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.


Just Posted

Pedestrian airlifted to hospital after semi truck collision on Hwy. 97

RCMP say person sustained non-life threatening injuries

Flood risk assessment project now underway throughout entire Thompson River Watershed

The project, due to be completed in 2019, will identify hazards and high risk areas.

New TNRD bylaws address ‘dry cabins’ and cannabis sales

‘Dry cabins’ have been approved for parts of Loon Lake, while cannabis sales will be restricted.

MP hears about seniors’ needs at local town halls

Jati Sidhu was in local communities last week, meeting with constituents and hearing their comments.

Local News Briefs: Get ready for Paddington Bear

Plus a free business plan workshop, an Easter Egg hunt in Cache Creek, and more.

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. Scientists witness first-ever documented killer whale infanticide

“It’s horrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Okanagan Falls winery showing international photo project

Liquidity Wines will be sole Canadian show of National Geographic’s Photo Ark

Lawyer for one suspect in beating of man with autism says he’s not guilty

Ronjot Singh Dhami will turn himself in, lawyer said

Liberals awarded $100,000 contract to man at centre of Facebook data controversy

Christopher Wylie says his voter-profiling company collected private information from 50 million Facebook users

Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

Zuckerberg admits to privacy scandal involving a Trump-connected data-mining firm, but no apology

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Most Read