Ontario Introduces Speed Limit Pilots and Consultations
Government for the people to explore new ways to improve transportation network
LONDON — The Ontario Government is exploring new ways to improve traffic flow and safety on provincial highways by introducing three speed limit pilots on select highways. At the same time, Ontario's Government for the people will launch province-wide consultations on how to safely increase highway speeds to align with other provinces, and how people currently drive.
Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation, was joined by Bob Bailey, MPP for Sarnia-Lambton, to explain how the government will listen to people's suggestions on how to best modernize Ontario's highway network to better serve their needs.
"Results from the pilot and all feedback received during consultations will be carefully considered as a part of the final decision-making process," said Minister Yurek. "We're also working with our road safety and enforcement partners."
Three sections of highways are planned as pilot locations in Southern Ontario where the highway speed will be posted at 110 km/h starting in mid-September:
- Highway 402 from London to Sarnia;
- the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) from St. Catharines to Hamilton; and
- Highway 417 from Ottawa/Gloucester to Ontario/Quebec border.
The Ministry of Transportation is exploring options for a fourth pilot in Northern Ontario.
"Safety is the government's number one priority and each pilot location was carefully chosen based on a number of factors, including its ability to accommodate higher speed limits," said Yurek.
Our government is adding extra safety measures such as increased signage and messaging. We will also protect the safety of drivers by proposing amendments that keep the street-racing penalties at 150 km/h. This means in the speed limit pilot zones, the street-racing penalties will apply at 40 km/h over the posted speed limit, not the usual 50 km/h over.
"The Ontario Safety League traditionally bases their position on science, and the science tells us that although excessive speed is a factor in many crashes, under normal driving conditions and with reasonable driving attention it would have virtually no impact," said Brian Patterson, President and CEO, Ontario Safety League.
"CAA is pleased to continue working with the Ministry of Transportation to help educate and inform motorists on safe driving. It is important that drivers pay particular attention to weather and road conditions and adjust accordingly, regardless of the posted speed limit. A pilot program is an ideal way to gradually explore the subject of raising speed limits and determine the impact on road safety, " said Elliott Silverstein, CAA South Central Ontario.
- Consultations will begin in the next few weeks.
- The pilot projects will start in mid-September. Increased safety messaging and updated signs will ensure motorists are aware of where speed limits are changing. We will continue to work with our road safety and enforcement partners to ensure that the pilots are conducted safely.
- There are currently six other provinces in Canada that have posted speed limits of 110 km/h or higher on certain highways.
- Ontario’s highways are among the safest in North America, where we’ve ranked the lowest or second lowest in fatality rates among all jurisdictions for 18 consecutive years.