In June 2008 Ontario law went into effect requiring most commercial motor vehicles to be equipped with a speed limiting device to limit speed to a maximum of 105 km/h. This change to Ontario law was met with mixed reactions from various stakeholders such as transport truck drivers, transport truck company owners, and regular drivers of Ontario roadways.
There could certainly be pressures placed on transport truck drivers to exceed the posted speed limits by company owners who in turn could be pressured by clients under time constraints for their deliveries. Ultimately legal, insurance, and financial penalties would be held against drivers and their companies in trying to meet the demands of an ever increasing ‘just in time’ manufacturing and supply industry. Road safety concerns both for the drivers of commercial motor vehicles and the drivers of the other vehicles around them have also been a part of this ongoing discussion.
It is an important side note to be aware of the consequences to commercial motor vehicle drivers and company owners in regards to speeding convictions. For regular demerit points, penalties are applied as follows based on how fast the driver is over the posted speed limit:
- +1 to +15 km/h — 0 Demerit Points
- +16 to +29 km/h — 3 Demerit Points
- +30 to +49 km/h — 4 Demerit Points
- +50 or higher km/h — 6 Demerit Points
However, CVOR point penalties escalate at a much faster rate:
- +1 to +10 km/h — 2 CVOR Points
- +11 to +20 km/h — 3 CVOR Points
- +21 of higher km/h — 5 CVOR Points
The maximum CVOR point penalty is applied beginning at a rate of 21 km/h over the posted speed limit, whereas the maximum demerit point penalty is not reached until a rate of 50 km/h or greater over the posted speed limit. To give some context, a 5 CVOR point penalty is the same penalty applied for serious offences such as Careless Driving, Fail To Remain, Fail To Stop For School Bus, or Stunt Driving. A conviction for a 5 CVOR point offence can be prohibitive to either retaining or gaining employment in the Ontario transportation industry.
For those curious about the actual content of Highway Traffic Act section 68.1that governs the use of speed limiting devices for commercial motor vehicles:
Required use by commercial motor vehicles
68.1 (1) No person shall drive, or permit the operation of, a commercial motor vehicle on a highway unless the vehicle is equipped with a speed-limiting system that is activated and functioning in accordance with the regulations. 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
(2) Except as authorized by the regulations, no person shall,
(a) deactivate, or permit a person to deactivate, a commercial motor vehicle’s speed-limiting system; or
(b) modify, or permit a person to modify, a commercial motor vehicle’s speed-limiting system such that it ceases to function in accordance with the regulations. 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
Tampering device prohibited
(3) No person shall drive, or permit the operation of, a commercial motor vehicle on a highway if the vehicle is equipped with, has attached to it or carries,
(a) a prescribed device or prescribed equipment; or
(b) another device or equipment that is designed to disguise the fact that the vehicle is not equipped with a speed-limiting system that is activated and functioning in accordance with the regulations. 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
(4) A police officer or officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of this Act, in exercising his or her powers under section 82 or 216.1, may require that the driver or other person in charge of a commercial motor vehicle,
(a) provide the officer with access to the vehicle’s computer system in order to retrieve and read any information relevant to the activation and functioning of the vehicle’s speed-limiting system;
(b) surrender to the officer any device or equipment carried in the vehicle that operates as part of the vehicle’s speed-limiting system; and
(c) surrender to the officer any records that the driver is required by the regulations to carry with him or her while driving the vehicle. 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
(5) A driver or other person in charge of a commercial motor vehicle shall comply with any requirement made under subsection (4) by a police officer or officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of this Act. 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
Seizure of tampering device
(6) If a police officer or officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of this Act finds a device or equipment prohibited by subsection (3) in the course of any inspection of a commercial motor vehicle, he or she may detach, if necessary, and seize any such device or equipment. 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
Sale of tampering devices prohibited
(7) No person shall sell, offer or advertise for sale a device or equipment prohibited by subsection (3). 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
(8) Every person who contravenes or fails to comply with subsection (1), (2), (3), (5) or (7), or a regulation made under this section, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $250 and not more than $20,000. 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
(9) In any proceeding under this section and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that a commercial motor vehicle was driven on a highway at a speed equal to or greater than the speed prescribed for the purpose of this subsection is proof that the vehicle was not equipped with a speed-limiting system that was activated and functioning as required by subsection (1). 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
Forfeiture of tampering device
(10) Where a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (3), any device or equipment seized under subsection (6) by means of which the offence was committed is forfeited to the Crown. 2008, c. 8, s. 1.
(11) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,
(a) Repealed: 2014, c. 9, Sched. 2, s. 25.
(b) prescribing standards for speed-limiting systems;
(c) governing the activation and functioning of speed-limiting systems, including prescribing and governing the speed at which speed-limiting systems must be set and prescribing different speed settings for different circumstances;
(d) prescribing devices and equipment for the purpose of clause (3) (a);
(e) governing methods to verify compliance with this section and the regulations, including prescribing devices and software to be used to retrieve and read information in computer systems;
(f) prescribing the speed for the purpose of subsection (9);
(g) requiring and governing the inspection and maintenance of speed-limiting systems;
(h) governing records to be kept and submitted in relation to the inspection, maintenance, activation and functioning of speed-limiting systems;
(i) governing records to be kept and carried by drivers in relation to the activation and functioning of speed-limiting systems;
(j) exempting any person or class of persons or any commercial motor vehicle or class of commercial motor vehicles from any requirement or provision of this section or of a regulation made under this section and prescribing conditions and circumstances for any such exemption. 2008, c. 8, s. 1; 2014, c. 9, Sched. 2, s. 25.”
The current set fine for the various sections of HTA s.68.1 is set to $310.00 (plus court costs and victim fine surcharge) for charges issued by way of a simple ticket. However, in charges issued by way of summons, the court can issue a fine up to $20,000.00 (plus court costs and victim fine surcharge).
Throughout the various subsections of HTA s.68.1 is the phrase “No person shall drive, or permit the operation of, a commercial motor vehicle.” This wording means that both the driver and/or the company employing the driver can be held accountable for failing to comply with those subsections. Employers who fail to undergo their due diligence in employee training and accountability may be held at least as liable for employees failing to meet the requirements of this HTA section.
Do You Need To Defend Yourself Against An Ontario Traffic Ticket?
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