RESEARCH - Raising Rural Speeds Also Raised Collision Numbers

120 kmh speed signSome sections of rural highways in British Columbia saw an increase in the posted speed limit in 2014 following a provincial government review which included a poll of the population. Within two years some of these increases were rolled back due to rising collision rates. Today a research report released by academics from the University of British Columbia evaluates the effect that the initial speed increases have had since they were implemented.

From the document's abstract:

Control of vehicle speed is a central tenet of the safe systems approach to road safety.

Most research shows that raising speed limits results in more injuries. Advocates of higher speed limits argue that this conclusion is based on older research, that traffic fatalities are decreasing despite higher speed limits, and that modern vehicles are able to safely travel at higher speeds. These arguments were used to justify raising speed limits on rural highways in British Columbia, Canada (July 2014).

We used an interrupted time series approach to evaluate the impact of these speed limit increases on fatal crashes, auto-insurance claims, and ambulance dispatches for road trauma.

Events were mapped to affected road segments (with increased speed limits) and to nearby road segments (within 5 km of an affected segment). Separate linear regression models were fitted for each outcome and road segment group. Models included gasoline sales to account for changes in vehicle travel.

Our main findings were significant increases in

(i) total insurance claims (43.0%; 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 16.0–76.4%),

(ii) injury claims (30.0%; 95% CI = 9.5–54.2%), and

(iii) fatal crashes (118.0; 95% CI = 10.9–225.1%) on affected road segments.

Nearby segments had a 25.7% increase in insurance claims (95% CI = 16.1–36.1%).

Reference Links:


Speed Monger Advocates

I’ve always opposed the raising of speed limits, I truly believe - speed kills.  Now the new “norm” is being over the new limits by another 10|20 kms so those speed mongers can justify their excessiveness. It’s not uncommon to witness 140+ on the Coq.  Drivers who speed are out of their ability and expertise to be driving at these high rates of speed and belong on the race track, not the streets.  We seem to have an out-of-control issue with enforcing the past and current speed rates, so raising them has solved nothing but to appease the out of control speeders.  Same principle applies with the travelling/passing lane rules, it’s the same speed mongers who plug up the passing lane and just sit there because it’s either beneath them to be in the “travelling” lane or their mindset is that they will pass everyone anyway, so they remain in the passing lane, ALL traveling over the limit!  I think our trafficking and policing traffic is largely non-existent and hence the abundance of driver infractions.

They proved nothing!

All they did was present the data and made a spurious claim that since one followed after the other, it was caused by the preceeding. Logical fallacy "post ergo proper hoc".

Heres an actual snapshot of speeds on Coq:

2004 - 123 km/h 85%, 108 km/h avg
2005 - 123 km/h 85%, 110 km/h avg
2006 - Missing
2007 - 122 km/h 85%, 111 km/h avg
2008 - 122 km/h 85%, 127 km/h avg [sic] (must be an error)
2009 - 123 km/h 85%, 110 km/h avg
2010 - 123 km/h 85%, 110 km/h avg
2011 - 122 km/h 85%, 110 km/h avg
2012 - 123 km/h 85%, 110 km/h avg
2013 - Missing
2014 - Missing
— speed limit raised —
2015 - 124 km/h 85%, 109 km/h avg
2016 - 124 km/h 85%, 109 km/h avg
2017 - 118 km/h 85%, 105 km/h avg

Average speeds actually went down after the change due to abnormal winters. Raising the speed limits in 2014 came with zero real-world effect - because thats the speed most everyone was driving since 2004!!!
How can they claim that raising the speed limits raised the collision numbers when the real-world travel speeds stayed the same or went down?

We've had 2 doozie winters in the past 2 years: 2016-2017 & 2017-2018. We haven't had a winter like that in decades!
Its unfortunate that the tough winters came right after the raised limits, if they didn't these guys wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
I'm expecting the same lower number for 85% and avg speeds and the higher number of fatalities on Coq for the end of 2018 - because the weather was almost as bad as in 2017.

Yeah, weather exists, big whoop!

P.S. Heres an actual Study about submitting completely absurd made-up "Studies" and getting them accepted, lauded and awarded in leading scientific journals:

I'm confused

Tim, both of the links point to threads from either 2014 of 2016.

It would be good to have a link to the actual stats now, to see all of the results from the raised limits; which rural roads were affected?

Meanwhile, I very much doubt that Highway 5 or Highway 19 will show an increase in crashes.


You have the most up to date information that I am able to provide.

There may be references in the report that can lead you to a source.

Raised Speed Limits

From my experience living in the Peace Country of Northern BC, it would appear that it doesn't matter what the posted speed limit is, it seems to be an "unwritten" law that "thou shalt goest at least 10 kms OVER the posted speed limit"  It also seems to apply to Alberta, on Highway 2, from Dawson Creek BC to Grande Prairie AB.  From Beaverlodge to Grande Prairie AB,  it's four-laned, and the posted limit is 110 kph, and keeping to that, we still have people passing us like we were "tied to a telephone pole"!

Same old Same old

I'm with Outrageous.

My cruising speed is 120 no matter where I am if it is on rural roads. Contrary to what some folks like to say I found when they raised the Coq to 120 the majority of drivers followed the speed limits.

One of the problems with setting speeds to what 85% drive at is when the speeds is artificially low most drivers will go 10 KPH over posted until they hit the speed they feel comfortable with. Once that speed has been reached the clear majority travel at the posted limit. Apparently on the Coq 120 is the correct speed.

Read what Outrageous submitted, kind of kills the argument of some people.

How many watched the video of the bus being forced off the road outside of Revelstoke. The comment by the cop is a typical case of catering to the lowest common denominator of intelligence when it comes to driving. Typical false information but being a typical cop that does not have enough common sense to get out there and put an end to poor driving practices cater to those that feel all problems are caused by speeders. This incident had nothing to do with speeding. It was a failure of a driver to keep his vehicle on the correct side of the road.

As I have pointed out before do a little research on the speed limit in countries that have lower accident rates than Canada and many have higher speed limits. If we want to reduce the accident rates please for a change start looking for something other than speeding. Maybe driving in the wrong lane, failure to have operational DRL. Of course these will never be enforced as cops are constantly in the left lane when they should be in the right and many have turned off their DRL.


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