The following is an introduction I used in a debate I did on the NMSL (which I won). Copyrighted 1996 by Kevin Atkinson however fell free to use parts of it in your own debate. I hope it serves useful. Be warned, however, that it is not very well proof read.
"Speed Kills", "Speed Kills"
"The 55 Saved Lives", "The 55 Saved Lives"
those are the arguments the insurance companies and all those who would benefit from an insanely low speed limit have been brainwashing, you and the rest of the American public with. Yes, brainwashing.
However, nothing can be farther from the truth. Both of those Arguments were made using faulty, self-directed, science, otherwise known as political science. Most of those studies didn't look at the full picture; many of them look only at fatalities and not the fatality rate and others only compare data for one or two years. Many of these arguments were used by cherry picking there way through the stats, to get the results that they wanted. Then by, using this date they make there arguments and they make them load. And when you say anything for load enough, for long enough it unfortunately becomes truth. <pause> (forcefully) But its not the truth.
For one thing speed does necessarily kill and speeding is hardly ever the cause of an accident. Yes KE=mv^2 but this only applies if you run into something. And if speed is at all a factor it is because of driving to fast for conditions, (up tone) which has nothing to do with the speed limit; as the speed could of been under the posted limit.
However, even if the speed kills argument holds water, which it doesn't, it wouldn't matter because increasing the speed limit does not increase motorist speed. There for the "speed kills" argument is irrelevant because if speed doesn't increase how can it kill.
Yes, speed limits are for the most part irrelevant. To spite popular belief drivers do not automatically drive 10-15 mph above the speed limit. They just happen to be set 10-15 mph below the speed of traffic, especially on the nations urban freeways, thanks to the NMSL. The idea is a well known engineering principles.
The fact is most drivers will drive at a confortable speed for conditions. Some people think they drive no more than 10 mph above the speed limit but in actually they just drive with the flow of traffic. The only time this might be true is when there is hardly any traffic. But even then unless they use cruse control you will find them driving at a speed they fell contrtable at. Most drivers hardly ever watch there speedometers.
(show) This 1992 federal study, intitled Effects of Raising and Lowering Speed Limits put out by the federal government proves JUST that. The study, based on sound science unlike all the "speed kills" studies, showed first hand that speed limits had hardly any effect on drivers behavior or accidents rates. In fact raising the speed limit in general decreased accidents and lowering them increased accidents. This study was an intense 7 year study based on sound science. No one has found any serious flaws in this study and I doubt they ever will. Drivers drive at a speed they fell convertible at regardless of the limit.
When Maryland went to 65 mph this summer traffic speeds did not increase one bit. When the Speed limit was 55 on most of I-70 traffic speed was about 70, when it went to 65 mph the traffic speed remained 70. This data was directly from MDOT.
Speaking of the 65mph speed limit, the bump to 65 mph on rural intestates would up saving lives. Traffic fatalities in the 40 states that went to 65 mph decreased 3.5% more than the states that kept the 55 mph speed limit according to this (show) 1992 AAA study intitles "Did the 65 mph Speed limit Save Lives?" Did it? Yes, when you looked at the big picture, unlike the other studies on the effects of 65. The author of this study also was part of the committee that put out "55: A Decade of Experience." The author of the post was so convinced by the data he changed his mind!
The NMSL also forced offices to somewhat heavily patrol the nations intestates in fear of loosing highway funds which did nothing to increase traffic safety. Why? What happens when most people see a speed trap. They slam on there breaks. Now how can this improve safety? It doesn't. In fact it decreases safety most of the time. These cops could be much better used going after the idiots who tailgate and wave there way though traffic instead of sitting on the side of a road with a radar gun randomly taxing winners of the reverse lottery. And this is what causes a general disrespect for all police officers.<slight pause>
The only way speed patrolling can be benifital on controlling speeds is if it is constant patrolling because as soon as soon as the cops disappear people will speed up. And a constant patrolling of a highway is simply way to expensive.
The NMSL doesn't allow people to travel the designed speed for most freeways which in generally 70mph. Yes, you herd me write these roads were engineered for speeds of about 70mph. Ask any traffic engineer and he will confirm it. And that speed is about the speed people travel on them.
But this creates a dilemma. Because those that want to drive legally drive 55 when traffic is moving 70. And, According the Maryland drivers handbook, and I quote, "Studies have shown that the more you depart from the traffic seed, wither faster or slower, the greater your chances are of having an accident". So this means that the legal 55 driver is MORE dangerous than the speeder 70 mph drivers. This makes a legal driver a more dangerous driver? Something is not right here. The NMSL makes safe driving illegal! That's waht illegal because it is illegal to go 70 mph in 70 mph traffic if the speed limit is set at 55. If the limit was set at 70 mph, like it should be, this wouldn't be a problem!
Take a step toward making safe driving legal, don't reinstate the NMSL.
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