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B.C. government rolling back speed limits on 15 highway stretches in the province

WATCH: The NDP government has reversed the previous government's decision to increase speed limits on some B.C. roads. Grace Ke has more on why they are enacting this, and which roads are affected.

The B.C. government is rolling back speed limit increases on 15 stretches of road in British Columbia, including between Squamish and Whistler, and between Cowichan Bay and Nanaimo. The changes come after the province reviewed the impacts of speed limit changes made by the previous government in 2014.

The speed limits will go down by 10 kilometres per hour.

Speed safety engineers found there was an increase in the collision rate on 14 highway segments where the speed limits were increased. Serious collisions went up by 11.2 per cent on those same roads. The province spent three years reviewing the impact of the speed limit changes.

WATCH: Transportation Minister announces decrease to speed limit on some B.C. roads

Transportation Minister announces decrease to speed limit on some B.C. roads
Transportation Minister announces decrease to speed limit on some B.C. roads

“The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is taking serious actions to improve safety on segments where the speed limits were changed,” states the Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review. “This is why the ministry is rolling back speed limits on segments which were impacted by the speed limits changes.”

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The are 16 corridors where the study did not find higher accident rates and the speed limits will remain the same, including the Coquihalla, where variable speed limits are in operation.

READ MORE: B.C. premier ‘shocked’ at increase in fatalities and crashes on highways with increased speed limits

The RCMP are now being tasked with strategic enforcement efforts in areas where collisions have gone up and vehicles are going “well over” the posted limit.

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

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has thoroughly reviewed three years’ worth of data on 33 segments and 1,300 kilometres of highway, where speed limits were increased as part of the 2014 Rural Safety and Speed Review.

LISTEN: Transportation Minister Claire Trevena has announced speed limits are being reduced by 10 km/h on 15 stretches of BC Highways, including all of the Sea to Sky Highway from Horseshoe Bay to Pemberton.  She says data shows serious crashes from speeding are on the increase.  Will slowing down lead to safer highways?

“Speeding has been one of the top three factors contributing to car crashes, especially in rural and remote areas of B.C.,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.

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“Research has shown that reducing speed lowers the number of crashes and severity of injuries, so I am very supportive of the speed limit reductions announced today. I look forward to the safety measures that will be implemented on B.C. roads, and will continue to work with the Road Safety Strategy Steering Committee to advocate for initiatives that will help keep all road users in B.C. healthy and safe.”

Highway segments where speed limits will be changed

Hwy 97A – Grindrod to Sicamous

Hwy 3 – Sunday Summit to Princeton

Hwy 99 – Squamish to Whistler

Hwy 1 – Tobiano to Savona

Hwy 99 – Horseshoe Bay to Squamish

Hwy 1 – Cowichan Bay to Nanaimo

Hwy 1 – Hope to Boston Bar

Hwy 97C – Merritt to Aspen Grove

Hwy 97C – Aspen Grove to Peachland

Hwy 19 – Parksville to Campbell River

Hwy 1 – Whatcom Road to Hope

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Hwy 99 – Whistler to Pemberton

Hwy 5A – Princeton to TN Boundary

Hwy 7 – Agassiz to Hope

Hwy 1 – Chase to Sorrento

Hwy 19 – Bloedel to Sayward

Hwy 1 – Boston Bar to Jackass Mountain

—More to come