Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Speed limiters and economics: Looking for feedback

I would love to get some comments from Canadian folks (or people who regularly run into Ontario) about the closing of a transmission plant in Windsor, Ontario, by GM, and on the efforts of the Premiere and the Transportation Minister to implement speed limiters despite the recent job loss.

Speed limiters will have a direct correlation on the price of goods in Ontario. Who can afford this? Speed limiters will economically disadvantage Ontario trucks and put small-business truckers out of work. Why is this legislation being pursued particularly at this time? I would love to hear some thoughts and feedback from drivers.

You can read an article by The Globe and Mail about the closing here.

You can send me an e-mail with your thoughts here, or post a comment on this blog.

You’re on your own

I passed a fatal truck accident on my way home from work yesterday.

And, like more than 60 percent of the accidents in which truckers die, it was a one-vehicle wreck.

It happened just east of Kansas City on the exit ramp that westbound I-70 traffic takes to get onto southbound I-435.

The exit is the old-fashioned tight circle type – as close to a hairpin curve as any I’ve ever seen on an interstate.

Once you’re on it, you see a yellow caution sign that depicts a tractor-trailer tipping over.

Trouble is, by the time you see the warning sign – positioned right where the exit curves sharply – it’s too late. You’re already into the hairpin.

As I drove past, emergency personnel in day-glo, lime green vests were crawling over the overturned Marten truck.

The cab was crushed and split open so that personal items were strewn about.

I learned later that the 27-year-old driver was from Brooklyn Park, MN, and that police think a load shift may have caused the wreck.

In my opinion, the poorly designed exit ramp and the lack of adequate signage may have caused the wreck.

Witnesses say the trucker was not speeding.

Being young and from Minnesota, the trucker may not have been familiar with the dangerous exit.

Besides being sad, it also seems unfair.

Unfair that a hazard well known to Kansas Citians, but unfamiliar to many out-of-towners can claim a life.

But it’s a reminder that whether it’s a dangerous exit in Missouri, a snow storm in Washington, a steep grade in the Rockies or smoke and fog on a Florida highway, truckers are expected to deal with it.

In the end – after all the safety regulations and law enforcement – truckers are on their own.