The Canadian province criticized in the incredible " Speed Kills... Your Pocketbook" video is not only going to raise some of its speed limits, but aim to increase safety with better driver culture.
British Columbia announced recently that they're raising the speed limits on several of their major highways. The increases aren't huge — no limit is over 120kph (75mph), and no increase is greater than 20kph (12mph). What's amazing is that they're going up at all, rather than staying painfully low, sapping driver's wallets with uncalled for tickets.
Accompanying these limits are promises of stricter monitoring of stay right/pass left rules, as GlobalNews.ca reports. Police will have "stronger powers to enforce the 'keep right' law," and new signs will remind drivers of the change.
New regulations on winter tire safety are on the way, as well. It all seems to come together into a policy of better driving culture going hand in hand with rationalized (and often higher) speed limits making safer roads.
Chris Thompson, the man who made the Speed Kills video, gave his assessment of the new policy, calling it a "really good step."
On the whole, the announcement itself is a good thing. Mainly because one of the things I think it looks at is trying to change the driver culture. And really, really hammering this idea of 'keep right except to pass.'
Once you start giving people the incentive or the ability, or giving people the credibility to say, 'ok, the limit is 120, if I'm doing 110, I'm going to stay in the right-hand lane.' If you give people a little bit of line and a little bit of slack, maybe they'll realize it's not their god-given right to do the speed limit in the fast lane.
You foster more of an attitude of cooperation on the roads.
Thompson goes on to point out that with proper speed limits, cops can spend their time watching roads that have high numbers of crashes on them, rather than hanging out at high speed 'fishing holes' for tickets.
Reading through this article is strange — it's like finding a news clipping from an alternate universe, where speed limits are set at what most people actually drive, where safety programs focus on crashes and car maintenance like they should, and cops spend their days trying to make people safer rather than trawling traffic for money.
This news is like hearing my prayers answered, like I'm not taking crazy pills or something. In this day and age it's painfully rare that a government would actively promote the idea that better drivers, not lower speed limits, is what saves lives.
British Columbia's new raised limits aren't huge leaps forward, but they are steps in the right direction. If they prove to be as successful as I expect them to be, hopefully their message of better highway culture and higher limits will spread.
Photo Credit: Global BC