Truck News

News  July 2, 2014 11:11PM

Truckers won’t reach higher speeds: BCTA



KAMLOOPS, B.C. – Even though passenger car and light truck drivers can now legally cruise along at 120km/h on British Columbia’ Othello Road/Highway 5 and on Highway 97C from Aspen Grove to the Drought Hill Interchange in Peachland, the British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA), said it is unlikely that truckers will reach those same speeds.

According to the BCTA, despite changes to the province’s speed limits, trucks won’t be moving any faster because it isn’t economical or safe.

The province’s ministry of transportation and infrastructure announced a number of new measures to improve safety and mobility on the province’s highways. Included in those changes are speed limit increases for 1,300 kilometres of rural highways, bumping up the maximum speed on certain divided highways to 120 km/h, and introducing a pilot program to test how variable speed zones would work on certain sections of the Trans-Canada, Coquihalla and Sea-to-Sky highways.

Other non-speed limit changes designed to improve the flow and safe passage of traffic on the BC roads involve creating a better definition of winter tires (clarifying that mud and snow—M+S—and mountain/snowflake tires are defined as winter tires), updating studded tire and chain regulations, resetting the dates when it is mandatory to use winter tires in high mountain passes (they are now required between October 1 and March 31—the former dates were October 1 to April 30), and adding more clarity and enforcement powers to the Motor Vehicle Act so that it will be easier to compel drivers to stay right except when passing. As well, the ministry is adopting several new measures to reduce the number of collisions between animals and vehicles.

In reacting to the changes, the BCTA zeroed in on the higher speed limits, and issued a statement that most trucking companies would be unlikely to allow their trucks to be driven at the new limits. According to BCTA president and CEO Louise Yako, member companies weren’t interested in having their trucks driven faster.

“When we surveyed our truck and motor coach members regarding the speed review, they indicated there was no appetite for higher speed limits,” she said.

One of the main reasons given by the BCTA for the lack of interest in faster speeds is the economics of fuel economy. It cited figures from Natural Resources Canada which estimate that a heavy commercial vehicle travelling at 120 km/h can consume up to 39 percent more fuel than if it were travelling at 90 km/h, with an accompanying increase in emissions.

Beyond not wanting to take advantage of higher speeds themselves, members of the BCTA believe having roads with faster limits increases the danger for every driver behind the wheel. Explaining its position, the BCTA said although it “recognizes that the provincial government has a high regard for road safety and the environment, the association opposed increasing speed limits based on concerns expressed by members about increased crash risk when commercial and passenger vehicles are travelling at different speeds and increased stopping distances at higher speeds, especially in poor road conditions.”

The association also made note of the increased stopping distances that come as speeds increase, giving the example that a loaded tractor trailer would need 180 metres to stop from a top speed of 105 km/h whereas the same truck and trailer traveling at 90 km/h could stop in 107 metres.

“Carrying freight or passengers from one place to another quickly is important, but getting them there safely is more important. For the road transportation industry, efficiency is about results, factoring in the safety of drivers and others, what they’re carrying, and their equipment,” said Yako.

“Safety is our top priority. We understand that in deciding to increase speed limits on selected rural highways, the ministry carefully considered safety performance, current travel speeds, road engineering and comments from the public. But, people can make mistakes and use poor judgment. To ensure everyone stays safe, drivers of passenger cars need to understand how to share the road with heavy commercial vehicles.”

One change the BCTA likes, however, is the variable speed pilot project. The industry association said it “welcomes the ministry’s plan to pilot variable speed signs for better guidance in severe winter conditions on high-volume routes, including the Coquihalla between Hope and the old toll booth and Highway 1 between Sicamous and Revelstoke. Commercial vehicles run according to schedules that require them to operate year-round on these routes, often in difficult driving conditions.”


New speed limits

Some of the new limits are already in effect. The rest are expected to be phased in over the course of the summer.

Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon

Highway 1 Whatcom Road (Exit 95) to junction with Highway 3 (74 km)
New speed limit: 110 (in effect today)
Previous speed limit: 100
Highway 1 East of Lake of the Woods Rest Area to Boston Bar (55 km)
Current speed limit: 80, 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 1 Boston Bar to Falls Creek (24 km)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 7 Vehicle pull-out west of Haig Scale, Agassiz to Highway 1 junction, Hope (5 km)
Current speed limit: 90, 100
New speed limit: 100

Sea to Sky

Highway 99 Eagle Ridge Interchange, Horseshoe Bay to south of the Stawamus River Bridge near Squamish (35 km)
Current speed limit: 80
New speed limit: 90
Highway 99 North of Depot Road, Squamish to Function Junction, Whistler (45 km)
Current speed limit: 80, 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 99 South of Whistler Heliport Road to Pemberton Boundary (21 km)
Current speed limit: 80
New speed limit:90
Highway 99 East of Lillooet near the Pavilion Lime Plant to the Highway 97 junction (22 km)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100

Vancouver Island

Highway 1 Three 80 km/h sections between Bench Road, Cowichan Bay and Beck Road, north of the Nanaimo Airport (totalling 10 km)
Current speed limit: 80, 90
New speed limit: 90
Highway 19 Parksville to south of Willis Road, Campbell River (114 km)
Current speed limit: 110
New speed limit: 120
Highway 19 Duncan Bay Road to Menzies Road, Campbell River (4 km)
Current speed limit: 80
New speed limit: 90
Highway 19 Campbell River to Sullivan Road, Sayward (44 km)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 19 North of Campbell Way, Port McNeill to Douglas Street, Port Hardy (35 km)
Current speed limit: 80, 90
New speed limit: 100

Southern Interior

Highway 1 Six Mile Rest Area near Tobiano to Savona (12 km)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 1 Chase to Hilltop Road, East of Sorrento (25 km, excluding 60 km/h section through Sorrento)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 1 Canoe (near Salmon Arm) to Highway 23 South, Revelstoke (58 km, excluding 60 km/h section through Sicamous)
Current speed limit: 90, 100
New speed limit: 100
Highway 1 Highway 23 North, Revelstoke to Anderson Road, Golden (101 km excluding parks)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 3 Start of Highway 3 (Exit 170) to junction with Highway 5 Coquihalla (7 km)
Current speed limit: 100
New speed limit: 110
Highway 3 Sunshine Valley to Manning Park East Boundary (33 km)
Current speed limit: 80, 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 3 Sunday Summit to Whipsaw Creek, west of Princeton (22 km)
Current speed limit: 80
New speed limit: 90
Highway 5 Hope (Exit 177) to Othello Road (4 km)
New speed limit: 110 (in effect today)
Previous speed limit: 100
Highway 5 Othello Road, near Hope to Highway 1 junction, near Kamloops (200 km)
New speed limit: 120 (in effect today)
Previous speed limit: 110
Highway 5 Heffley to Little Fort (67 km, excluding 60 km/h section through Barriere)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 5A Old Hedley Road, north of Princeton to Highway 97C junction (36 km, excluding 70 km/h section through Aspen Grove)
Current speed limit: 80
New speed limit: 90
Highway 6 New Denver to Purdy Road, north of Hills (15 km, excluding 70 km/h section through Hills)
Current speed limit: 80
New speed limit: 90
Highway 6 Purdy Road, Hills to Upper Brouse Road, Nakusp (22 km)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 33 South of Gallagher Road to McCulloch Road (32 km)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 33 North of Highway 3 junction, Rock Creek to Westbridge (12 km)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 97 North of Willow Drive, 70 Mile House to BCR Overpass, 100 Mile House (37 km)
Current speed limit: 100
New speed limit: 110
Highway 97 Gatzke Road, north of Oyama to College Way, south of Vernon (16 km)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100 – Pending completion of engineering assessment to determine if median barriers are required before implementation of the new speed limit.
Highway 97 Highway 97A junction near Swan Lake to Westside Road (6 km)
Current speed limit: 80
New speed limit: 90
Highway 97A north of Smith Drive, Armstrong to Highway 97B junction, Enderby (18 km excluding 50 km/h section through Enderby)
Current speed limit: 90
New speed limit: 100
Highway 97A Highway 97B junction, near Grindrod to Sicamous (33 km, excluding 50 km/h section through Grindrod)
Current speed limit: 80
New speed limit: 90
Highway 97C Merritt to Aspen Grove (22 km)
Current speed limit: 100
New speed limit: 110
Highway 97C Aspen Grove to Drought Hill Interchange, Peachland (78 km)
New speed limit:120 (in effect today)
Previous speed limit:110


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