Ministry eyes increase for speed limits on B.C. highways
CTV British Columbia
Published Wednesday, September 4, 2013 4:26PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 4, 2013 7:59PM PDT
Speed limits on B.C. highways are long overdue for a review and could see an increase based on current research, the province’s new transportation minister says.
It’s been more than a decade since the government last reviewed current speed limits, Todd Stone said Thursday.
“One of the things I think you have an obligation to do as a new minister is to take a look at everything your ministry is responsible for and challenge the status quo,” he said.
About 85 per cent of British Columbians routinely travel 10 kilometres above the speed limit, but it’s actually the drivers going the speed limit who are at risk – especially on highways, according to Stone.
“The person travelling 10 kilometres below is arguably of greater harm to him or herself and others travelling on that corridor,” he said.
Stone has instructed his staff to review the limits, as well as the policies behind setting speed limits, with a goal of producing a list of recommendations by next spring.
“What we would like to do is get out there, have a conversation with British Columbians and take a hard look at the data,” he said.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark supported the move, saying she’s received plenty of feedback that many of the province’s routes are too slow.
“I can tell you as a representative from the Okanagan there are a lot of people who say we don’t have the speed limits right,” she said at an event Wednesday. “I think it’s appropriate that we go and we make sure that the speed limits are right all across this province.”
Ian Tootill, co-founder of Sense B.C., an organization that advocates “sensible road safety laws and enforcement,” said an increase in speed limits wouldn’t automatically mean drivers would then go even faster on highways.
“It’s a fallacy that many people hold on to, that when you set a posted limit people will always exceed it. It doesn’t work like that. It’s been proven false time and time again,” he said.
Tootill said there is a safe travel speed that drivers naturally gravitate toward, and most B.C. highways are below that limit.
By raising the speed limit, law enforcement can then “focus on the people that are really exceeding the speed limit and causing the problems, and then I think we’ll all be happy,” he said.
“We have some of the best cars, the best roads, and people in British Columbia are no dumber than anywhere else, they can handle it.”]
Have your say: Should the government up the speed limit on B.C. highways?
With a report from CTV British Columbia's St. John Alexander