Raising Speed Limits on Ontario Highways: Recipe for a Speeding Car Accident?

By Pace Law | July 25, 2019

Toronto and Ontario have been pulling at opposite ends of the road safety string lately. While Toronto has been mulling reduced speed limits on arterial roads, Ontario’s highway speed limits are set to rise. Surely, physics doesn’t work differently for a car speeding on the highway as compared to a car in the city.

A speeding car accident can have catastrophic effects for victims. Too often, we represent people who have suffered serious, life-changing injuries, and family members who have lost loved ones.

Speed has been proven to be a killer on Ontario’s roads. In 2017, Statistics Canada reported 746 motor vehicle collisions involving fatalities in urban areas (with a speed limit of less than 60 kph). In the same year, they saw 908 fatalities on rural roads (with a speed limit greater than 60 kph). Fewer pedestrians and urban hazards on open country roads did not reduce fatalities. Is it not the high speeds then that are behind these accidents?

Speed limits need to be based on such considerations as inclement weather, tired drivers, distracted drivers, and the condition of the car.

There are many reasons why a higher speed limit can increase the possibility of a speeding car accident. Hopefully, this article will make you a more informed – and safer – road user. As car accident lawyers who have helped victims for decades, we know even minor changes in driving conditions can have a significant impact.

Reduced thinking and reaction time

Think you can catch a slide like Gilles Villeneuve? An average driver on the road has an average reaction and thinking time. Simply, this is the time it takes for you to recognize a hazard, determine avoiding action, and then execute it. As speeds increase, drivers have less time to think and react. When drivers are tired or distracted, their thinking and reaction times are slower. As experienced car accident lawyers we ask: will you know to slow down when you are tired?

Encouraging dangerous driving

Dangerous driving reflects driving mentality. Driving in anger or haste will result in a driver making bad decisions, thereby putting other road users at risk. Higher speed limits on highways will encourage drivers to develop a ‘I’ll make up lost time with speed’ mindset (especially after a long traffic snarl). This urgent mentality can easily lead to road rage and negligent driving – all ingredients for speeding car accidents.

People already drive faster than the speed limit

Anyone who has driven on Ontario’s highways will know that most traffic is already driving faster than the prescribed speed limit. When we represent car and motorcycle accident victims, too often high speed is a common factor across cases. Raising speed limits will encourage drivers to drive faster still, increasing the possibility of accidents and their severity.

More speed comes from greater fuel consumption

Taking advantage of a raised speed limit on the highway will come at the cost of increased fuel consumption – and more pollution. Pollution is a silent killer. Those with breathing difficulties will feel the effects of greater emissions immediately. If they live near highways passing through urban areas, the effects will be especially acute.

Car Accident Lawyers Who Care

It may seem paradoxical, but at Pace Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers know speed is not all that is made out to be on the roads. We have seen so many drivers rue the fact that they did not take the extra few minutes to slow down and drive more safely. Don’t forget, as a motorist you are responsible not just for your safety, but also for the safety of others.