Speed limits on provincial roadways are established by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) based on the design of the roadway and the environment in which it is located. The Traffic Safety section of DTI’s Operations Branch applies provincial guidelines based on national guidelines along with technical experience and engineering judgement to determine what speed limit is appropriate for a section of roadway.
Municipalities have the authority to determine appropriate speed limits on municipal roads within their boundaries.
A posted speed limit is the MAXIMUM legal speed limit for that section of roadway, based on IDEAL driving conditions. As good drivers know and understand, driving speed needs to be adjusted for the existing driving conditions. For example, when visibility is reduced due to snow, fog, or darkness drivers are responsible to reduce their speed and pay close attention to the roadway.
A number of factors are taken into consideration when determining the appropriate speed limit for a section of roadway, including
- Number and width of driving lanes.
- Shoulder width.
- Horizontal and vertical alignment (ie. curves and hills.)
- Amount of residential and commercial roadside development.
- Number of intersections.
- Traffic volume (the amount of traffic using the roadway.)
- Type and width of sidewalks (or lack thereof.)
- Current operating speeds.
Reducing a speed limit does not necessarily discourage speeding. Research has shown that the majority of drivers will drive at a speed that feels comfortable to them. Arbitrarily lowering a speed limit increases the difference in speed between the drivers who follow the posted speed and those who drive what feels comfortable, which has been proven to reduce overall safety. This is why speed limits are determined based on technical evaluations.
Enforcement is a critical part of ensuring that appropriate speed limits are followed on New Brunswick roadways. Setting appropriate speed limits facilitates enforcement efforts. Concerns of drivers exceeding the legal speed limit or driving without proper care and attention should be identified to your local enforcement agency. Keeping our roadways safe is everyone’s responsibility.
If you feel the speed limit in an area should be reviewed, please send your request detailing the specific area and the concern(s) to TrafficRequests@gnb.ca .