BC Government announces speed limit decrease for stretches of highways

Sahil Morar / November 6, 2018

The study links speed limit increases to increases in crashes.
(Garrett / Flickr)

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena announced that 15 high-risk stretches of highways will be scaling back speed limits. The decision came after a UBC study showed a direct correlation between the speed limit increases along those stretches in 2014 to a steady increase in crashes.

“One crash is too many, we need to do everything possible to keep our highways safe and open. We will be rolling back our speed limits in 15 highly affected areas by 10 kilometres an hour. As transportation minister, it’s my fundamental job to know that everyone wants to get around quickly, but also make sure they get around safely.” – Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

Rural highway crashes have doubled since speed limits increased in recent years. Speed limits were increased by 10 and 20 kilometers in July 2014. Overall, in 2012 and 2013, 540,000 crashes were reported to ICBC with 496 of those crashes being fatal. With the speed limit increases, each year brought a steady 20,000 crash increase.

According to the UBC study conducted by Jeff Brubacher and his colleagues, “North American speed limits have traditionally been set according to the 85th percentile speed of vehicles in “free flowing traffic”. The rationale is that this speed is considered safe by most drivers and extensive enforcement will be not required, since most drivers “naturally” travel at or below this speed.”

The new speed limits are in effect immediately with the hopes of seeing speed-related road accidents decrease in those areas.

With files from Catherine Garrett.