The speed limit is increasing on several BC highways including a 190 km long portion of BC Highway 5 (the "Coquihalla") from 110 km/hr to 120 km/hr. I think this is a dumb idea for the following reasons:

• it changes very little in overall travel time.
• it increases harm if there is an accident.
• it increases risk of an accident in general (the absolute crash rate goes up with greater speeds).
• stopping distance increases.
• the minority who speed excessively will remain outliers but will now go even faster.
• it increases fuel use
• BC Trucking association and the operators of motor coaches (buses) don't sanction the increase (citing many of the above points) so they will still be travelling at the slower rate increasing the speed differential which some higher speed advocates say is the problem in the first place.
• people don't slow down in adverse conditions now, that's not going to change when the limits are increased with the result being increased harm.

So if you followed the old limit and will follow the new one you'll save nine minutes over this 190 km portion of highway. Then you'll stop at Tim Hortons and use up those nine minutes in the bathroom and doughnut line.

If you want to think about this another way consider that the government is conducting what amounts to an experiment that is certain to result in an increase in death and injury.

There's a group here in BC that has been advocating changes like these. They claim (and perhaps there is supporting evidence) that it is inter-vehicle speed differential that causes the increased rate of accidents. Fine. If that's true, the way to reduce harm is to reduce the inter-vehicle speed differential. We've seen that the large vehicles on the road don't want to go faster. We know that on a road like the Coquihalla with some climbing sections they can't go faster. So, to reduce the vehicle differential slow everyone down. Better enforcement could accomplish this and we'd see a reduction in harm too.

CBC News

BC Highway 5.

Some papers (not a complete list) ...
Speed and harm

Speed and fuel efficiency.

I'm quite sure this whole idea is dumb and will result in more damage, injury, and death. That's my prediction. We'll have to wait and see if I'm right. Regardless of risk to human life in vehicles though, it will absolutely waste fuel and increase CO2 emissions.

[Edit 2014-07-21] Advocates for speed limit increases in BC understand it's an experiment with users lives. “You need at least a year’s worth of data.” 

[Edit 2014-07-04] Higher speed limits will make situations like the one shown in a coroners report released today worse.

[Edit 2014-07-04] So we see a minister making changes to please a small group of people who hate traffic enforcement or rules in general. 

BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone moved to increase speed limits on 1,300 kilometres of rural highway this week despite opposition within his own government, documents show.

The Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles favoured lowering speeds, and warned that even with the safety technology in new vehicles, “there are still new and older drivers who are more likely to crash at higher speeds.”

The superintendent’s office, which recently changed its name to RoadSafetyBC, also cautioned that driving at higher speeds increases the frequency and severity of crashes, according to a government summary of public and private meetings on the issue.

The road safety unit within the Ministry of Justice, meanwhile, expressed concern that raising speed limits would erode safety gains.

[Edit 2014-07-15 +Maclean's Magazine disagrees with me. ]

[Edit 2014-07-23 Take note of the speed differentials in this video. Speed differentials are deemed a problem by SENSE BC and by the folks deciding to change the speed limits on some BC roads. Note that the inter-vehicle speed differential goes up when the speed limit goes up.              ]

#BC   #britishcolumbia   #speed   #automobile   #speedlimit   #driving   #coquihalla