11/29/2013 03:45 EST | Updated 01/29/2014 05:59 EST

B.C. Highway Safety Review Of Speed, Wildlife Hazards, Tires Begins

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - The B.C. government is stepping on the accelerator with a review of speed limits and other safety issues for provincial highways.

A two-month public consultation process began Friday to review speed limits, winter tires, slow-moving vehicles and wildlife hazards.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone said speed limits on longer stretches of rural highways are being reviewed to ensure appropriate limits are in place because research suggests that it's not speed that kills, but variations in speed.

"This review isn't about increasing speed limits," Stone said.

Winter tires are not mandatory provincewide in B.C., and Stone noted that 60 per cent of winter motorists drive where snow is uncommon.

But snow tires are mandatory on 80 sections of highways from October 1 to April 30, and Stone said the government and the RCMP are reviewing what types of winter tires should be used, depending on regional conditions.

"We want to know if British Columbians agree if winter tires should be mandatory for those specific months," he said. "We also want to get a sense of British Columbians' winter driving habits.

"The RCMP and the Ministry of Transportation agree that tires with the mountain and snowflake symbol are the best choice for driving in severe winter conditions. However, some tires have an M and S symbol, meaning traction in mud and snow. Under the current legislation in British Columbia these M and S tires are also OK where winter tires are required."

He said the government will gather online submissions and input from eight public forums around the province until the end of January.

That feedback will be used to improve road safety and a safety strategy for implementation will be ready to next spring.

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