Speed limits in Canada

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Canadian speed limits are set by different levels of government (federal, provincial, and municipal), depending on the jurisdiction under which the road falls, resulting in differences from province to province.[1] The limits have been posted in kilometres per hour (km/h) since September 1, 1977. Before then, when Canada used Imperial units, speed limits were in miles per hour (mph).

Statutory speed limits

Statutory speed limits are default speed limits set by a statute in each province or territory. They apply on roads which do not have posted speed limits. Posted speed limits may differ from the statutory speed limit as indicated by speed limit signs.

In most provinces and territories, statutory speed limits are 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h in rural areas. [2][3] There is not a statutory speed limit for grade-separated expressways, however the typical speed limit in most provinces is 100-110 km/h. Statutory speed limits for school zones tend to be 30 or 40 km/h in urban areas and 50 km/h in rural areas.[4]

Where a dash (–) is indicated, there is no statutory speed limit: speed limits must always be posted. Where N/A is indicated, there is no such roadway in the province or territory.

Province or territory School zone
(urban / rural)
Urban Rural
(local / highway)
Expressway Highest speed limit
Alberta 30 / 30 50[5] 80 / 100 110[5] 110
British Columbia 30 / 30[6] 50[7] 80[7] 110 / 120[7] 120[8][9]
Manitoba 30 / 50[10] 50[11] 90 100[11]/110 110[12]
New Brunswick 30-50/50[13] 50[14] 80 / 90 110 110
Newfoundland and Labrador 50 / 50 50[15] 80 / 100 100 100
Northwest Territories [16] 45[17] 90 / 100 N/A 100
Nova Scotia 30 / 50[4] 50[3] 80 / 90 110 110
Nunavut[18] 50 90 N/A 90
Ontario 40 50 80[19] 100 100
Prince Edward Island – / 60 50[20] 80 / 90 N/A 90
Saskatchewan 30 - 40[21] 50 80 / 100[22] 110[23] 110
Québec 30 / 50[24] 50[25] 90 / 90 100 100
Yukon 30 / 40[26] 50[27] 100[28] N/A 100

Regulations

Speeding penalties on a rural Ontario highway
110 km/h speed limit on the Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick
120 km/h speed limit on Island Highway (BC 19), north of Parksville; as of 2014 this is the highest signed speed limit in Canada

Community safety zones

In Ontario, speeding fines double in areas identified as "Community Safety Zones".

Construction zones

In most Canadian provinces, as in most other locales, speed violation fines are double (or more) in construction zones, although in Ontario and Alberta, this only applies if workers are present in the construction zone.

Racing, contests and stunt driving

In Ontario, as of September 2007, drivers caught speeding 50 km/h over the posted speed limit may have the vehicle that they are driving impounded immediately for seven days, have their license suspended for seven days, and have to appear before the court. For a first conviction, they face an additional $2,000-$10,000 fine and six demerit points; they may also face up to six months in jail and licence suspension of up to two years. For a second conviction within 10 years of the first conviction, their license may be suspended for up to 10 years.[29]

Truck speed limiters

In Ontario and Québec, trucks must be electronically limited to 105 km/h.

Radar detectors

Radar detectors in Canada are legal only in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. They are illegal to use or possess in the other provinces and all three territories. Regardless of whether they are used or not, police and law enforcement officers may confiscate radar detectors, operational or not, and impose substantial fines in provinces where radar detectors are illegal.[30] Quebec penalizes $500 for use of a radar detector, along with confiscation of the device.[31]

Signage

A speed limit sign reads "MAXIMUM XX", such as "MAXIMUM 80" for 80 km/h. A minimum speed sign reads "XX MINIMUM", such as "60 MINIMUM" for 60 km/h.

Review of speed limits

British Columbia

In British Columbia, a review of speed limits conducted in 2002 and 2003 for the Ministry of Transportation found that posted limits on investigated roads were unrealistically low for 1309 km and unrealistically high for 208 km. The report recommended increasing speed limits on multi-lane limited-access highways constructed to high design standards from 110 km/h to 120 km/h.[32] As described in that report, the Ministry is currently using "...Technical Circular T-10/00 [...] to assess speed limits. The practice considers the 85th percentile speed, road geometry, roadside development, and crash history." In July 2014, speed limits were adjusted on many of the province's highways, including some which were increased to 120 km/h (75 mph), currently the highest speed limit in Canada.[33]

Ontario

Speed limits on Ontario freeways were lowered from 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) during the 1970s energy crisis[34] and remained at the nearest equivalent (100 km/h) upon conversion to metric measurements in 1977.

In 2013, "speed too fast / exceed speed limit" contributed to 18.4% of all collisions,[35] while "speeding" accounted for 55.2% of all driving convictions.[36] An Ontario-based group is lobbying to increase speed limits from 100 km/h to 130 km/h (81 mph).[37]

In 2015, the Ontario government announced a plan to reduce residential speed limits from the statutory default 50 km/h, either by reducing the statutory limit to 40 km/h or by giving municipalities the option to set their own statutory speed limits, as well as allowing posted speed limits in school zones to be lowered to 30 km/h.[38]

References

  1. ^ Gilchrist, C.W. "Roads and Highways". www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 14 December 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Driving to Prince Edward Island". 21 January 2015. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  4. ^ a b "Safer School Zone Q&A - novascotia.ca". novascotia.ca. Archived from the original on 2017-11-06.
  5. ^ a b Alberta, Government of (2 October 2007). "Government of Alberta Ministry of Transportation:". www.transportation.alberta.ca. Archived from the original on 25 September 2013.
  6. ^ [RSBC%201996%20c.%20318/00_Act/96318_05.xml#section146 Motor Vehicle Act], R.S.B.C. 1998, c. 318, s. 147(1)
  7. ^ a b c [RSBC%201996%20c.%20318/00_Act/96318_05.xml#section146 Motor Vehicle Act], R.S.B.C. 1998, c. 318, s. 146(1)
  8. ^ "Speed limits going up on some B.C. highways". Archived from the original on 2014-07-06.
  9. ^ News; Canada (3 July 2014). "B.C. speed limit bump to 120 km/h reflects growing consensus that faster is often safer".
  10. ^ "Road Safety: Default Speed Limits". Manitoba Public Insurance. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Residents Portal - Driving in Manitoba". Archived from the original on 2013-10-02.
  12. ^ "Province of Manitoba - News Releases - Speed Limit To Increase On Certain Sections Of Twinned Highway". Archived from the original on 2013-10-02.
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  15. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-08-10. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  16. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-05-27. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-22. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  18. ^ Nunavut Driver's Manual (PDF). Nunavut Department of Economic Development and Transportation. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
  19. ^ "Ontario Highways: A Brief Introduction - History of Ontario's King's Highways". www.thekingshighway.ca. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  20. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-09-29. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  21. ^ SGI. "SGI - Driver's Handbook - Speed". www.sgi.sk.ca/. Archived from the original on 2017-08-20.
  22. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-17. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  24. ^ SAAQ. "School Bus Transportation". SAAQ. Archived from the original on 2013-10-02.
  25. ^ SAAQ. "Speed: Foot off the Gas". SAAQ. Archived from the original on 2013-10-02.
  26. ^ Motor Vehicles Act, R.S.Y. 2002, c. 153, s. 140(4)
  27. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-09-27.
  28. ^ Motor Vehicles Act, R.S.Y. 2002, c. 153, s. 138(1)
  29. ^ "Law Document English View". 24 July 2014. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017.
  30. ^ "United States Department of State: Consular Information Sheet for Canada". Travel.state.gov. Archived from the original on 2008-09-13. Retrieved 2010-10-17.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  32. ^ "MoT Speed Review Report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2009-12-29.
  33. ^ "Speed limits on some B.C. highways to hit 120 km/h". CBC News. 2 July 2014. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  34. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions About Ontario Highways". www.thekingshighway.ca. Archived from the original on 2012-07-16.
  35. ^ "Table 2.8: Apparent Driver Action by Class of Collision, 2013" (PDF). Ontario Ministry of Transportation. 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-05-16.
  36. ^ "Table 7.2: Motor Vehicle Convictions Related to the Highway Traffic Act, 2013" (PDF). Ontario Ministry of Transportation. 2014. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-05-16.
  37. ^ "Ontario org. wants highway speed limits increased from 100 km/h". 18 April 2012. Archived from the original on 22 April 2012.
  38. ^ "Lower residential speed limit considered by Ontario government". CBC News Ottawa. 29 January 2015. Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
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