Ontario is raising speed limits from 100 km/h to 110 km/h on carefully selected sections of provincial highways. The decision to raise speed limits on appropriate sections of highways follows a pilot project that began in 2019 where three sections of highways that had a raised speed limit were monitored.
The speed limit will be raised to 110 km/h permanently on the following sections of provincial highways beginning April 22, 2022, including on Highway 417 from Ottawa to the Ontario/Quebec Border (102 km) and from Kanata to Arnprior (approx. 37 km).
The province will continue to monitor the operations and safety performance of all sections where the posted speed limit of 110 km/h is implemented. These highway sections will have extra safety measures, such as increased signage and messaging to help ensure that all drivers know where the speed limit changes.
Stunt driving penalties will continue to apply at 150 km/h. This means that in the pilot zones, the stunt driving penalties will apply at 40 km/h over the posted speed limit, not the usual 50 km/h over. All other speeding penalties (Highway Traffic Act and regulatory requirements) continue to apply.
On September 26, 2019, the posted speed limit on three sections of 400-series highways in southern Ontario was raised to 110 km/h from 100 km/h, including on Highway 417 from Gloucester (east of Ottawa) to the Ontario-Quebec border (102 km).
On March 29, 2022 the government published a Regulatory Registry Posting to receive public comments on the proposed changes to Ontario’s speed limit regulation. Feedback can be posted until April 7, 2022.
An online survey about raising speed limits on Ontario highways and the raised speed limit pilot was published in September, 2019. Over 8,300 people responded to 15 questions about four themes: driving style, including lane choice, comfortable speed and traffic speed limits, including current posted speed limit versus desired posted speed limit, operating speed differences and anticipated operating speeds in pilot areas enforcement, including level required for effective speed limit enforcement support for raised speed limits, including the raised speed limit pilot and raising speed limits on more 400-series highways.
Whene asked which lane respondents prefer to drive in, 54% stated that they prefer to drive in the lane that best matches their speed; 14% prefer to drive in the middle lane; 14% prefer to drive in the right lane; 10% prefer to drive in the left lane, and 8% prefer to drive in the lane with the least traffic.
61% feel comfortable driving at speeds higher than the posted limit of 100 km/h, while 29% adjust their speed according to the driving conditions. Fewer than 10% of the respondents declared that they feel most comfortable driving around the posted speed limit of 100 km/h, and 1% feel most comfortable driving below 100 km/h.
Of the respondents that support the two-year pilot, roughly 70% of respondents stated that they feel most comfortable driving at 100 km/h or higher. Of the respondents who do not support the two-year pilot, 41% stated that they feel most comfortable driving around 100 km/h and 23% stated that they feel most comfortable driving between 100 – 120 km/h.
Also, when it comes to comparing speed differences between respondents and the other drivers in traffic, half of the respondents stated that they must match the speed of traffic to feel comfortable driving on freeways, and over 40% are comfortable driving faster than most other drivers.
When asked about the posted speed of 100 km/h on Ontario’s 400 series highways, almost 80% of the respondents think 100 km/h is too slow. Most respondents think that drivers exceed speed limits. When asked about potential changes in operating speeds on highway sections before and after the pilot areas, 66% of the respondents think speeds will not change, and the remaining third believe that drivers will travel faster.
Of those who responded, 80% of the people support the raised speed limit pilot. There is also strong support (82%) for increasing speed limits on more sections of 400-series highways.