Monday, August 04, 2008

That 70s Show Rerun

Speed does not kill!!!! But bending statistics should be punishable by death!

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the United States tends to break the law when it comes to speeding. And, the higher the speed limit, the more we break it.

Ok, any survey by the Insurance Institute is biased, agreed? And I'd like to see some real facts on how Americans rate against other countries when it comes to enforcing and obeying speed limits. I dare say we might look pretty good then.

After studying several metropolitan and rural areas, they found that when speed limits were posted at 65 mph, 19 percent of passenger vehicles sped by more than 5 mph. When the limits were posted at 70 mph, 35 percent broke the limit by the same amount or more.

Let's see... you can only set a 70 m.p.h. limit in the most hospitable terrain - isolated, flat, good sight lines, little severe weather - so going faster might be a function of the perceived safety to do so and decreased chances of enforcement. Does that mean people don't speed when limits are lower? Of course not. But perhaps people are bright enough to slow down where it is warranted. I'm so sick of limits dropping lower and lower. 25 is ridiculous! Even in front of a school!!! Keep traffic flowing. Use crossing guards and lights. But to slow to 45 m.p.h. on a country road just because some knee-jerk moms don't want you driving past their house? Why did you buy a house on a highway lady? Teach your kids to stay out of the road and I'll teach my car to stay out of your sandbox.

Why worry about it? The Institute has shown that faster speeds increase the frequency and severity of crashes and help push up crash rates. Speeding contributed to about 32 percent of U.S. crash deaths in 2006, resulting in more than 13,500 fatalities.

Severity? Yes. Simple physics. Frequency? I'm not convinced. Contributed is the key factor here. Note it is not caused, just contributed. So if there were any other factors, such as impaired driver, inexperienced driver, weather, etc. any ESTIMATED (how many fatal crashes are clocked on radar moments before impact?) miles over (even one) is suddenly blaming speed as a contributing factor.

And don't get me started on lowering speed limits because it saves gas!!! How about providing me a high-speed monorail route to my job if you want to save so much gas!!

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