Speed increase may have ulterior motive

The author proposes that a speed increase on BC's highways will only benefit the government.

Dear Editor

As I drove to the coast last weekend, I noticed the increased speed limit between Hope and Abbottsford. I noticed the increased speed limit through Savona and up the Savona Hill on my last drive to Kamloops. I have also been informed that the speed limit on the Coq has been increased.

I must confess that I have always driven a bit over the posted speed and at times have paid the price for my decisions. It was my choice and I must accept responsibility for my actions.

My concern is two fold at this time. First and foremost I guess would be safety because I know that many share my impatience in trying to get from Point A to Point B as rapidly as possible, perhaps by driving just a few kilometres over the posted speed. With a posted speed on the Coquihala of 120 km/h and people stretching that to 130-159 km/h, will there not be an increased chance of major injury or fatality accidents, especially through the winter months? It has been my experience that often those travelling do not slow down to match the winter conditions, especially those driving AWD SUV’s. I have been one of them myself.

I find that the stretch between Hope and Abbottsford is becoming far more congested with urban sprawl, especially between Chilliwack and Abbottsford. The posted speed is now 110 km/h. I usually turn south at Sumas but have noticed much heavier traffic both east and west from Chilliwack in over the past few years. Time alone will determine whether or not my concerns have any valid foundation. I know that twice I have had tremendous slowdowns due to accidents in the Chilliwack area.

Secondly, we have all watched the price at the pump skyrocket over the past few years. Much of that price is in taxes on petroleum products, ie. Gasoline and diesel fuel. To the best of my understanding, the internal combustion engine becomes less efficient as you increase the speed, hence greater fuel consumption, and for those concerned about the environment as our government professes to be, more pollution. Based on the fact that I taught mechanics for almost three decades, I have some background as to what happens when engines turn at higher RPMs, friction between moving parts increases creating greater wear.

I sense a minor conflict of interest here. Public safety vs. Tax revenue. We often hear of concern by the government over rising fuel prices which are reflected in almost everything we purchase. Product must be transported from the point of production to the point of consumption and which are required vehicles burning fossil fuels. Approximately 31 per cent of the cost per liter of fuel is in taxes, both provincial and federal. As fuel cost and consumption rise, government revenues correspond.

If my theory on the higher speed creating more severe accidents is borne out then we will also incur a rise in the cost of insurance. In my humble estimation, this does not translate into sound fiscal management.

If is not my desire to deride or assess blame, just to express my concerns and perhaps increase awareness around this issue. It is certainly tempting to follow old habits and increase our speed as the government increases the legal speed limit and we will definitely increase our speeds as traffic flow is faster. As we do so, I guess that we do not have the right to complai much about the rising cost of living, because almost all cost of living rises are related to transportation. It is our responsibility to hold our government accountable for the decisions that they make that have a profound effect on our personal finances. Check the sticker price on items you purchase at the grocery, department or convenience store and note that the rise is in direct correlation with rusing fuel costs.

Mike Baldwin

Ashcroft

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