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

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

VIDEO: Canadian Forces members begin helping out flooded B.C. communities

Three-hundred personnel in B.C. in some off hardest hit cities

Residents sandbag Ruckle in advance of predicted Saturday flood

Residents were allowed back in for 12 hours on Thursday.

Riverside warnings issues for Grand Forks properties

The RDKB has not issued orders to leave, but owners should be aware.

‘Catastrophic’ flooding will echo for years

Last week’s flooding broke records – and there is more on the way

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Most Read