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Truck speed limiters unconstitutional, Ontario justice rules

06/08/2012 10:22 EDT | Updated 08/08/2012 05:12 EDT

An Ontario law that limits large trucks to a speed of 105 km/h is unconstitutional, a justice of the peace has ruled,

Truck driver Gene Michaud of St. Catharines, Ont., was charged with not having a working speed limiter. He argued in court the device compromised his safety.

In his ruling released Wednesday in Welland, Ont., Justice of the Peace Brett Kelly agreed. Some truckers do, too.

"Don't let the cars do 120, 125, 130 km/h and force us to do 105 km/h," said Ron Fryer outside the Husky truck stop in Windsor, Ont. "All the trucks are jamming and getting stuck together."

Trucker Tom Rock said speed limiters required in Ontario make driving in the United States most frustrating.

"They don't have to use limiters over there," he said. "They can run [100, 120, 130 kilometres] an hour, and if you're in the middle lane, you're just going to get run over," Rock said.

Trucking association disagrees with justice

Some other truckers, the government and the president of the Ontario Trucking Association feel differently.

Trucking association president David Bradley said limiters don't make highways or trucking more dangerous.

"The facts would suggest otherwise," he said.

This week, the province released the Ontario Road Safety annual report, which showed that when speed limiters for trucks were introduced in 2009, the number of people killed in collisions involving large trucks immediately fell 24 per cent from the year before.

Numbers aren't available for years after 2009.

"We have not seen the kinds of elephant races they were talking about," Bradley said of trucks driving side-by-side on highways. " I have a great admiration for truck drivers —they are some of the safest drivers on the road —but I can’t support what some of the drivers are saying."

"If we go over the limit, sometimes it's harder for a truck with a heavy load to stop than it is for a car," said trucker Noel Cabrera. "I don't mind my truck going 105 km/h."

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