The provincial government is putting the brakes on the only stretch of highway on Vancouver Island where it is legal to go 120 kilometres per hour.
And similar safety-related speed reductions are coming to highways in Cowichan and the North Island as part of sweeping changes introduced this morning.
Included in the rollback — which is expected to be in effect by the end of the week — is the Inland Island Highway from Parksville to Campbell River (reduced to 110 km/h from 120), Highway 1, Cowichan Bay to Nanaimo (90 to 80) and Highway 19, Bloedel to Sayward (100 to 90).
“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 changes come after the Ministry of Transportation reviewed three years of data on 1,300 kilometres of highway where speed limits were increased as part of the 2014 Rural Safety and Speed Review. 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.
Speed limits on Highway 19 stretching from Campbell River to Bloedel (90 km/h) and Port McNeill to Port Hardy (100 km/h) showed no reduction in safety so speed limits will remain the same.
“Speeding has been one of the top three factors contributing to car crashes, especially in rural and remote areas of B.C.” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “Research has shown that reducing speed lowers the number of crashes and severity of injuries, so I am very supportive of the speed limit reductions announced today.”
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.
“BC RCMP Traffic Services members will be doing our part to enforce the reduced speed limits. Slowing down can significantly reduce the severity of a collision and the chance of drivers being severely injured or killed,” said RCMP Inspector Tim Walton, officer in charge, Island District Traffic Services.
All told, 15 sections of BC highway, totalling 570 kilometres, will have speed limits rolled back by 10 km/h.