Editorial — is a faster Coquihalla Highway really a safer one?

Faster on the Coq. (Govt of B.C. photo)

Faster on the Coq. (Govt of B.C. photo)

THURSDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — Wednesday’s report on the provincial government’s Rural Highway Safety and Speed Review was no surprise. The speed limit on the Coquihalla — including the Okanagan Connector — is going up from 110 to 120 km/h, as pretty much everyone thought it would.

That’s great news for proponents of higher speed limits who say lower limits actually create accidents because they interrupt the smooth flow of traffic. They say modern automobile technology demands faster speeds. That sort of thinking runs contrary to the number of serious accidents reported every year on the Coquihalla due to excessive speed.

The benefits of increasing the speed limit are, therefore, hard to figure but Transportation Minister Todd Stone wasted no time posting a ceremonial 120 km/h sign on the Coq once the announcement was made.

The rural-roads report as a whole will be subject to some fleshing out in the writing of regulations. There was no obvious reason, for example, that both Mud and Snow (M+S) and Mountain/Snowflake tires are to be defined as winter tires.

Last winter when police were handing out tickets to drivers traveling the Coq with mud and snow tires, the issue was added to the highway review. At the time, Stone said the higher performance Mountain/ Snowflake tires were his personal preference.

Quebec, for example, accepts only Mountain/ Snowflake tires — which are said to provide for a shorter stopping distance — as winter tires.

Time, of course, will tell if the decisions reflected in the review are good ones. Let’s hope somebody’s going to keep close track so we’ll know if going faster really is safer.


About Mel Rothenburger (7052 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on Editorial — is a faster Coquihalla Highway really a safer one?

  1. We have a youngish MLA who apparently lost his licence once due to too many speeding tickets.. Small wonder that this would be at the top of his list for changes. I hope that it all works out for him and us.

  2. Well, as someone said a few years ago, “yesterday’s drivers are driving in tomorrow’s vehicles on today’s roads.”

  3. Lawrence Beaton // July 3, 2014 at 5:26 AM // Reply

    So, we are now up to 120 km per hour on the Coquihalla. A number of drivers are not going to be satisfied with that speed, instead they will travel at 130-140 kms per hour.

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