An Ontario Ministry of Transportation enforcement program advisor recently travelled south of the border to shed light on Ontario’s successful launch of one of the first mandatory speed limiter programs in North America.
At the 2014 Zonar Systems user conference held in San Antonio, MTO’s Kerri Wirachowsky hosted a session that delved into the Canadian experience with speed limiter regulations, as a similar rulemaking effort is reportedly imminent in the U.S.
According to a report in Fleet Owner, Wirachowsky said Ontario and Quebec became the first two jurisdictions in North America to legislate speed limiter rules for heavy trucks as a way to boost safety on the highway as well as reduce the industry’s emissions footprint.
She said she expects there to be “a lot of similarities” between the upcoming U.S. speed limiter rule and the mandate in Ontario, which requires truck entering the province – U.S. trucks included – to have engine speed set to 105 km/h (around 65 mph) through the ECM.
“You need to have the speed setting changed before you reach one of our weigh stations,” she said. “Drivers can also be charged for not allowing us to access their ECM.”
She noted that over the last three years compliance with the sped limiter rule has remained steady at about 90%. And as Ontario and Quebec harmonized their speed limiter regulations at 65 mph, she expects a similar approach to take place between the provinces and the U.S.
Wirachowsky cited a Transport Canada study, conducted after the rule took effect in Ontario in 2009, which determined that the number of heavy trucks that regularly exceeded 105 km/h had fallen to about 15%. That same study also claimed that if heavy trucks were governed at 65 mph, 100 million liters of diesel fuel could be saved – equivalent to removing 2,700 tractor-trailers from the roadways – while reducing carbon emissions by 280,000 tons per year.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2012 determined that trucks equipped with speed control devices have a 50% lower crash rate compared to trucks without them.
Jack Van Steenburg, FMCSA’s assistant administrator and chief safety officer, told attendees that the U.S. speed limiter rule now awaits NHTSA’s final adjustments and is expected to be published in 2014.