News / Vancouver

New speed limits: B.C. drivers living life in the faster lane

Drivers in British Columbia have been given the green light to hit the gas pedal a tad harder.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone rolled out the results of the province’s Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review on Wednesday, increasing the speed limit on 35 sections of highway covering 1,300 kilometres, among other changes.

That means stretches such as the Coquihalla from Othello Road near Hope to the Highway 1 junction near Kamloops now permit drivers to travel at a maximum speed of 120 km/h (up from 110).

New speed limits are also in effect along stretches of the Fraser Valley, Sea to Sky Highway, and parts of Vancouver Island and the Southern Interior.

Targeted enforcement, driver education, improved vehicle technology and stiffer penalties have all contributed to a 28 per cent decrease of serious crashing on highways since 2003, according to government.

“The actions we’re taking were the subject of a thorough technical review by our engineers, and the ministry is committed to ongoing monitoring and evaluation of speed limits and other highway safety measures,” Stone said in a statement.

In addition to increased speed limits, the government is modernizing winter tire regulations, increasing “keep right except to pass” enforcement and signage, and implementing new pilot projects aimed at preventing collisions with wildlife at high-risk areas.

The RCMP released a statement following the announcement saying it will “continue to concentrate our enforcement efforts in the area of reducing the number of people killed or injured on our roadways.”

It seems not everyone will be taking advantage of the need speed limits.

The B.C. Trucking Association believes most trucking companies will stick to the status quo.

“When we surveyed our truck and motor coach members regarding this speed review, the indicated there was no appetite for high speed limits,” said BCTA president Louise Yako.

Safety and cost (a heavy commercial vehicle travelling at 120 km/h can consume up to 39 per cent more fuel than if it were travelling at 90 km/h, BCTA says) were cited as the main reasons why.

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