Sunday November 23, 2014


Survey results are meant for general information only, and are not based on recognised statistical methods.

Need for speed


Some Saskatchewan motorists are clammouring for the provincial government to follow B.C.'s lead, and increase the speed limit on some divided highways to 120 kilometres per hour.

B.C. recently became a trend-setter in Canada by announcing the speed limit would increase from 110 to 120 in some areas. The B.C. government's decision didn't sit well with all groups, but it should be welcomed by motorists who already travel at speeds higher than what was regulated.

Don't expect Saskatchewan's government to be in a rush to move to 120.

It was just 11 years ago that the province changed the speed limits on divided highways from 100 to 110 kilometres an hour, following the lead of Alberta and other provinces. It made perfect sense: the speed limit on most single-lane Saskatchewan highways was 100 kilometres per hour.

Why not make it 110 for twinned highways, which are safer and more condusive to faster traffic? Were our twinned highways any less dangerous than Alberta, which had allowed motorists to travel 110 for years?

Of course, some will argue that Saskatchewan's double lane highways are already allowing speeds of 120 kilometres per hour, since police typically won't ticket motorists driving 10 kilometres over the speed limit.

There isn't much of a difference, on a divided highway in rural Saskatchewan, between 110 and 120, just like there hasn't been an increase risk of being on the highways since the Saskatchewan government increased the speed limit 11 years ago.

There is a safety threshold for speed limits, but on divided highways, 110 and 120 both fall beneath that threshold.

Those who drive 140 or 150 kilometres are unsafe. Likewise, those who insist on driving 80 or 90 kilometres an hour on most highways in Saskatchewan are an equal or even a greater threat.

Drive according to the road conditions, the weather and the traffic, and you should be fine. 

Change the speed limit to 120 on Highway 1 between Swift Current and Moose Jaw, and it won't make the highway any more dangerous. Increasing the speed limit by 10 makes far more sense than a return to 100 kilometres per hour.

Divided highways that cut through communities might need a speed limit decrease in some areas. These highways are becoming increasingly busy, and more dangerous for motorists trying to access them.

There is one thing in favour of driving 120. It's a safe speed on a divided highway, and it's equivalent to two kilometres a minute. That makes it very easy to tabulate driving time.

The numbers have spoken. Set the speed to 120. 



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