Speed limiters on trucks declared unconstitutional by Ontario court

July 12, 2012

Requiring trucks to be equipped with speed limiters jeopardizes the safety of truck drivers and those near them on the road, an Ontario court said Wednesday in declaring the law unconstitutional.

Truck driver Gene Michaud was charged under the Highway Traffic Act with not having a working speed limiter and he challenged the requirement on commercial vehicles, saying the speed limit of 105 kilometres per hour puts him in danger.

A justice of the peace in Welland, Ont., agreed, and declared that the law violates the section of the Charter that guarantees life, liberty and security of the person.

“Inability to accelerate, or not accelerate fully places a driver in a less-than-safe situation because we have taken some of the tools required to drive properly away from the driver,” justice of the peace Brett Kelly found.

“Mr. Michaud needs to be able to take certain precautions in the execution of his job that will take him out of harm’s way and keep him and those around him safe.”

Because the challenge happened at the provincial court level the law is not struck down across the province, but Michaud’s lawyer said he intends to fight similar cases using this decision.

“I would hope that the government sees what’s real in this case and that is the fact that these speed limiters don’t promote safety but rather discourage it,” lawyer David Crocker said in an interview.

“I hope the Ontario government realizes that the legislation, it doesn’t do what they want it to do and withdraws it.”

Michaud argued that not ever being able to drive faster than 105 kilometres per hour is unsafe because it means he is often not able to keep up with the flow of traffic.

The speed limit on the major highways in Ontario is 100 kilometres per hour, but Crocker said there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that people regularly drive 20 kilometres per hour over the speed limit.

“Particularly on the 400-series highways because the experts once again say people drive at the speed they are comfortable,” Crocker said.

An expert witness testified for Michaud that a greater difference in the rate of speed of vehicles on a highway will mean a greater number of collisions.

“In a nutshell, if all vehicles travelled at the same speed the amount of friction, and interaction between them, is minimized and the accident rate will be minimized,” Kelly wrote.

The ability to pass slower vehicles is hampered by the speed limiter, Michaud said, and it causes him to impede traffic when doing so. He also described a time when his vehicle began to jackknife and the only way to manoeuvre out of it was to accelerate.

The province argued that forcing vehicles to travel more slowly results in fewer fatalities and less severe collisions.

However, Kelly said, the government provided him no research papers to show the use of speed limiters has resulted in increased safety and a decrease in collision rates in jurisdictions that have implemented them.

Kelly also suggested the speed rate of 105 kilometres per hour was arbitrary, saying he could find nothing in the Hansard from when the legislation was introduced to scientifically support the number.

“When directly asked by this court how the government arrived at the 105 kilometre-per-hour number the answer was that they did not know,” Kelly said of the government lawyers.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General said the province is reviewing the decision. They would have 30 days to appeal.

The Canadian Press

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If you don't ask - you don't get.... The Daily Rant

July 10, 2012

I always love reading the Daily Rant from prolific blogger Salena Lettera
This post in particular I like b/c it shows a lot about the attitude you need to take sometimes in trucking, to stay on top and not get taken advantage of!
http://www.salenalettera.com/2012/05/if-you-dont-ask-you-dont-get.html 

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Kelly Frey, CEO Introduction

July 10, 2012

Introduction to BigRoad

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FMCSA new rule - may tighten noose a little more on 'reincarnated' carriers

July 10, 2012

A new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule establishes procedures for issuing out-of-service orders to “reincarnated” motor carriers in order to ensure that carriers who have a proven history of unsafe operations are not able to evade regulation by simply forming a new company or obtaining new registration.

The rule establishes procedures that will provide for an administrative review of carriers that have a history of failing to comply with statutory or regulatory requirements before an out-of-service order takes effect and establishes a process for consolidating FMCSA records of reincarnated companies with their predecessor entities.
The rule is in response to the discovery by FMCSA that a number of motor carriers were submitting new applications for registration, often under a new name, in order to continue operating after having been placed out of service for safety-related reasons, to avoid paying civil penalties or to otherwise avoid a negative compliance history, FMCSA said.


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Mobile Apps improve truck driver's life on the BigRoad

July 10, 2012

The excitement over mobile-first apps is justified. Smartphones have unleashed a wave of creativity, resulting in entirely new categories of applications. But to me an even more exciting trend is what people have been calling (for lack of a better phrase) ”offline first, mobile enabled” apps.

For example, Foursquare is primarily about improving your offline experiences (meeting friends and finding new places to go). And it couldn’t exist without smartphones. The mobile app is just an enabler.
For trucking this means that manual compliance paperwork recording is replaced with automated, context aware functions designed to improve the driver's quality of life on the BigRoad, while also giving DOT inspectors and Dispatch the information they require in real time.

It seems natural that the first wave of mobile apps would be about improving core smartphone apps (e.g. photo apps) or porting apps from other devices (e.g. games). And there is probably a lot of interesting innovation remaining there. But the really massive opportunity is dreaming up new ways that the little computers loaded with sensors that we carry around with us everywhere can improve our real-world experiences.

read more on this topic from Chris Dixon's blog:

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Avoid the daily commute - it is costly and bad for your mental health

July 10, 2012

Improve pre-trip or on route driver planning by using navigation with real time traffic. Studies suggest that you may be better off stopping at a rest stop or truck stop to avoid rush hour, saving precious HOS driving hours, and get in/out quicker later on or early next day. This reduces operating costs and makes for happier drivers, with less stress.....

Click on the graphic to enlarge.


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CTA Core Values for Truck Drivers - Truck Driver Retention

July 10, 2012


Some good ideas from the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) regarding the driver shortage and driver retention issues facing the trucking industry. The CTA Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Driver Shortage States the Following:

● Truck drivers are our most important asset, the face of the industry -- to our customers and to the public … and they are deserving of respect.

● Truck drivers should have an improved ability to predict what their weekly pay is going to be; compensation packages need to be competitive with or better than alternative employment options and more transparent;

● Truck drivers should be paid for all the work that they do and earn enough to cover all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred while on the road for extended periods.

● (Drivers’) time at work should not be wasted -- at shipper/consignee premises, waiting for their trucks in the shop, or waiting for a response to a question of their carrier;

● (Drivers) should be able to rely on their carrier not to interfere with their personal time by (for example) calling them back to work early;

● Driver wellness should be a top priority for employers;

● A minimum standard of entry level, apprenticeship or apprenticeship-like truck driver training should be mandatory;

● Truck driving should be considered a skilled trade and be recognized as such by the various levels and branches of government, standards councils, etc., who certify such

http://www.ontruck.org/imispublic/Home/AM/ContentManagerNet/ContentDisplay.aspx?Section=Home&ContentID=10939

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EOBR Mandate may not stop because of Landry-Rahall Amendment

July 05, 2012

An attempt to legislate an end-run around the House and Senate agreement on a mandate for electronic onboard recorders(EOBRs)—also known as electronic logging devices-- appears to be much ado about nothing.

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