Robert’s column

Robert’s column

Robert Barron column: Lower speed limits could save lives

That’s annoying, but at the same time, I think it will save some lives.

Drivers might have noticed that the speed limit signs on the Trans Canada Highway between Duncan and Nanaimo have recently been changed.

That’s because the NDP government is rolling back speed limits on 15 sections of highway by 10 km/h, including that stretch of asphalt.

The speed limit between Duncan and Nanaimo is now 80 km/h, down from 90.

There are no changes to speeds heading south from Duncan.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Claire Trevana explained that the speed limits had been increased back in 2014 by the previous government and since that time, the number of serious collisions has risen, so the decision was made to decrease the speed limits on the sections of the province’s highways where the most crashes have taken place.

I figure this will add another 10 minutes each way on my daily trips between Nanaimo and Duncan to get to work at the Citizen.

That’s annoying, but at the same time, I think it will save some lives.

Just last week, an elderly lady travelling south on the THC was T-boned and killed as she tried to take a left turn into the Nanaimo airport by a north-bound car.

The lady’s vehicle was struck so hard that it wrapped around a light pole on the side of the road.

North-bound traffic on the Trans Canada Highway was tied up for hours as a result.

The crash is still under investigation, but the lady’s car was obviously struck pretty hard to find itself in the condition that it ended up in as a result of the crash.

It has yet to be determined just how fast the driver of the other car was going when the accident happened, but I expect he was likely going pretty fast, even if it turns out that he was just doing the speed limit.

It was the latest in a series of serious accidents with fatalities that I have witnessed between Duncan and Nanaimo over the years.

I don’t know that reducing the speed limit on the THC will see a reduction in those accidents, but it could help.

As I have mentioned before in this column, I’ve been passed on the highway numerous times by drivers who are going so fast that it seemed that my car was standing still, even though I was doing the speed limit.

I figure that these vehicles were going at least 130 km/h when they passed me; a speed that would give them no time to properly respond to an emergency situation, like someone pulling out in front of them.

I don’t see these drivers actually doing the speed limit, but by reducing the limit to 80 km/h, it might persuade then to at least slow down a little when they realize that they are going more than 50 km/h above the speed limit, which could see them get a more substantial ticket from the authorities if they are pulled over.

It might also save their lives, and the lives of others, if they are forced to slow down.

There’s no doubt that lessening the speed limit will be a nuisance for people like me who try to stay within the speed limit.

I don’t think 90 km/h is an unsafe speed on that highway at all, as long as the drivers are paying attention.

But decreasing the speed limit may slow down those speeders, and that will be good for everyone.