Our View: Raising speed limits contradictory to message

Remember that long-running ad campaign and slogan adopted by the RCMP, as well as numerous municipal police departments, tagged “Speed Kills”?

Apparently it doesn’t anymore.

Either that or the provincial government has a death wish for B.C. drivers.

Last week, the B.C. government announced increases to highway speed limits, including Highway 19 between Campbell River and Parksville.

The new speed limit for that stretch of Hwy. 19 is now 120 km/h. Yes, that’s right – it has increased! The government really didn’t think this one through very well.

Have drivers suddenly become more aware of their surroundings? Not likely. In fact, statistics suggest it’s quite the opposite.

Studies released earlier this year show that distracted driving is now the leading cause of death among young drivers on our roads and highways.

So, here’s an idea; let’s go faster!

Need more statistics? On average, there are 300 deaths on B.C. highways every year.

Speed is blamed for one-third of those crashes.

Of course, no one is forcing people to go faster, but we will; as will those who already drive 130 km/h on Hwy. 19.

Has Minister of Transportation Todd Stone ever been on Hwy. 19 during a rainstorm?

The drainage on that road is pathetic. Hydroplaning is a common occurrence – and the higher the speeds, the more dangerous it becomes.

It’s interesting that the group that uses B.C. highways more than anyone – the B.C. Trucking Association – actually opposed the move, citing safety reasons and fuel economy.

By and large, truckers are among the most practised, the most aware, and the safest drivers on our highways. They have to be. It’s their careers on the line – and their lives.

If those who use our highways the most are opposed to the move, what does that say?

They would know better than any politician, who probably spends more on airfare than fuel.

A little more consultation with the experts would have served the government well on this decision.

–Comox Valley Record

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