This afternoon, I had a conversation with Ian Tootill, one the principles behind the organization SENSE BC. As you may know, this is the group lobbying to have some of the speed limits in B.C. raised to reflect current scientific data and public opinion.
Their objective is to raise the limit to the speed currently and safely traveled by 85 per cent of the populace, regardless of the current laws.
There is a lot of strong science behind this. One compelling piece of actuarial science was used in the U.S. to have the speed limits raised from 55 mph to at least 70 mph after the “Oil Shock” of the ‘70s receded.
When the speed was dropped to 55 mph, the insurance industry noted a sharp increase in claims and, along with them, deaths. They commissioned a study that quickly concluded that the increase in claims had resulted from the proportionate increase in time (exposure to risk) that motorists were spending getting to their destinations. Statistical probability tells us that the more exposure that we have to risk, the more likely we are to succumb to that risk in some way.
The insurance industry then presented their facts to Congress and succeeded in having the limits raised.
You can guess what happened then.
It is ironic that on our wonderfully upgraded Sea to Sky Highway, the primary distraction for drivers is watching for police who will then ticket them for going what truly should be the speed limit. This is an issue not only for those of us who live here, but for our two million visitors.
Despite skepticism by some, the current B.C. government has chosen to undertake a review of our outdated speed laws and will hopefully see the reasoning behind this campaign.
It is my hope that as Whistler's highly respected Mayor, you will add your voice and influence to the campaign to bring change to this issue that is actually costing lives rather than saving them.
Please join the 85 per cent of drivers already driving at a safe (but currently illegal) speed and support SENSE BC in their campaign for positive change.
Ross D Smith,