Monday, April 28, 2008

Speed limiters put ‘cart before the pony’

I wish I could have attended Truck World 2008 during the festivities on April 19.

I would have enjoyed witnessing Ontario Transportation Minister Jim Bradley and Ontario Trucking Association President David Bradley posing for the cameras while “activating a speed limiter” on a Kenworth. We can guess it was a real dog and pony show.

Both Bradleys – one lobbying the other – continue to push for a mandated top speed of 105 km/h, or 65 mph, for all heavy trucks doing business in Ontario.

Although setting a road speed limit on the ECM isn’t difficult, it involves a cost to the trucker and most likely requires a visit to a qualified technician. Even the Bradleys had help from a Cummins engineer for the Truck World demonstration.

We’ve been told that runs you about $250 on a Cummins engine. What that doesn’t include are the other reconfigurations needed or the downtime.

The debate is not about how to turn it on and off; it’s bigger than that, and you’ve read those arguments in Land Line and heard them on “Land Line Now.”

Under such a mandate, truckers will be forced to make choices when entering a jurisdiction that requires speed limiters – activate the speed limiter on individual trips or parts of trips, leave the setting activated full time, or take a chance with enforcement. Remember that the proposed Ontario law includes fines for tampering.

Until a realistic and fair method of enforcement is sorted out – particularly in regard to the tampering provision – owner-operators will and should resist mandatory speed limiters.

Until then, the Bradley dog and pony show still has a cart before the pony.

What happened to good old enforcement of the posted speed limit?