Increase of Highway Speed Limits to 110 km/hour: Important Facts to Know

As part of a recent pilot project, the speed limit on certain Ontario highways, namely portions of the 402, the QEW, and the 417 have been increased to 110 km/hour in an attempt to improve traffic flow.

As novel as many commuters will find this, there are several things people must keep in mind:

  1. Watch the signage. In some locations, the increase to 110 km/hour spans short distances of highway. Drivers must be mindful of when the speed limits decrease again, as you will be subject to increased fines if you maintain your speed in those areas.

  2. As any driver in Ontario knows, people have been driving 110 km/hour on the 400-series highways prior to this change without regard for the speed limit. This is not an opportunity for those drivers’ to adjust their speed another 10 km higher, thinking that the risk of driving 10 km/hour over the speed limit remains the same. Any increase in speed leads to an increased risk of injury and fatality.

  3. Leave more space between vehicles. As most people are used to driving on 100 km/hour highways, you will be inclined to leave the same amount of visual space between yourself and the car in front of you. However, as you are travelling at an increased speed, you will need more time to stop.

  4. Despite the increase in speed limit, stunt driving penalties continue to apply at 150 km/hour. This means that you will be subject to significant fines, vehicle impoundment, and criminal charges at 40 km/hour over the speed limit, not the usual 50 km/hour over. In addition to monetary and criminal penalties, a stunt driving charge can reduce your entitlement to claim certain benefits from your auto insurer if you are in an accident.  Normally, regardless of who is at fault for an accident, an injured person is entitled to claim benefits through their own insurer. These benefits may include income replacement and funding to support your medical recovery, such as coverage for treatment expenses, attendant care, or housekeeping assistance. However, if you are charged with a Criminal Code offence such as stunt driving, you may be prohibited from receiving any income support or housekeeping assistance. This can leave you injured and unable to work, without any financial support. People must be aware of the increased risk of incurring such a stunt driving charge in the new designated speed areas.  
Written by

Lauren Cullen is an associate lawyer at Siskinds LLP in London, Ontario. She practices exclusively in personal injury litigation and is a member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA). Lauren completed her law degree at Western University in 2016 and subsequently articled at a top personal injury law firm in Toronto.