VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – With speed limits increasing on some BC highways, some have raised the question of whether people will just go even faster.
It happens all the time now, people going 10 or 20 above the speed limit and Transportation Minister Todd Stone refers to it as the 85th percentile.
“Meaning what is the speed that up to 85 per cent of the drivers are actually driving on a particular corridor. That is generally referred to as the natural flow of traffic on a particular corridor,” he says.
“Let’s say the Coquihalla Highway, the 85th percentile is 127km/hr. The posted speed limit was 110km/hr and we are increasing the speed limit to 120 which we believe is much more in alignment with what the vast majority of people are already driving on that corridor,” he explains.
He says other jurisdictions that have raised limits to be aligned with that method have found people don’t continue to go 10 or 20 above that new number.
Stone adds there’s also a lot of research that says it’s not so much speed that causes crashes but variations in speed.
Not everybody however will be taking advantage of the new limits.
BC Trucking Association president and CEO Louise Yako says they surveyed drivers while the province was conducting the speed limit review.
“Our members indicated that regardless of what changes might occur in terms of posted speed limits they were very unlikely to change their practices. most of our members are governing their speeds or limiting their speeds in some way and they are doing it for a couple of reasons, one for safety and the second to reduce emissions.”
Yako adds hopefully other drivers will be mindful of safety when driving around trucks, without getting too frustrated at the slower pace, “We would like to take this opportunity to caution passenger car drivers from doing anything that might put them at risk when they are driving in and around trucks. Things like zipping in and out is not a good idea, cutting trucks off is not a good idea.”
Yako says at high speeds it just takes too long for a truck to be able to stop, so for safety reasons they’ll stick to current speeds.