Excessive Speed and Careless Driving


Speed is one of the leading causes of death on B.C. roads. It is also a behaviour that is very easy to eliminate – Just. Slow. Down. Speed increases the risk of vehicle collisions – it comes with a high price. Crashes causing damages and injuries take a huge toll on insurance and other costs; however, from a public safety perspective, the greatest cost of speed is trauma and human life.

Speed is a significant factor in the number of fatalities and the number and severity of the injuries that result from road crashes. It is clear that reduced speeds not only reduce the likelihood of a crash but also reduce the severity of injuries when crashes occur.

Reducing Speed Reduces the Effects of Impact

Reducing the effects of vehicle impact is possible by maintaining a safe driving speed. By driving at a safe speed, you have more time to react and more distance for braking.

Ideally, you want your speed at impact to be zero (or better yet: no impact at all). However, in order for the vehicle to decelerate to zero, it needs to travel through the stopping distance. Stopping distance takes into account the road conditions, your reaction time, the distance between your vehicle and possible point of impact, and the speed of the vehicle. You do have control of your speed.

  • A pedestrian hit at 30km/h has a 90% chance of surviving
  • A pedestrian hit at 50km/h has an 80% chance of being killed

Speeding, Fines and Penalties

Speeding in B.C. is enforced by police who can issue violation tickets to drivers travelling faster than the posted speed limit. If not otherwise posted, the speed limit inside a municipality is 50km/h and outside it is 80km/h. In child zones (schools and playgrounds) the limit is 30km/h during the appropriate hours.

Police can issue a violation ticket for speeding and, notwithstanding the posted limit, officers can also issue a violation ticket for speed relative to conditions in the case of icy roads, crowded or narrow streets, poor visibility, etc. To see the list of speeding penalty points and fines associated with speeding see Fines and penalty points for B.C. traffic offences page on the ICBC website.

Penalty points are also applied to the driving records of driving offenders upon court conviction of traffic violation tickets.

For more information see the following sections of the Motor Vehicle Act (all sections listed below reside in Part 3 of the act):

  • Construction Zone Speed Obedience - Section 140 MVA
  • Speed Relative to Conditions - Section 144(1)(c) MVA
  • Speed Limits - Section 146 MVA
  • School & Playground Zone Speed Limits - Section 147 MVA
  • Excessive Speed - Section 148 MVA

If you disagree with a violation ticket and/or attached fine, you must dispute your ticket within 30 days, otherwise the courts will deem you guilty, you will owe the fine, and penalty points will be applied accordingly. For information see Disputing a traffic violation ticket page on the ICBC website.

Excessive Speeding

Excessive speeding is defined in the Motor Vehicle Act as driving at a speed greater than 40 km/h over the speed limit. As speed is one of the leading causes of fatalities on our highways, excessive speed can often be a death sentence for everyone involved – the driver, their passengers and other innocent road-users.

Fines —The faster you drive, the higher the fine

  • Exceeding the driving limit by more than 40 km/h— $368 fine plus the driver will receive three penalty points on his or her driving record
  • Exceeding the driving limit by more than 60 km/h — $483 fine plus the driver will receive three penalty points on his or her driving record

Impoundment of the Vehicle

Excessive speeding will also result in the immediate impoundment of the vehicle you are driving and costs:

  • seven days for a first offence plus towing and storage costs – at least $210
  • 30-days for a second offence within a two-year period plus towing and storage costs – approximately $700
  • 60 days for any subsequent offences within two years plus towing and storage costs – over $1200

See Vehicle Impoundment page on this website for more information.

If Someone Else Gets Your Vehicle Impounded

Vehicle owners should set clear ground rules for anyone they let drive their vehicle -- the Motor Vehicle Act places ultimate responsibility on vehicle owners for the manner in which their vehicle is operated. That means the owner pays the towing and storage costs when it is time to retrieve their impounded vehicle.


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