FROM THE WINDSOR STAR EDITORIALS:
State Senator Rick Jones a former sheriff is a key backer of the proposal and says that current limits have nothing to do with safety. Instead, he says some areas of the state are deliberately setting speed limits lower than they need be to generate more revenues from tickets.
For about four decades, its been proven that if you post the proper speed limit, its safer, you have fewer accidents and have better traffic flow, says Jones.
Whatever happens in Michigan, at least there is going to be a debate in the state capital about speed and safety. In Ontario stuck at 100km/h (60 mph) we cant even get a reasonable discussion going at Queens Park about a more realistic speed limit on the 400 series highways.
Members of stop100.ca an Oshawa-based lobby group thats trying to get the provincial government to listen have been emailing Transportation Minister Glen Murray and MPPs in an effort to get them to rethink speed limits. So far, the campaign has come up empty.
I am certain there is no MPP in Ontario that has not heard of us by now, says Chris Klimek, founder of the group. It is time to act; we need the members of parliament to step up and hear the demands of the vast majority of Ontario 400 series drivers who want to drive at speeds permitted in many countries and states worldwide, mainly 120-130 km/h.
We do not drive at 100 km/h on our world-class highways. It is time that speed limits reflect the actions of the safe and reasonable majority of drivers.
In fact, when Highway 401 opened to traffic a half century ago, the legal speed limit was 113km/h. Legislating the familiar, lower limit 100 km/h had nothing to do with safety concerns. It was introduced in the wake of the Arab oil embargo in the 70s as a measure to counter shortages at the pumps.
But when the oil started flowing again, the speed limit didn't budge even though 401 and other 400 series highways were designed for higher speeds. And, as most of us know, virtually no one drives the posted limit on the 401. Drivers simply guess how fast they can safely go without risking a ticket.
Certainly, a lot of things have changed since the 401 was opened to traffic. Vehicles are safer as a result of airbags, improved seatbelts, brakes, tires, crumple zones, steering systems and more. The highway is also safer as a result of concrete medians, rumble strips, paved shoulders and an increasing number of regions with six lanes of traffic.
According to stop100.ca, there are more than 60 countries and states worldwide that have either a 120 or 130 km/h limit.
Perhaps the most sensible place to start the discussion in Ontario is literally going back to the future 113 km/h. It could even be rounded off to 115 km/h.
Theres every reason to believe that the 401 and other major highways will be safer with a higher limit, and police officers will have more time to weed out bad drivers.
So why arent the politicians at Queens Park willing to talk about it?