Highway 19 northbound near Parksville. The B.C. government announced the speed limit is being lowered from 120 to 110 kilometres per hour, which takes effect immediately. Photo courtesy BC Highways webcam.

Highway 19 northbound near Parksville. The B.C. government announced the speed limit is being lowered from 120 to 110 kilometres per hour, which takes effect immediately. Photo courtesy BC Highways webcam.

Drivers along east Vancouver Island highways will have to slow down as the B.C. government announced it is rolling back speed limits on 570 kilometres of provincial roads.

The province says it is lowering the speed limits on 15 sections of highways in the province for safety reasons after a three-year review of data where speed limits were increased in 2014.

Sections on Vancouver Island where speed limits are being dropped by 10 kilometres, effective immediately, include Highway 19 from Parksville to Campbell River slowing down from 120 kilometres per hour to 110.

The speed limit on Highway 1 from Cowichan Bay to Nanaimo is going from 90 km/h to 80 and Highway 19 from Bloedel to Sayward is dropping from 100 to 90 km/h.

There were 16 corridors of roads determined in the provincial study to not show a reduction in safety and will not see speed limits change.

Those include Campbell River to Bloedel remaining at 90 km/h and Port McNeill to Port Hardy will stay at 100 km/h.

The three-year safety evaluation found serious collisions increased on 17 highway segments where speed limits increased, and speed limits were rolled back on two of those in 2016.

The province says there will be added police presence on all corridors where collisions increased.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a release that speeding is one of the top three factors that contribute to car crashes, along with driver inattentiveness and road conditions.

B.C. transportation minister Claire Trevana said the goal of rolling back speed limits is to reduce accidents and keep highways open.

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