Chris Klimek of LTE on Cost of Low Speed Limits to Drivers – Oct 8, 2013

LTEA friend of mine, a nurse who also teaches college and has two teenage children has recently received a speeding citation on a clear, straight, multi-lane stretch of highway 401 near Cobourg. She was charged with going 130 km/h in a 100 km/h zone. Her charge was not reduced in court when she pleaded not guilty. Her punishment included roadside humiliation, a $259 fine, 4 demerit points and an upcoming painful insurance rate hike. All for driving at a safe and reasonable speed millions of us drive every day.

Unfortunately, in Ontario, our authorities refuse us a reasonable speed limit. Who cares that over sixty jurisdictions world-wide, including half of the U.S. and most of the EU can legally drive at 120 and 130 km/h. Driving on our 400-series highways simply must be illegal.

My friend’s driving would be praised in such respectable countries as France, Denmark or Germany – all of which have extremely safe highways and recognize 130 km/h as a safe speed outside of metropolitan areas. Her driving would also receive a police officer’s thumbs up in Texas and Utah.

Shame on our province for punishing safe and prudent drivers and inflicting financial pain on their families for no wrongdoing!

Chris Klimek is a founder of – a group demanding increasing of the 400-series highway speed limit to globally-recognized 120-130 km/h.

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Milena Cardinal


  1. OK, so the limit changes to 120, will enforcement begin at 121 or creep to 15 over like now?
    Our population is aging, how would this affect average drivers, as I see some young and old now doing much less and much more?

    Before metric the 401 was 70 miles per hour, the highway design has not changed (cars have & deer still jump out), is there supporting evidence from that time on accidents?

    Oh, and your friend was doing something wrong, if not a judge would tear up the ticket, and the whole thing would not have happened if driving 110KPH.

  2. Some of those countries listed on the website have milder winters than ours, will there be a winter speed?

  3. The 400 series highways have a design speed of 120 kph. This design speed is based on average driver comfort, not physics, and has a safety factor of 1.5. How do I know this? I was a designer for the MTO pre-Harris days. These rules were also based on criteria from the 70s. With today’s cars and new tire technologies, that factor of safety is probably closer to 2. For me, driving 100 kph on these highways is dangerous, not only the fact that you’re probably going to get run over, but also the fact that it’s like watching paint dry. I get bored. If I’m going 120-140, I’m much more alert of my surroundings.

    Also, why did the government set the speed limiter on tractor trailers to 105 if the limit is 100?

  4. I think the limit is kept so low so that the police can pull over (harass) anyone driving at 110 or 120, which is usually the normal speed of the traffic. I got pulled over and checked out for doing 105 on the 401 near Brockville many years ago. Pretty sure it was because I had a beard and longish hair back then.

  5. Living in an ideal world with people who respect the rules of the road and others.. No problem.
    But we live in a world where 20 extra clicks would still have
    Mr. A–hole filling my rear-view mirror with even less of a reaction stopping time.
    Also, an increase in the top speed requires an increase of the minimum speed, which would be 80 instead of 60, because it is the differential in speed that increases the risk of accident.
    You might need to change your tires to a higher rating to avoid a catastrophic blowout; and do you have the skill to handle it; or a high speed skid for that matter? Would you be ready to go back to driving school to come up to the much higher standards demanded in the countries you mentioned? I doubt it.
    Lastly, conservation of fuel. Every ten clicks increases fuel consumption by a factor of 1.8; If anything, we should be reducing speeds to lower pollution.
    So lighten up, slow down, open the window and take a deep breath, ’cause you left early and you can enjoy the leisurely drive… if it wasn’t for the a–hole in the rear-view mirror, that is! lol

  6. It’s about time we get the government to finally acknowledge that the manner these limits are being enforced amounts to legalized extortion. If speed was really the issue, they could do a better job of making people stay consistently slowed down by employing technological solutions rather than doing these fundraising sprees that cause people to slam on their brakes when they realize they’re going 120 approaching a cruiser. It would be more cost-effective than the salaries paid to constables to sit in a car and hold a device when they have no expectation of zipping into traffic on a 400-series highway to actually stop and identify the person. The accidents are more the fault of bad driving practices like tailgating, sudden lane changes, sudden braking, driving inappropriately fast on a curve for the road conditions at the time, etc. Speed will affect the severity of the accident when it finally happens, but it won’t happen purely because of going fast until you start getting into speeds that are ridiculously high for each particular situation, as demonstrated by the millions of Canadians who regularly push 120 or greater on the straight stretches of the 400s during decent weather without causing an accident on a daily basis.
    These limits are evidently ignored by the majority of drivers. Where’s the sense in a law that the majority chooses to ignore? Either back it up by proper enforcement that will lead to consistent predictable driving practices (though the pace and feel of 100 on the 400-series might make some people fall asleep and ditch themselves) instead of erratic behaviour from speeders, or revise the law to be more in line with common practices and enforce a new law that recognizes the real dangers to drivers on the highways.

  7. Author

    On the 400 highways there’s generally some leeway. It’s rare that you’d get pulled over doing 110KMH

    If you raise the limits to 120 wouldn’t people just drive 140?

  8. Speeding and putting others at risk isn’t an intelligent way to lobby for higher speed limits.

  9. Ive driven transport trucks and commuted to Montreal from Cornwall for 25 years. Ive seen everything, 10 times over. The MOST dangerous situation ive witnessed is a slow driver doing 60 to 80kph. This was more common in Quebec in the fast lane. (even more dangerous) Quebec drivers are very fast, and seemingly have the get in front of you at all costs. Whereas in Toronto its opposite, drivers are slower, (sometimes in total fear!) and all stick to the fast lane apparently unable to judge the Right side of their vehicle. Cars are safer today, and the limits should at least go to 110 for cars. Allowances should go to 125, allowing the Police to judge whether you are safely driving in certain weather conditions, or your car is in a safe condition. Anybody with a G1 or a G2 or under age of 21 should not be allowed to have a cell phone turned on while driving. From a transports view, you have no idea the young drivers that are playing with phones while swerving beside me. Also all 400 series highways should have Phone Areas to pull or text. The absence of these force people to break the law. In the USA, rest areas are frequent, even on smaller roads..why does Canada not adopt these? I strongly believe the limits are staying the same for financial reasons.

  10. I think a speed limit of 110 km would be very wise on the 401 which when given the fact most police officers don’t stop anyone doing 120 and lower that would raise the average speed limit to 130 where the nurse was unfortunately she was 10 kph above the limit that police seem to ticket at thats just a fact too bad she did not know this . I started driving the 401 when the speed limit was 70 mph the average speed at the time on the 401 was 90 mph I often drove faster sometime approaching 100 I was young a foolish.
    The reason the speed was reduced was because of the Gulf wars not metric 60 miles and hour it was a gas conservation thing not metric metric rounded the speed off to 100 thats all.
    As for the 401 the road is much safer now its actually wider with noise bars in many places brake down and acceleration lanes have been lengthened . to day cars get better mileage most cars have disc brakes instead of drum radial tires with new technology have all added to the safety factor . What makes the 401 dangerous now are transport trucks with governors that limit there speed to around the 100 mark when they decide to pass and then the other one decides to not let him the back and forth motions are so dangerous often lasting many kilometers at several other doing the same thing with anxious cars mixed into the fray lining up jockeying for position its a recipe for a accident there needs to be a law either keeping the trucks in the right lane or forcing the driver being over taken to reduce speed with in a kilometer . the reality is these are bored dangerous truck drivers that play this game the furthest i had to drive behind a group of these drivers was more than 15 kilometers three of them playing the game over and over. by the way the number 2 highway was 60 mph it was much narrower and had many more passing areas the dangerous people are the ones that drive below the speed limit now as well as the tailgators in all areas.

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