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Ontario Courts Back Speed Limiter Rule

TORONTO, ON— Earlier this month, an Ontario Court of Justice reversed an earlier Justice of the Peace decision that Ontario’s speed limiter mandate was unconstitutional, the Ontario Trucking Association reports.

The speed limiter debate in Ontario was re-ignited in June of 2012 after Justice of the Peace Brett Kelly said that the province's law limiting large trucks to 105km/hr goes against the Charter that guarantees life, liberty and the security of the person. 

The Crown appealed that decision in mid-May and Justice Harris of the Ontario Court of Justice ruled that the Justice of the Peace made a mistake in concluding that there was a breach of the right of security.

Justice Harris also ruled the decision to enact the 105 km/h speed limiter requirement was not “arbitrary”. Instead, Harris agreed it was done by the government to achieve a reduction in truck emissions as well as increase road safety by reducing trucks speeds. He found the government’s evidence on the safety benefits of speed limiters to be clear.

$490 Ticket for Going 109km/hr

Driver Gene Michaud brought the court to case after getting a $490 ticket from a MTO enforcement officer for having his truck governed at 109km/hr instead of the required 105km/hr.

Funded by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), Michaud went to court and argued that the law put his life in danger.

“His ability to have full care and control of all aspects of the vehicle and therefore safety is impaired as opposed to improved, and the situations described by Mr. Michaud – while they may be at times examples of poor driver practice – they are directly and indirectly the result of the regulation,” wrote the Justice at the time. “Mr. Michaud has reason to be concerned for his security of person as he is being placed in a dangerous situation.”

That ruling was not enough to overturn the law, but raised question of the rule’s weight. The more recent ruling by Judge Harris undoes the previous ruling.

There is no right of appeal from Judge Harris’ decision, but a party can seek leave to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal by filing a motion within 30 days of the decision.

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