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.