Have higher speed limits made B.C. roads more dangerous?

Two years ago, the provincial government increased speed limits on 33 stretches of road in B.C. in an effort to make them safer.

A report on the changes released Tuesday by the Transportation Ministry found that crash rates have dropped or are unchanged on 19 of 33 sections of highway where speed limits were increased.

Accidents were up on 14 of the 33 stretches of road where speeds were increased, but speed wasn’t necessarily to blame in all but two cases.

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MORE: British Columbia’s 12 deadliest highways

“The top three contributing factors in collisions in British Columbia, particularly during this period, is driver inattentiveness; weather or road conditions that can change very quickly; and thirdly, it’s driving too fast for the road conditions,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said.

However, he said at least three years worth of data are needed to determine whether speed has been a major factor.

Stone believes roads that have seen an increase in accidents could be made safer through engineering and other measures so the higher speed limits could remain.

READ MORE: Who is watching you on B.C. Highways?

But speed limits will be lowered in a couple of areas — on Highway One from Hope to Boston Bar, where 90 km/h will replace the 100 km/h limit, and Highway 5A from Aspen Grove to Princeton, where the 90 km/h speed limit will drop to 80 km/h.

A stretch on the connector from the Penask Summit to Peachland will see new variable speed limits.

Stone says the 120 km/h speed limit on the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Kamloops will remain because that section has had low collision rates.

– With files from Ted Chernecki and

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