Judge: Speed limiters are unsafe, violate rights

| June 08, 2012

Speed limiters are unsafe, arbitrary and violate the principles of justice according to a recent precedent-setting ruling by an Ontario trial judge.

The decision came down this week in a case involving owner-operator Gene Michaud, of St. Catharines, Ontario. He filed a constitutional challenge last year against the province over the law that requires heavy trucks 1995 and newer to have a working speed limiter set no higher than 65 mph. The court ruled in his favor.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association provided some funding for Michaud, and in a statement said it agrees with Judge Brett A. Kelly, who said that a law requiring speed limiters on trucks violates a truck driver’s right to personal safety.  He also ruled that it violates the principles of fundamental justice because it does not make the roads safer as the province claimed, but instead creates more danger.

Michaud testified that the speed-limiter law violated his right to security as a person under Canadian law because his vehicle speed was capped below the flow of traffic in many jurisdictions. He recalled numerous situations in which he felt “bound and unsafe.”

OOIDA President Jim Johnston said the Association took on the case because the precedent is important to owner-operators on both sides of the border.

“This case will impact our Canadian members and also our U.S. members, both those who travel in Canada and those who may be subject to similar types of regulations in the U.S.,” Johnston said.

Other testimony presented also included research showing that uniform speeds are safer than when vehicles travel at different speeds. A forced speed differential, therefore, creates increased danger of collisions.

The judge agreed and said in his written ruling: “His ability to have full care and control of all aspects of the vehicle and therefore safety is impaired as opposed to improved, and the situations described by Mr. Michaud – while they may be at times examples of poor driver practice – they are directly and indirectly the result of the regulation. Mr. Michaud has reason to be concerned for his security of person as he is being placed in a dangerous situation.”

The judge also said the speed-limiter law violates the principles of fundamental justice because it is arbitrary and does not do what the province said it would do in making roadways safer.

  • Jean Kontis

    It’s about time they get rid of it. It causes more problems than it was intended to solve. how many times do you see trucks side by side, one will not let the other pass for miles.
    Instead have fines to deter truckers from going too fast, i say bring back the tachograph and let the police and mto check the pattern of the drivers speed.

  • Marty Marsh

    This just shows to go ya,the goverments are not going to take away our rights without a fight

  • marty marsh

    That is not going to change anything,trucks will still be running side by side.The companies are still going to keep their trucks set low,that is just giving you a choice if you buy a truck.The fines are already in place and computer like qualcom tell any company how fast the truck is going any time they want to know.So this means absolutely nothing to a company driver.

  • Cody

    I disagree, trucks kill 8000 people
    in the US each year, most due to
    speeding trucks with 40 tons of
    weight. They usually kill from
    3 to 6 people, take out 3 or 4 cars
    and children are always involved.
    They should be strictly limited to
    60 mph and required to stay in left
    lane unless road is totally clear.
    I can’t understand why safty of the
    public isn’t more important than
    a tiny short term profit of speeding
    truckers (usually with no sleep)
    Money is king in the USA for now.
    It is not the truckers right to drive
    as dangerous as he or she wants.

  • Don

    You have no clue !!! Most of us are very safety minded. But, just like in every profession out there the 5% give the rest of us a bad name. You try pulling a 40,000 lb. load up a steep grade, hill or mountain and see how far you get when you don’t get a good run at it. Most accidents are caused by people in cars (FACT, look it up!) Texting, talking on the phone, reading, my personal favorite putting on makeup, sex, driving way too fast for conditions. I could go on and on.

  • Jeff

    From what I can tell most people comment on what they have no clue about. I’m a driver have been for 14 years. Never had a crash even tho I’ve been brake checked on the by pass in Atlanta by a CAR who got pissed that I seen them in the next lane so waited to change lane after they passed.. Been damn near run off the road more times then I could even count. Due to People in CAR texting,reading,typing on lap tops,drinking and driving,doing the makeup,passing where it’s not safe even tho I’m doing over the speed limit!!driving to fast for road conditions. And so on!!!!

  • Jeff

    To Cody
    Get a life until you have been behind the wheel of a big rig. You don’t have a clue. The fuck ups drive CARS. 81% of wrecks between a truck and CAR are caused by the CAR. Get your facts straight. I believe that’s only 19% by trucks. Even tho it’s lower then that due to other factors.