by Chris Klimek,
Special to Wheelstalk.com -
Every day, drivers using the provincial 400-series highways are witnesses and participants in the long-lasting, hypocritical situation caused by the 400-series speed limit of 100 km/h.
Most of the 400-series highways are flat, straight and well maintained. As a result, the speed limit is routinely exceeded by 20-40 km/h by the majority of drivers.
According to the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario has some of the safest roads in North America. Since most of the 400-series traffic today flows between 120-140 km/h and the fatality rate is very low, then why are the authorities preserving the speed limit that essentially makes all of us excessive speeders and lawbreakers?
Most would agree that 115-120 km/h seems somewhat of a minimum comfortable speed for these roads, so rather than essentially forcing most drivers into the 3-demerit point territory (“exceeding the speed by 16-29 km/h”), why don’t we acknowledge the present situation and introduce a more reasonable speed limit legislation to allow drivers to stop feeling like criminals each time they drive?
Most EU countries and the Western United States post 120-130 km/h on speed limit signs.
The United Kingdom is raising their already higher speed limit of 112 to 128 km/h (70 to 80 MPH) in 2013 and the state of Texas is in the process of legislating the limit of 136 km/h (85 MPH) on some rural sections of its highways. Utah has found no increased fatalities after extensively testing and switching some portions of their roads to 128 km/h (80 MPH) in 2009.
Interestingly, our speed limit used to be higher. The authorities back in the 1960s had raised the 400-series speed limit to 112 km/h (70 MPH), when vehicle safety technology was significantly inferior. The speed limit was lowered to 100 km/h in 1976 due to the fears of oil shortages caused by the OPEC embargo at the time. The crisis ended some years later, but the limit has stayed the same.
Some opponents of the idea have stated before: “If we raise the speed limit to 120 km/h, everyone will start driving at 140 km/h.” Drivers do not speed for the sake of speeding and do not always exceed the limit by 20 km/h as some may believe. Given a reasonable speed limit set in accordance with the design of the road, most drivers will cease to significantly exceed it.
The lawmakers of Ontario should stop maintaining the unacceptable status quo on our 400-series roads and begin to listen to drivers’ demands to establish an adequate and reasonable speed limit which will finally be understood, appreciated and enjoyed by the motorists. A speed limit that is in line with the current Ontario driving practices and the solid quality and design of our roads.
For more information, to show your support for the cause or to take the speed limit poll, please visit www.stop100.ca