like-minded safety stakeholders can work to make Ontario roads even safer by adding efficiencies to the province’s truck speed enforcement programs and policies.
“We have been given a clear mandate from the OTA Board of Directors to address speed issues from both a safety and environmental perspective and will continue to work with our road safety partners in exploring innovative ways to promote safe roads and a level-playing field that will yield positive results with respect to compliance with speed limits and speed limiter regulations,” said Geoff Wood, OTA senior VP of policy.
Travelling too fast for conditions and following too closely are historically among the leading speed-related causes of heavy truck at-fault collisions in Ontario. OTA has tabled a series of policy positions on truck speeds with provincial, regional and municipal authorities which include: enhancing technology used to detect speed limiter activation at roadside; deploying photo-radar for heavy trucks; applying driver and carrier abstract points for speed limiter violations (regardless of jurisdiction of drivers licence or domicile of carrier); and connecting failed speed limiter checks at roadside back to fleets and shops.
“While there should be zero speeding and speed limiter related tickets issued to heavy trucks along 400 series highways due to the speed limiter requirements, the reality is a small percentage of fleets and drivers, including those from the US, continue to circumvent the rules,” said Wood.
Other concepts tabled by the enforcement community include: the application of the community safety zone speeding fine and point structure to heavy commercial vehicles for speed issues; as well as incorporating speed limiter requirements into daily trip inspection and roadside inspection regimes.
Relatedly, OTA also believes there could be a strong correlation between the small subset of fleets who violate speed limiter rules and those who use writable ELD devices to gain an advantage over their compliant competition.
Although only a small percentage of drivers and companies are engaged in these practices, it does represent an increased risk for road safety while also having a negative impact on the environment, the industry’s image and creates an unlevel playing field for compliant trucking companies who are trying to operate their businesses safely.
OTA looks forward to continued dialogue with the enforcement community on both of these issues.