Speed Lim­iters Im­prove Truck High­way Safety in On­tario

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Speed-re­lated, at­fault col­li­sions in­volv­ing large com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles fell by a whop­ping 73 per­cent af­ter manda­tory speed lim­iter leg­is­la­tion took ef­fect in On­tario, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study by the On­tario Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion. The drop in truck col­li­sions was sig­nif­i­cantly greater than the de­crease found in other ve­hi­cle driv­ers (30%).

De­spite skep­tics’ in­sis­tence be­fore the rule took ef­fect that slow­ing down large trucks would in­ad­ver­tently lead to more col­li­sions with pas­sen­ger cars and other ve­hi­cles, the study con­cluded there is ab­so­lutely no ev­i­dence speed lim­iters have con­trib­uted to an in­crease in truck driv­ers in­volved in other types of col­li­sions post-2009, in­clud­ing rear-end crashes.

More­over, the study also dis­pelled the myth that in a speed lim­iter en­vi­ron­ment, driv­ers ad­just their driv­ing be­hav­iour to com­pen­sate for any per­ceived time lost as a re­sult of driv­ing slower.

The year-long study con­ducted be­tween 20142015 ex­am­ined data from pre- (2006-2008) and post(2010-2012) speed lim­iter leg­is­la­tion by us­ing fatal, in­jury and po­lice re­ported prop­erty dam­age col­li­sions on high-speed high­ways. It also looked at MTO en­force­ment of­fi­cers’ large ve­hi­cle driver speed data, among other real-world data.

The On­tario Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, a strong pro­po­nent of manda­tory speed lim­iters, worked closely with the On­tario gov­ern­ment at the time to get the rule en­acted.

Ad­di­tional high­lights from the study in­clude: • Driv­ers of large trucks pro­duced fewer at-fault speed col­li­sions rel­a­tive to all at-fault driver ac­tions, post 2009; • No ev­i­dence to in­di­cate worse col­li­sion out­comes for large truck driv­ers post 2009; • The per­cent­age of truck driv­ers struck in the rear (of all col­li­sions), stayed the same from pre- to post leg­is­la­tion (10.03 % of to­tal col­li­sions 2006-2008 and 10.47% 2010-2012) while the rate in­creased for other driv­ers (18.6% 20062008; and 21.3% 20102012). Go­ing for­ward, the study sug­gests some rec­om­men­da­tions to raise com­pli­ance and re­al­ize the full ben­e­fits of the speed lim­iters, in­clud­ing in­creased en­force­ment and en­hanc­ing the elec­tronic con­trol mod­ule (ECM) tech­nol­ogy read­ers avail­able to en­force­ment to scan and dis­play a wider ar­ray of engine pa­ram­e­ters.

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