The Ontario government announced they are launching a pilot project to increase the speed on highways at 110 km/h starting mid-September as a way to improve traffic flow and road safety.
The government also plans to launch a number of province-wide consultations on how to safely increase highway speeds to align with other provinces and how people currently drive.
“Results from the pilot and all feedback received during consultations will be carefully considered as a part of the final decision-making process,” said the province’s Transportation Minister, Jeff Yurek. “We’re also working with our road safety and enforcement partners.”
The pilot will take place on these sections of provincial highways across Southern Ontario, with a fourth pilot being explored for Northern Ontario down the road:
- Highway 402 from London to Sarnia.
- The Queen Elizabeth Way from St. Catharines to Hamilton.
- Highway 417 from the Ottawa area to the Ontario-Quebec border.
Currently, there are six other provinces in Canada that have posted speed limits of 110 km/h or higher on certain highways.
Other safety measures include increased signage and messaging, as well as amendments that keep the street-racing penalties at 150 km/h. According to the province, this means in the speed limit pilot zones, the street-racing penalties will apply at 40 km/h over the posted speed limit, not the usual 50 km/h over.
“The Ontario Safety League traditionally bases their position on science, and the science tells us that although excessive speed is a factor in many crashes, under normal driving conditions and with reasonable driving attention it would have virtually no impact,” said Brian Patterson, President and CEO, Ontario Safety League.
While some may argue that increasing speed on highways may result in traffic moving more smoothly, some have pointed out that in other provinces, such as British Columbia, increased speeds actually led to things like a 118-per-cent increase in fatalities, a 43-per-cent increase in insurance claims, and a 30-per-cent jump in injuries.
No matter the circumstances, it is important to remember safe driving on the roads whether you’re on the highway or local roads.