Yesterday’s ruling by an Ontario Justice of the Peace who tossed out a ticket under the province’s speed limiter legislation does not change the enforcement of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) law whatsoever, according to the Ontario Trucking Association, adding that the organization is “not at all concerned” with the decision.
“People challenge traffic tickets every day and sometimes they win,” said OTA president David Bradley. “It means nothing; the law stands.”
According to a statement by the Missouri-based Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the group funded a driver’s challenge of the law in a Welland, Ont. court. The Justice of the Peace sided with the driver and, according to reports, he interpreted the rule to be at odds with the Charter of Rights.
“Contrary to some reports, the lower court ruling isn’t binding and the law hasn’t been struck down; nor does it require any amendments to the HTA legislation,” the OTA said in a release.
Bob Nichols, spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, told TruckNews.com that while the group would not comment on the specifics of the case, he noted that, “This case doesn’t change the law, and we’ll continue to enforce the law.”
Nichols said that the positive safety benefits that speed limiters have had since they were first introduced has been considerable.
“When we introduced speed limiters for trucks in 2009, we saw an immediate 24% drop in fatalities involving trucks. We’re committed to road safety. Ontario has the safest roads in North America,” he said, adding that the MTO would continue to work with its partners in the industry, like the OTA.
Over 8 in 10 truck operators are in compliance with the rule, says the OTA, however, those found in violation will remain subject to the speed limiting system requirements under the Act and will continue to be charged with the applicable offence(s).
“It’s ironic that news of the ruling comes days after the latest Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (ORSAR) stated that truck speed limiter legislation has helped make Ontario the safest jurisdiction in North America by reducing the province’s total road fatality rate to its lowest level in nearly 70 years,” says Bradley.
The report found that in 2009, large truck fatalities dropped by 24% year-over-year, despite a 59% increase in the number of large trucks registered in the province.
“This proves that the assertions of the US-based critics who bankrolled this challenge are absolutely baseless,” said Bradley. “In fact, truck safety has never been better since the speed limiter law took effect.”
“Safety is without question the number one priority of the trucking industry and the speed limiter law is certainly having an impact on reducing crash rates of both trucks and cars and helping truck drivers as a class continue to be the safest drivers on the road.”