A drivers’ advocacy group says Ontario is keeping speed limits on 400-series highways artificially low to make money off speeding tickets, and that increasing highway speeds would actually make drivers safer.

The advocacy group, Stop100.ca, has launched a petition to have the current 100 kilometre-an-hour speed limit raised to a “reasonable” 120 or 130 kilometres per hour. The group’s website says current speed limits make safe freeway speeds illegal, “exposing drivers to unfair punishment.”

The website’s petition had nearly 23,000 signatures by Thursday afternoon.

The site claims that Ontario has the lowest rural speed limit of any industrialized nation in the world, and that a 130 km/h limit would have no impact on the number of automobile fatalities.

It cites Italy, Belgium, Sweden and the state of Texas as just a few jurisdictions where the speed limits are higher than they are in Ontario.

Germany, home to the famous autobahn highways, is safer than Canada in terms of car-related deaths, according to statistics from the World Health Organization. Germany has no posted speed limit for many of its autobahns, yet the country registers only 4.7 deaths per 100,000 cars, according to the WHO. In Canada, that rate is 6.8 deaths per 100,000 cars.

More than 750,000 drivers are issued speeding tickets in Ontario each year, with a maximum fine of $10,000 for reaching speeds more than 50 km/h over the limit. Punishments may also include licence suspensions and jail time.