Owner-operator Lee Ingratta was convicted with not permitting a test of his truck’s computer under the Ontario speed limiter legislation. This Ontario legislation requires all heavy trucks model year 1995 and newer to have a operating speed limiter set to the maximum speed of 105 km. Roadside inspectors routinely check for compliance by attaching a scanner to the truck’s computer. Ingratta refused to allow officers to attach the scanner to his engine until they first signed a waiver assuming responsibility in the event of damages to the engine. Ingratta claimed that such devices used by the MTO to check for compliance can transmit static charges to the trucks ECMs and even upload viruses. Others in the industry support this claim.
Ingratta claimed MTO scan can damage truck’s computer
The officer refused to sign the waiver and fined Ingratta for failing to submit to the compliance check, a violation under the Highway Traffic Act. Ingratta took the MTO to court and won as a traffic court judge agreed with Ingratta. The MTO appealed and won their case last month.
Gene Michaud wins his case against the MTO
Earlier this summer in another case the Ontario Speed Limiter Law was ruled unconstitutional and violated the Charter of Rights as Gene Michaud won his case against the MTO in a Welland Court. The government is appealing this ruling.
So where does that leave the Speed Limiter Law? According to the MTO still being enforced in the province of Ontario but as a motorist driving down Ontario highways I have to wonder about enforcement. Since the Michaud case in June of this year I am seeing more and more highway trucks exceeding the 105 km speed limit as set by the legislation. This despite higher fuel costs. Then again higher fuel costs don’t seem to be slowing down the average personal use vehicle either.
What now for the speed limiter law?
Supporters of the law point to recent safety data indicating a reduction of accidents since this law came into effect. What is not certain is the root cause of this reduction as several different factors must be considered. Accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles have be declining in all of North America not just in Ontario and Quebec, both of which have speed limiter laws. Critics of the law say it leaves the driver using a unsafe vehicle, a point which won the Michaud court case. Most comments regarding the law from average truck drivers indicate a waste of tax payers dollars creating and fighting for a law which in essence makes doing something illegal (speeding), illegal. Others want to know why if speed limiters really save lives why don’t all motor vehicles operating in the province have them?
As opponents and supports of speed limiters across North America look to Ontario’s recent court challenges one thing is for certain, this battle is not done yet.