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Published On: Wed, Jul 31st, 2019

Ontario to Increase Highway Speed Limits to 110km per hour

Ontario’s highway speed limits will increase to 110km/h starting in September. Ontario’s transportation minister announced the change which will occur through three pilot projects. The projects will see speed limits increased on provincial highways in southern Ontario.

Photo / pixabay by Gerd Altmann

Three highways will be affected:

  • The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) from St. Catherines to Hamilton
  • Highway 402 between London and Sarnia.
  • Highway 417 between Ottawa/Gloucester to Ontario/Quebec border.

Highways in Northern Ontario may soon see their speed limits increase as well. 

Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said the province will hold public consultations in the next few weeks.

The speed limit change has drawn both applause and criticism. Critics fear that raising the speed limit will only increase the number of accident fatalities on highways. 

“In 2017, Statistics Canada reported 746 motor vehicle collisions involving fatalities in urban areas (with a speed limit of less than 60 kph),” says Pace Law Firm, a personal injury lawyer in Toronto. “In the same year, they saw 908 fatalities on rural roads (with a speed limit greater than 60 kph).”

Speed limits in Ontario haven’t changed since the 1970s, and the province currently has the slowest speed limits in the country. The previous provincial government rejected a campaign to increase speed limits to 120 or 130 km/h in 2012. At that time, the proposed speed limit change was rejected because former transportation minister Bob Chiarelli said speed was a factor in 20% of fatal crashes in the province.

Prior to the 1970s, it was common to have 90 km/h speed limits on two-lane highways and 110 km/h limits on superhighways. 

Yurek has promised to improve signage and messaging on highways. He also wants penalties for street racing to apply to drivers caught speeding at 150 km/h or more. 

The transportation minister noted that six other provinces have posted speed limits of 110lm/h on certain highways.

British Columbia in 2014 raised speed limits to 120 km/h in some areas of the province. Some of those speed limit changes have been rolled back due to a significant increase in serious accidents. Some highways in Nova Scotia have speed limits of 110 km/h. Comparatively, the Autobahn in Germany has an advised speed limit of 130 km/h. In the U.S., Texas has a posted speed limit of 137 km/h on many of its highways.

Those in favor of the speed limit changes argue that 110lm/h is the speed that most cars travel on the 400-series highway, particularly in the greater Toronto area.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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