NEWS - Speed Limit Increases Rolled Back

no speedingTransportation Minister Claire Trevena has announced the roll back of speed increases on 15 segments of highway that were raised in 2014. The new speed limits will be 10 km/h lower in the hope that the increase in crash rates seen after the previous change will return to what they were before.

I hate to sound cynical, but the Minister felt it necessary to attribute the problem to the previous government:

“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.”

It's always someone else's fault, right?

In addition to the change in speed limits, the crash mitigation actions taken will also include the use of dynamic information signs and enforcement by the police.

The corrections are hardly precedent setting but we wouldn't want the next government to be accusing us of going overboard, would we?

Is it important that drivers follow the speed limits? If that is truly the case, ICBC could supplement police and camera enforcement with telematics as some insurance companies are already doing in BC. Follow the rules and you get a discount, drive as the mood suits you and pay more.

Telematics may be coming to ICBC in the near future, at least to keep you from using your cell phone while driving.

Ah, the spectre of big brother looking over your shoulder when you drive. We might not like it, but current insurance premiums might suggest that there needs to be an incentive to improve our driving skills. This might be it.

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Comments

Slow Down Speed Mongers!

This is excellent news.  There is no need to speed.... slow down!

Things that I notice.

Out of the 33 road segments that they increased the speed limit on, the majority of them saw either no change or a reduction in crashes. That's a fact, and a sure indicator that an increase in the limit (along with stricter rules on staying in the right lane except when passing) may be the safest choice for the traffic engineers.

I recall when this subject was being discussed here four years ago, with certain individuals cursing Todd Stone and prophesying that there would be devastation on the Island Highway and the Coquihalla - and that simply hasn't been the case! And let's not forget that several contributors who were opposed to the increased speed on those highways were the same ones who were more than ready to camp out in the left lane, bunching up traffic; a sure recipe for a crash to occur.

Meanwhile, the fact (per the statistics in that report) is that the primary cause of collisions on our highways is driver distraction, this is shown over and over in the current report. That's definitely where the primary focus of the policing should be, if their intention is to reduce crashes. Not sitting beside the highway, waiting for the next speeder.

 

Follow 3 or more seconds behind

Per the Ministry the fact is that the speed limits are being reduced on 15 of the highways where crashes increased, and not reduced on 16 highways where crashes had not increased after the prior raise in limits. The evidence does not support the conclusion that an increase in the limits may be the safest choice.  Stating that "Bunching up traffic" is a sure recipe for a crash to occur is simplistic and points blame at the wrong party. This implies that anyone driving on a two-lane highway at the speed limit (or less if conditions are poor) with other vehicles "bunching up" behind is at fault for creating a situation which is a sure recipe for a crash. No, the bunchers up who are following too closely or overtaking dangerously are the ones creating the recipe for a crash.

1 + 1 = 2

Forgive me for being simplistic, but that's a fact.

The evidence does not support the conclusion that an increase in the limits may be the safest choice.  

I believe it does support this conclusion; after all, I certainly didn't say that it would be the safest choice. But some of the worlds highest speed freeways/motorways are statistically the safest.

The best known and effective defensive driving system - taught to Greyhound Bus drivers and RCMP alike - is the Smith System, and one of its basic tenets is that a collision cannot take place unless one or more objects tries to occupy the same space at the same time. But given sufficient space for the vehicle, and visibility for the driver, there will always be sufficient time to react.

This implies that anyone driving on a two-lane highway at the speed limit (or less if conditions are poor) with other vehicles "bunching up" behind is at fault for creating a situation which is a sure recipe for a crash.

Mouthing platitudes about how drivers shouldn't follow too closely in poor conditions - something that's absolutely true, but applies to any road anywhere any time - is intellectually dishonest, as that's not what this thread is about. 

But definitely, left-lane blockers are a significant cause of bunching on the highways in question. Disciplined drivers who are conscious of their effect on the traffic around them and behind them will proactively work to help everything flow smoothly, however, and should be commended for it.

Certainly, drivers should have sufficient following distance, and they should also have sufficient space around them where possible, and that's what defensive driving instruction has always promoted. But unfortunately, many drivers aren't properly taught or spacially aware; many have far too litle eye-lead time. We can blather on all day about how people 'should' drive but it's not going to fundamentally change anything. The cops do almost nothing about ticketing drivers for following too closely, failing to move over, or lane-change errors, and that's a fact as shown by the statistics available here.

So as simplistic as it may seem, creating conditions on the highway that reduce bunching up is absolutely the best way to go. 

They didn't go far and fast enough

3,000 people die on the road every day!!! That's well over a million people per year!!!

The speed limit was simply reversed to what it was prior, but it should have been lowered even more. It should have been made 80km/h on all the divided highways, 60km/h on all undivided highways, 30km/h on all city streets and 15km/h on all residential streets and with-in school zones. Intersection radar, averaging radar, and telematics should have been brought in and a media campaign rich with heartfelt and teary-eyed interviews of all the surviving victims of road carnage should be airing on every TV channel every day all at the same time!

Toothless regulation and half-measures.

Here is some statistics from

Here is some statistics from Finland:

https://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2012/ksyyt_2012_2013-12-30_kat_005_en.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limits_in_Finland

Then you may want to check out the accident rates by country at this site

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death...

Maybe just maybe some day we in B.C. will quit saying that speed is the major problem. Could it be that we just need to learn how to drive? Or stupider yet is actually knowing some of the other regulations in the MVA besides, speed, seatbelts, cell phone, and impaired?

Oh, and in Finland you have to drive with your lights on at all times. Wonder if that helps reduce accidents? I don't think so otherwise the cops would enforce DRL.

Some odd numbers, there.

I hadn't realized that stumbling in Finland was such a hazard, to be honest.

Oh, and in Finland you have to drive with your lights on at all times. Wonder if that helps reduce accidents? I don't think so otherwise the cops would enforce DRL.

But let's consider this issue that you've brought up so many times - including here, in a thread that's supposed to be about changes to highway speed limits in BC - and think about it objectively for a moment.

I'm 63, and fondly recall the days when everybody's vehicle had to undergo a mechanical inspection every year (twice as often for commercial vehicles) which ended in 1984 (some time afterward, air quality in the lower mainland became the big issue, and the hell with whether your brakes worked and your tires had tread on them). l'll be the first to acknowledge that enforcement of properly functioning lights clearly isn't high on the list of enforcement priorities, judging by all the vehicles out there with defective headlights, signals, brake lights, etc.

But putting things into perspective, DRL's (typically high beams powered at half the normal voltage) are, surely, a minor issue. Imagine being a cop, and seeing a car coming toward you with no lights showing, and no front license plate. Woah, you better jump on that offender, so you switch on the lights and pull a U-Turn (because you would only notice the car if it was heading towards you) and then when you pull them over it's some American tourist. Who doesn't require DRL's. Or a front license plate.

Regulations on headlights in Canada are a massive headache, for mechanical shops and police alike; a real challenge to ensure all is within specification. For the police, there have to be bigger fish to fry - or miscreants to monitor.

You've also complained about cop cars with disconnected DRL's. I have no problem with that, they often have considerable changes made to their lighting systems to use according to application; sometimes they prefer not to be seen, other times they want to be so damn obvious nobody could fail to notice them. Personally, I think that cop cars with laptops that are visible to the driver are a much bigger concern, from a safety standpoint; but we'll never see the statistics on how many crashes the police are involved in.

-----------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, going back to the topic under discussion, one thing that should be clear is that when the traffic engineers (or, even worse, local councils) set speed limits they don't always know what's safest and best. What the numbers show us is that for many years, the highway limits have been arbitrary and mistaken; and meanwhile, the police have been devoting huge resources to ticketing those who have the common sense to drive at a reasonable speed for conditions.

It's time for fundamental change in this whole structure of setting reasonable rules, and enforcing them in a reasonable manner. And nobody needs to have this pounded into their brains more than highway patrol officers, who almost never ticket drivers who follow too closely, or fail to signal, or in any other normal respect behave in a socially acceptable manner. The cops aren't part of the solution, to my mind - they're part of the problem.

Re: Some odd numbers there

I'm 78 and have driven legally since 16. Although I did live in Vancouver for several years I missed the mandatory safety checks. The checks were not required all of B.C.

Posted the stats from Finland due to the similar climate, higher highway speed limits and lower accident rate. Honestly I just get sick and tired of reading about how by just lowering the speed limits will improve the accident rates. True you can't beat physics where injuries will be less severe at lower speeds, but doesn't always mean a lowering of accidents.

Probably have put more miles driving dirt and gravel roads than paved. Many industrial roads are posted that headlights must be used at all times. DRL do improve the visibility of vehicles. When you have low visibility due to fog, dust or flying snow I believe that a driver should make sure their vehicle is made as visible as possible.

Police are permitted to turn off their DRL's for doing surveillance work. I contacted the commanding officer of E Division some years back and was told that when operating on the highway they are required to make sure that the DRL's are in the operational position. The lights are on a switch that allows them to be turned off and on.

Another little complaint I have is one should set an example. So I expect police officers to obey all MVA regulations. Not pick and choose which ones they want. I worked for the provincial government at the start of my working career and was responsible for enforcing the Forest Act. When I accepted the job I swore to enforce all regulations. It was part of my job description. I wasn't allowed to pick and choose. And I have a gut feeling police are expected to do the same. Unfortunately highway patrol officers do not even as you mentioned.

Anyway my post was to point out that there is more to being a safe driver than just pointing your vehicle down the road and obeying the speed limit. I will never change by opinion that if we want to lower the accident rate in this province those enforcing the law and those writing the law have to remove the blinkers and quit blaming only three or four infractions as the only cause. And when you are writing the tickets and investigating the accidents and go in with a bias view in the first place, I am sure you will uphold your bias.

Amen to that.

I will never change by opinion that if we want to lower the accident rate in this province those enforcing the law and those writing the law have to remove the blinkers and quit blaming only three or four infractions as the only cause. And when you are writing the tickets and investigating the accidents and go in with a bias view in the first place, I am sure you will uphold your bias.

Could not have expressed it better myself.

Here in BC, we have seen that when the police concentrate their efforts on a particular issue, they actually can effect change, and for the better. For instance, seatbelt use - I believe we have the highest use in north america, if not the world. Well done, cops! And impaired driving has been reduced tremendously, thanks to a concentrated policing and educational effort - I read a newspaper column once where a Xmas stop-check in Vancouver hadn't resulted in so much as a 24-hour suspension after checking out 1,100 drivers one evening. That's excellent, well done cops!

So how about they get all the police forces in the province to leave the radar alone, and spend two solid months ticketing every single driver they spot changing lanes or turning without signalling? With an ICBC awareness campaign at the same time, I believe they could make a difference. Failing to signal is antisocial, and a cause of road rage - but if they made an honest effort, they could change people's behaviour; and no doubt, when these vehicles all get pulled over they'll discover other things to address from defective lights to failure to follow license restrictions.

Then, they could take the same approach to following too closely. Nail every driver they spot who is less than a second behind the vehicle ahead. It would be like shooting fish in a barrel! The highway patrol guys could leave the HOV lane monitoring alone, and pull over every damn one of those truckers they see following too close. And while they have them pulled over, it doesn't take a moment to walk around the rig and see what condition the lights and tires are in, or whether the driver completed a proper PreTrip Inspection that morning.

And you know, I'll bet that after four months without running any radar traps or jumping on speeders, they would find that actually everyone would be driving at the same average speeds as always, and there would be no actual change to the number of speed-related collisions.

As it happens, I'm writing this while waiting for a plane in Phoenix. Do you know, while riding the shuttle bus from the car rental area to the terminal, I spotted no less than three Arizona cops, each of them positioned diagonally on the boulevard, simply monitoring different major intersections. Impressive. When did you last see any BC police doing this?

OK, now I guess it's me that's going off-topic. Mea culpa. But I'm serious about this stuff, I really do believe the police could do so much more to reduce bad driving behaviour - if they really wanted to ...

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