Tuesday, July 15, 2014

New B.C. Provincial Highway Speed Increases a Big Mistake

Recent speed increases on our provincial highways will negatively impact motorists financially, physically and hurt the environment.  Maybe we will shave some time off our trips but, ask yourself, "Is it worth it"?
Earlier this month the British Columbia government  raised speed limits on a number of highways including Highway 1, east of Abbotsford.  Here the speeds were boosted from 100 kilometers an hour (km/h) to 110 km/h.  The reason Transportation Minister Todd Stone explained as quoted in the Vancouver Sun of July 2, 2014 was to "bring the speed limit in line with actual travel speeds".  It is true that this section of the highway prior to the increase saw speeds commonly in the 110-120 km/h range.  Most driver's were aware that going 20 km/h over the posted speed limit bumped you into a new traffic ticket area and so moderated their speed to something below 120 km/h. Now that range bumps up to 130 km/h.  There are three reasons not to like these speed increases.

1.  Your Pocket Book
You would probably guess that speed affects your fuel consumption. So it will be more expensive to drive on these highways at the posted speed.  Gas prices have headed upward in recent years and are not expected to retreat.
 Cars become less efficient as speed increases according to this gas-mileage-calculator website:
  • driving at 90 km/h 55mph is a recommended speed to optimize efficiency
  • driving at 100 km/h causes a fuel consumption increase of 6%
  • driving at 110 km/h causes a fuel consumption increase of 16%
  • driving at 120 km/h causes a fuel consumption increase of 23%
  • driving at 130 km/h causes a fuel consumption increase of 28%
This means you will burn more fuel over the same distance, even if you just maintain the speed limit.
2.  Air Quality
While the province did get an engineering assessment on each highway section no where I have read did they consider the carbon pollution that will be created with these speed increases.  If vehicles are more inefficient as speed increases it stands to reason that more air pollution will be the result. 
We pay  a carbon tax on our fossil fuels in an attempt to protect the environment and here we are being encouraged to burn fuel faster. 
Has the province consider a carbon offset for the additional pollution created?
It seems ironic to me that while the eastern Fraser Valley communities and their citizens band together to fight and protect our delicate air shed from foes such as SE2 and GVRD trash incineration they have remained mute on this issue; perhaps, because there is no "big bad guy" target but ourselves.
3.  Collision Speed
Accidents happen and the higher the speeds the more likely that someone is going to get seriously hurt.  Every year we pass accidents on the highway.  Many times speed and road conditions are to blame.  Road conditions vary a lot here with our rain, snow and ice.  My concern is the amount of time needed to brake to avoid being involved in a multi-vehicle pile-up. Particularly, as it seems many drivers like to sit right on your bumper - leaving little time to react.  It's noteworthy that the RCMP and the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police objected to these speed increases and were overruled. 
The province need to revisit these speed increases.  Share this message and start a conversation.

Imagine living here and reduce your highway speed....

Stephen Mullock
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.


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