Like their neighbors to the south, Canadian truckers are split over a proposal to limit speeds for heavy trucks. In March, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) proposed that trucks moving on Canada's highways be restricted to 65 miles per hour. In its proposal, the CTA calls for the mandatory use of "speed limiters," which are microchips that let companies pre-set a truck engine's top speed. (Virtually all trucks built in the last decade come equipped with this technology.) The group argues that speed restrictions would conserve fuel, reduce pollution and boost safety.
Others aren't so sure. The nation's owner-operators contend that limiting truck speeds would make roadways more, not less, dangerous. In their view, anything that creates a speed differential between trucks and smaller vehicles increases the potential for accidents.
If all this sounds familiar, it's because truckers are engaged in the same debate in the United States. In mid-February, the American Trucking Associations proposed limiting speeds for big rigs to 68 mph in the interest of safety. That proposal was immediately challenged by the Owner- Operators Independent Drivers Association as misguided.
Meanwhile, U.S. truckers are keeping an eye on developments in the Great White North. Should the CTA prevail, the limit would apply not only to Canadian heavy trucks, but also to U.S. trucks that cross over into Canada.