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RADIA: Current speed limits are fine
Last week, Transport Minister Todd Stone finished his two-month province wide consultation into the safety and speed limits of rural roads in British Columbia.
While he didn’t come out and say it, it appears that the province is eying speed limit increases.
“Vehicle safety technology has advanced significantly in the past few years and many B.C. highways have undergone safety improvements,” notes a section on the ministry’s website.
“Reviewing speed limits will help ensure everyone travelling B.C.’s highways can do so as safely and efficiently as possible.”
Certainly, cars and trucks are safer than they were 20, 10, even five years ago.
But the old adage holds true: speed kills whether it’s on rural roads, highways or on city streets.
In 2012, Toronto’s chief medical officer penned a report urging lawmakers to actually lower speed limits by 10 to 20 kilometres per hour on city streets.
He cited one study which suggested a “greatly increased probability of death or serious injury when hit by a vehicle travelling 50 km/h compared with 40 km/h.”
“Less than 5% of pedestrians are likely to die as a result of a collision when it occurs at speeds below 30 km/h,” notes his report.
“This rate rises to about 25% at 40 km/h and about 85% at speeds of 50 km/h.”
So no, we don’t want to raise the limits on our local streets in the Tri-Cities like Austin Avenue, on Como Lake Avenue or on Shaughnessy Street.
There’s also evidence that our speed limits on our highways and freeways are sufficient as well.
According to ICBC statistics, speed — which includes driving too fast for conditions — is the top contributing factor for fatal crashes in province.
Moreover, as suggested in a 2003 study by the ministry, the vast majority of drivers already drive above the posted speed limits.
So, if we raise limits, it stands to reason that people will drive even faster and less safely.
Speed limits are fine the way they are.
If Minister Stone really wants to talk about safety — and this consultation isn’t just more politicking — let’s bring back photo radar which has been proven to lower the number of accidents.