London expected to host highway speed limit pilot project

Transporation Minister and Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek spoke at the Ontario Traffic Council's annual meeting on Monday morning.

But Yurek touched only briefly on a pilot project which would see speed limits increase to 120 km/h on designated sections of 400-series highways.

He told the gathering the highways are, “Roads designed for higher speeds which were only reduced in the 1970s due to the fuel shortage."

Yurek also says a change in speed limits would bring Ontario more in line with other provinces.

In 2014 British Columbia increased speeds to 120 km/h on 33 highways in that province. But in November of last year speeds were reduced by 10 km/h.

The change came shortly after research out of the University of British Columbia identified concerning impacts on highways where speeds were increased including:

  • Fatal crashes were up 118 per cent
  • Insurance claims were up 40 per cent
  • Crashes involving injuries were up 30 per cent

After the release of the report in October, study co-author Gordon Lovegrove told CTV News, "Let's just reset. Let’s get them back to 110."

Yurek says the onus is still on drivers to drive safely, "Drivers still have to be aware. There's rules of the road that they have to follow. There are penalties still in place exceeding the speed limit. We're going to ensure law enforcement is there to enforce those rules."

Yurek will formally introduce the speed limit pilot in London on Friday and indicated one pilot project zone will be in the London area.