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

Island Health announces addition of 38 beds for seniors care in the Comox Valley

17 beds at Comox Valley hospital; 21 beds at St. Joe’s

VIDEO: North Island Hospital heliport flight testing

Island Health, in conjunction with Helijet, tested the heliports Tuesday as part… Continue reading

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Change of command at HMCS Quadra

Lieutenant Colonel (Lt.-Col.) Allan Dengis assumed command of HMCS Quadra in a… Continue reading

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Special forces unit to monitor Hells Angels ride on Vancouver Island

Enforcement unit says motorcycle club to hold 35th anniversary ride in Nanaimo

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Comox resident refuses to turn his back on his Nicaraguan community

Sean MacKinnon and his partner are hoping to raise funds through a beer and yoga fundraiser Friday

Trade tokens a new form of currency on Hornby Island

Jim Bulmer hopes his tokens will turn a profit for the community

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Most Read