EDITORIAL: We’ll see if speed kills

It’s getting quicker to get around parts of British Columbia.

Earlier this month, the provincial government announced new, higher speed limits on 35 sections of rural highways, with more promised for later in the summer. In total, drivers will be able to put their gas foot down a little harder on 1,300 km of blacktop.

The Ministry of Transportation says serious crashes on provincial highways have decreased 28% since 2003. Cars are safer, drivers have more and better technology and education at their disposal. Enforcement is better.

While lead-footed drivers and owners of fast cars may celebrate the decision, not everyone is happy.

The RCMP officers who patrol many of those highways and attend to the carnage that sometimes results from excessive speeding don’t like the new limits. ICBC is worried about safety and vows to monitor those stretches of highway that have new limits to see if there’s an effect on crash rates and severity.

Truckers aren’t pleased with the new rules, either. The BC Trucking Association says it will direct drivers to stick to its current speed policies because the faster a fully loaded truck travels, the longer it takes to stop. Also, the faster a truck moves, the more fuel it consumes — and that money comes out of the pockets of truckers and, ultimately, consumers.

To alleviate safety concerns, the province has said it will adjust speed limits to weather conditions on some of those stretches of highway.

Too many drivers already treat speed limits as a suggestion, rather than law. Now, their threshold has just been raised.


– Burnaby NewsLeader (Black Press)



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