Overview

To help modernize our highway network and align with many other provinces, 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 highway that had a raised speed limit were monitored. 

Locations with raised speed limits

The speed limit will be raised to 110 km/h permanently on the following sections of provincial highways beginning April 22, 2022:

  • Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) from Hamilton to St. Catharines (32 km)
  • Highway 402 from London to Sarnia (90 km)
  • Highway 417 from Ottawa to the Ontario / Quebec Border (102 km)
  • Highway 401 from Windsor to Tilbury (approx. 40 km)
  • Highway 404 from Newmarket to Woodbine (approx. 16 km)
  • Highway 417 from Kanata to Arnprior (approx. 37 km

The speed limit will be raised to 110 km/h on a trial basis on the following sections of provincial highways in Northern Ontario beginning April 22, 2022: 

  • Highway 400 from MacTier to Nobel (approx. 55 km)
  • Highway 11 from Emsdale to South River (approx. 45 km

Road safety and speed enforcement

Public safety on our roads is our number one priority. Each highway section selected for raising the speed limit to 110 km/h has been carefully chosen based on several factors, including the ability to accommodate higher speed limits.

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.

Increased signage

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.

Enforcement

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.

About the pilot project

On September 26, 2019 we raised the posted speed limit on three sections of 400-series highways in southern Ontario to 110 km/h from 100 km/h.

The locations of the pilot were:

  • Queen Elizabeth Way from Hamilton to St. Catharines (32 km)
  • Highway 402 from Sarnia to London (90 km)
  • Highway 417 from Gloucester (east of Ottawa) to the Ontario-Quebec border (102 km)

During the pilot, we:

  • monitored its effectiveness
  • consulted with the public and our enforcement partners

About public consultation

On March 29, 2022 we published a Regulatory Registry Posting to receive public comments on the proposed changes to Ontario’s speed limit regulation. You can submit your feedback until April 7, 2022.

Pilot project survey

In September 2019 we published an online survey about raising speed limits on Ontario highways and the raised speed limit pilot.

Over 8,300 people responded to the survey. Participants responded to 15 questions about four themes that guide our approach to speed limits on highways across the province. People answered questions about:

  • 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

On March 29, 2022 we published a Regulatory Registry Posting to receive public comments on the proposed changes to Ontario’s speed limit regulation. You can submit your feedback until April 7, 2022.

What we heard from the pilot project survey

Driving style

99% of respondents stated that they are licensed to drive on 400-series highways in Ontario.

When we 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
  • 8% prefer to drive in the lane with the least traffic

When it comes to operating speeds:

  • 61% feel comfortable driving at speeds higher than the posted limit of 100 km/h
  • 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
  • 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.

Speed limits

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. Almost 50% think that most drivers exceed 100 km/h, and more than 40% think that most drivers regularly operate their vehicles at speeds over 120 km/h on 400-series highways.

When asked about operating speeds in pilot areas, 55% of the respondents think that drivers will not change their speeds in the pilot zones and 44% think that operating speeds will go up in these areas.

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.

Enforcement

When we asked about the amount of enforcement that is adequate to enforce compliance with the increased speed limit pilot:

  • 52% of the respondents think that the current level of enforcement is adequate
  • 33% of the respondents believe that more enforcement would be necessary

Of the respondents that support the two-year pilot, 65% responded that the current levels of enforcement are enough.

Of the respondents that do not support the two-year pilot, 77% feel that current levels of enforcement are not enough.

We asked about enforcement required if we raised speed limits on all 400-series highways:

  • 50% of the respondents think that no changes in enforcement levels are necessary
  • 25% of the respondents think that more speed enforcement would be required

Support for raised speed limits

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.

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