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A push for faster driving

Organization slams "wrong and arbitrary" speed limits on Highway 407


Councillor Bob Chapman is one of several people calling for a higher speed limit on the soon-to-be-opened portion of Highway 407. Chapman, along with other politicians and professionals, has signed a letter by Stop100, which calls for speed limits as high as 130km/h.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

On today’s highways, many drivers do the safe thing and just go with the flow. However, going with the flow can technically nab you a nasty speeding ticket. Well, one organization is looking to change that on the new stretches of Highway 407.

In an open letter to Steven Del Duca, Ontario’s transportation minister, Chris Klimek, the founder and director of Stop100, is asking the province to consider the science and consider setting “correct” speed limits on the new stretches of freeway.

“If you have ever driven on the 407 ETR yourself, you’ve surely realized that driving at or below the posted speed limit of 100 km/h is neither comfortable, smart or safe,” Klimek writes. “This speed limit is wrong and arbitrary”

Pointing to numbers from the Transportation Association of Canada, Klimek notes that the 85th Percentile, a standard designating the appropriate speed based on engineering and design for a specific highway, is much higher than the set 100 for the new 407.

The letter received support and signatures from professors, doctors and a retired OPP constable along with former Durham Regional Police officer and now Oshawa city councillor Bob Chapman.

By setting lower speed limits, Klimek notes that this actually puts drivers who are merely driving appropriate speeds at danger of being penalized for driving safely.

“Sadly, all those drivers are subject to constant fear, police enforcement, demerit points, insurance rate hikes and tarnished driving records. Virtually all drivers are forced to look out for the police rather than be able to focus entirely on the road,” he writes.

The sentiment was echoed by Chapman.

“When you look at that, technically, all those drivers are breaking the law and technically a police officer can stop them and give them a ticket,” he says. ““It makes perfect sense to me to raise it, to have a study done on it and raise it to an appropriate level.”

According to Stop100, more than 60 countries around the world have increased speed limits to 120 km/h or 130 km/h on divided freeways. The higher limits bring the benefits of better traffic flow, less aggressive driving and will actually increase safety.

“Safety will not be compromised; to the contrary, it could be improved. Unfair fines and speed traps will end,” Klimek writes.

Concluding his letter, Klimek has requested a 60-minute meeting with the minister to discuss the matter.