If you’re a law-abiding motorist, it’s soon going to take you a few extra minutes to travel to the coast.
The provincial government says it is lowering speed limits on 15 sections of highway in the province to “keep people safer and reduce the chance of speed-related collisions.”
One of those sections is a portion of Hwy. 3 between Princeton and Sunday Summit, just outside Manning Provincial Park. The speed limit there will be decreased to 80 km/h from 90.
Elsewhere in the Okanagan, the Hwy. 97C connector will see two reductions, between Merritt and Aspen Grove (from 110 km/h to 100 km/h) and Aspen Grove to Peachland (120 km/h to 110 km/h).
“We know people want to get where they’re going quickly. Our job is to help make sure they also get there safely,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“Since the former government raised speed limits in 2014, serious crashes have been on the rise. By rolling back speed limits slightly, our goal is to reduce accidents, keep roads open and protect the lives of British Columbians.”
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said it has “thoroughly reviewed three years’ worth of data on 33 segments and 1,300 kilometres of highway where speed limits were increased as part of the 2014 Rural Safety and Speed Review.”
As a result, 15 sections of highway, totalling 570 kilometres, will have speed limits rolled back by 10 km/h.
The collected data shows the 22-km undivided section between Princeton and Sunday Summit was the scene of 20 collisions between 2015 and 2017. A quarter of those collisions involved wild animals with inattentive drivers responsible for 17 percent of collisions.
None were fatal.
Remaining routes in the province —including the Coquihalla where variable speed limits are in operation — did not show higher accident rates and the speed limits will remain the same.
Ministry staff considered all contributing factors in serious highway collisions. This includes speed, distracted driving, wildlife, changing weather and people driving too fast for conditions.
“The BC Trucking Association is very supportive of the government’s decision to roll back speed limits on selected highway segments,” said Dave Earle, president and CEO of the association.
“The stopping distance for heavy commercial vehicles increases at higher speeds, as does the force of impact, so safety measures that help reduce these risks for both commercial and passenger vehicle drivers are important.”
On all corridors where collisions increased, the RCMP will be boosting its enforcement to make sure people are respecting posted speed limits and driving safely.
When police attend a collision site, they gather data on the collision type as well as the factors that contributed to the crash.
The top three contributing factors for serious collisions for all highways with speed limit changes, as well as all numbered highways in British Columbia, continue to be driver inattentiveness, road conditions, and driving too fast for conditions.
Speed limits will be rolled back by 10 km/h on 13 other highway corridors. They include:
- Highway 1: Cowichan Bay to Nanaimo – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
- Highway 1: Whatcom Road to Hope – 110 km/h to 100 km/h
- Highway 1: Boston Bar to Jackass Mountain – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
- Highway 1: Tobiano to Savona – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
- Highway 1: Chase to Sorrento – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
- Highway 3: Sunday Summit to Princeton – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
- Highway 7: Agassiz to Hope – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
- Highway 19: Parksville to Campbell River – 120 km/h to 110 km/h
- Highway 19: Bloedel to Sayward – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
- Highway 97A: Grindrod to Sicamous – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
- Highway 97C: Merritt to Aspen Grove – 110 km/h to 100 km/h
- Highway 97C: Aspen Grove to Peachland – 120 km/h to 110 km/h
- Highway 99: Horseshoe Bay to Squamish – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
- Highway 99: Squamish to Whistler – 100 km/h to 90 km/h
- Highway 99: Whistler to Pemberton – 90 km/h to 80 km/h