Increased speed limits were posted on rural highways in southern B.C. in November 2014.

Crash rates up in some increased speed zones

Traffic data show average speed decreased in some places, and more crashes happened all over the province

Results are mixed from the first year after the B.C. government raised speed limits on 33 sections of rural highway, with average traffic speed and serious collisions up in seven sections.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone released traffic and accident analysis of the first year of operation Tuesday, saying more data are needed to understand the changes in traffic behaviour and accidents. Increased speed limits will continue in most areas, including on the Coquihalla, Okanagan Connector and between Parksville and Campbell River where B.C.’s first 120 km/h speed limits are in place.

Stone cited the Coquihalla as an example of different factors at play. Between Hope and Kamloops, where the limit went from 110 km/h to 120 in November 2014, the crash rate remains at the lowest rate in the past 10 years.

Speed limits are being lowered on two sections of highway, where engineers have determined other safety measures such as passing lanes or rumble strips aren’t likely to be successful. Those are Highway 1 from Hope to Boston Bar, rolled back from 100 to 90 km/h, and Highway 5A from Aspen Grove to Princeton, being lowered from 90 to 80 km/h.

Increased speed limits remain in place on the Sea to Sky Highway from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish (80 to 90 km/h), and Revelstoke to Golden (90 to 100 km/h).

Raw data from the ministry show spikes in accidents on certain days, such as when there is heavy snow on the Coquihalla or the Fraser Canyon. In some places, like Highway 99 north of Whistler, average traffic speed actually fell after the posted speed limit was increased.

Ministry data show a long-term decline in serious crashes across provincial highways over the past decade, but a nine per cent increase in the 2014-15 year that was studied. That increase shows up whether speed limits were changed or not, and has also been reflected in increasing ICBC rates.

Stone noted that while highway and vehicle safety improvements have declined around North America in recent decades, B.C. has seen the same jump in accidents. Contributing factors include driver inattentiveness and driving too fast for weather conditions.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WATCH: Yale firefighters fight late night cabin fire in Spuzzum

Neighbours started fighting fire until crews arrived an hour later

Chilliwack youth planning solidarity march against racism

Organizer hoping to ‘create a type of a energy in the city that we will not be silent about racism’

Fraser River freshet peak is coming soon

Predictions for 2020 by River Forecast Centre has the freshet peak at the Mission gauge for June 4-5

Virtual public hearing set for developer with plans to subdivide Willow Street lot

People can submit comments in advance, or call to be added to a speakers list, ahead of June 3rd hearing

Cyclist in his 50s victim of fatal crash near Hope Thursday

Police have ruled out speed, impairment as factors after a tractor-trailer struck a man in his 50s

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

VIDEO: Yarrow’s Corwin Drew in final four of Vancouver Whitecaps Academy skills competition

The soccer star is looking for community support to get him through the next round of online voting

Most Read