Ontario’s highways may soon become high-speed.
Jeff Yurek the Ford government’s transportation minister announced earlier today that the province is looking at launching public consultations alongside some project sites to review speed limits across highways.
“The 400-series highways were built for, I believe, a speed limit of 120 km/h safely,” said Minister Jeff Yurek at a press conference at the Toronto Region Board of Trade on Wednesday morning.
The test project to raise speed limits will be tabled at Queen’s Park within the next week.
“If you look back on the history of why speed limits were set where they were back in the 70s, there was an energy crisis and in order to conserve fuel they lowered the speed limits on our highway system and it stayed that way ever since,” Yurek explained to reporters. “I’ve heard lots of stakeholders mention that maybe it’s time to take a review of how our speed limits are in the province and we’ll have more to say next week on this issue.”
While the Ford government has seemed open to increasing highway speeds an Ontario Provincial Police sergeant, warned against the move, according to a CBC report.
Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, a spokesperson for the OPP’s highway safety division, said the OPP enforces provincial highway speed limits set by Ontario’s ministry of transportation.
Schmidt added that it is a well-known fact that high speed driving can lead to death and serious injuries.
“The OPP, our role, is to enforce the rules of the road. And those rules are established by the Ministry of Transportation. If the MTO determines that they want to change the maximum speed limits, that is their mandate to do so. We will enforce the laws as they are legislated,” said Sgt. Schmidt.
However, Sgt. Schmidt’s claims might be unfounded since Germany’s highway, the Autobahn which has no speed limits has not reported a statistically higher rate of deaths or injuries.
The province is also expected to increase fine for slow-moving drivers in the left lane of the highway.
“Because when people drive dangerously slow, the safety of others is put at risk,” said Yurek.
The province has already announced they are planning to allow motorcycles to use high occupancy lanes to increase safety on highways.
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