The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has decided to reduce speed limits on 15 highway sections across the province, including three segments on Vancouver Island.

In 2014, speed limits were increased on 33 segments and 1,300 kilometres of highway across BC.

After 3 years, data and studies conducted by ICBC and independent consultants showed that while 16 corridors had no changes to safety, 15 segments experienced an increase in collisions after the speed limits were raised.

In an effort to reduce collisions, limits will now be rolled back by 10 km/h for 15 sections of highway, totalling 570 kilometres. These are the sections on Vancouver Island that will be affected by the changes:

  • Highway 1: Cowichan Bay to Nanaimo – 90 km/h to 80 km/h
  • Highway 19: Parksville to Campbell River – 120 km/h to 110 km/h
  • Highway 19: Bloedel to Sayward – 100 km/h to 90 km/h

Causes and consequences

“We know people want to get where they’re going quickly. Our job is to help make sure they also get there safely,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Since the former government raised speed limits in 2014, serious crashes have been on the rise. By rolling back speed limits slightly, our goal is to reduce accidents, keep roads open and protect the lives of British Columbians.”

According to studies, the top three factors contributing to highway accidents are driver inattentiveness (including distracted driving due to cell phone use), road conditions, and driving too fast for conditions.

Speed limits will remain the same for the sections that showed no changes to collision rates as a result of higher limits, including Highway 19: Campbell River to Bloedel (90 km/h) on Vancouver Island.

“BC RCMP Traffic Services members will be doing our part to enforce the reduced speed limits. Slowing down can significantly reduce the severity of a collision and the chance of drivers being severely injured or killed,” said RCMP Inspector Tim Walton, officer in charge, Island District Traffic Services.

“As we shift into winter driving mode, police are reminding drivers to obey speed limits, adopt safe and defensive driving habits, and to drive sober and distraction-free.”