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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Traffic Enforcement: Speed limits that make sense

The good people at stop100.ca managed to get some media attention recently, which is quite a feat, since most of the herd-like mentality media tend to toe the official line of thinking when it comes to traffic enforcement (police and media smart and safe – the public stupid and dangerous).

To me the arguments on stop100.ca are logical, but I’ve seen this line of action before from many sources and I wish them luck. The 100 km/h speed limit on limited-access highways is one of the lowest in the world. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the 400-series speed limit was 70mph (112 km/h). The limits were then reduced to 60 mph (98 km/h) in 1976 as a result of the 1970's oil embargo, not due to safety concerns. Many of the US states and other countries have since increased their speed limits.

Our MOT and police troopers conveniently ignore research that shows that the vast majority drivers do not speed for the sake of speeding. People generally adjust their speed to conditions. In Ontario, apart from winter or other bad road conditions, people tend to drive too slowly.

Speeds in the 120-140 km/h range are the reality on many of our 400-series roads and I see the cops themselves driving at these speeds all the time when not on emergency runs. Most civilized countries around the world today have much higher limits and average driving speeds, yet their accident rates are often much lower. Many jurisdictions have extensively studied higher speed limits and found little to no negative effect on safety.

Significant vehicle safety improvements have been implemented in the last decades: airbags, improved seat belts, brakes, tires, crumple zones, steering systems, stability control systems and more.

MOT spokesman said that the Ministry has no plans to change the speed limits in Ontario. I’m sure that our cops agree. After all, if everybody speeds, than they always have an excuse to pull drivers over for any reason they feel like. How long before they abuse their powers? Judging from the litany of police missteps over the last few years, they’ve abused their powers many times already.

Click on the title to connect to stop100.ca and vote to support their efforts on their Facebook page! And watch out for the unmarked Tahoe trucks (pictured) that the OPP have been using more and more often for the dirty work.

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