STAHN: Penalties govern highway speed, not traffic signs | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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STAHN: Penalties govern highway speed, not traffic signs

Last week the provincial government announced it was increasing the speed limit on more than 1,300 kilometres of highway.

I’m sure the cry around the province was ‘Yay! I get to drive faster… legally.’

But how much does the posted speed limit really affect driver habits?

Transportation Minister Todd Stone said more than 85 per cent of drivers were already ‘well above’ the posted speed limits and people were requesting it. The reasoning is that it’s safer for everyone if all drivers are going roughly the same speed. So in theory, they raised the limit to be closer to the actual speeds.

But they might have asked a few more questions about why so many drivers go roughly 10 kms over the limit. It sure isn’t because they feel safer going faster. Truth is they’d go 20, 30, 40 or more kms over the limit if fines and penalties didn’t increase significantly.

By raising the speed limit to 120 km/h they effectively raised the travelling speed to 130 km/h. If 85 per cent of drivers travel at that speed, then what? Stone’s logic says raise it again, I guess.

And according to Stone, if all drivers aren’t travelling the same speed, danger increases. So trucks, school busses and Grandmas better keep up at 130 km/h—for all our sakes.

It seems a better solution was more formal adoption of the wink-wink, nudge-nudge of current traffic enforcement. Keep the speed limits at 110 km/h but begin speed enforcement at, say 15 kms over the limit on highways.

I hope I'm wrong and that people simply choose to travel at a speed they feel safe and comfortable driving at. What are you seeing out there? Are drivers following the new limits? Faster? Slower? Let me know. We'll come back to this soon and re-assess.

To contact a reporter, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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