Speed Limiters
Canadian trucker presents ‘defense of necessity’ in speed-limiter case

By David Tanner, associate editor

OOIDA Member Lee Ingratta says he was only trying to protect his truck from damage when he asked a truck inspector to sign a damage waiver during an inspection in 2009. Ingratta was in court March 5 in defense of a citation for failing to comply with the Ontario law that requires speed limiters on heavy trucks.

Ingratta’s attorney David Crocker of Toronto says the goal of the defense was not to determine whether Ingratta refused to allow the officer to check for a working speed limiter, but to show that the one-truck owner was only looking out for his asset.

“We couldn’t argue that this wasn’t a refusal, because the appeals judge said it was,” Crocker said. “We argued what’s called a defense of necessity in Canadian law. That means that his actions are justified or that he has an excuse for his actions.”

As speed-limiter laws took effect in early 2009 in Ontario and Quebec, Ingratta began carrying with him a waiver that asked the province and the inspector to accept any damage caused by a computerized inspection of the speed-limiter setting.

Crocker questioned Ingratta, a former computer technician turned trucker, why he would be concerned about such an inspection.

“He stated that he had a concern about static electricity and that the inspector was not grounded,” Crocker said.

A technician from Cummins testified that he had seen damage resulting from speed inspections. Also taking the stand was OOIDA Member Gene Michaud who said he had a truck catch fire some time after a speed-limiter inspection.

Michaud continues to fight a separate court case that challenges the constitutionality of the Ontario speed-limiter law. Crocker is handling both cases.

A typical fine in Ontario is $390 for not having a working speed limiter that is set at or below 105 kilometers per hour, or about 65 mph.

Ingratta had beaten his initial ticket in court in 2010. The latest action dealt with the Ministry of Transportations appeal. The judge announced he would have a decision on July 20.

The judge in Michaud’s constitutional challenge should have a decision in that case by June 6. LL