Re: Repeal of the National Speed Limit Law

In article j14@usenet.rpi.edu, kokerj@jec316.its.rpi.edu (James Kokernak) writes:
>In article <3sn87m$smr@hpchase.rose.hp.com>, barry@mothra.rose.hp.com (Barry Fowler) writes:
>|> : >Mark my words now. I am saying this on the record. If the speed limits are
>|> : >raised by 20 MPH or more there will be an immediate increase in accidents
>|> : >and fatalities in those cars not equipped with air bags. The greatest
>|> : >increase will be of people under 30 years old.
>|> People are already driving at the "sinful" speed limits that you claim
>|> will cause a higher degree of fatalities and accidents.  The change in
>|> the speed limit would simply keep them from becoming offenders of the law.
>I would argue that an increase in the number of accidents on interstates
>(which is how the insurance institute will report it) will be due mainly
>to two factors. 
>1. A small percentage of people will overdrive their capabilities 
>   while adjusting to the new speeds. The group most affected will
>   probably be those that drive 55mph now.

   This is certainly true, but I feel this percentage will be EXTREMELY
small.  The truth is, the capabilities needed to drive 75 are not much
higher than those needed to drive 55.  At 75, braking distances are increased,
but not by a significant amount, and reaction times are reduced, but by a
smaller amount.

   In short, anyone capable of driving 55 responsibly should be able to drive
75 responsibly.

>2. An increase in the interstate speed limit (I think MA is already 
>   talking about going to 70mph) will make the interstates a more
>   attractive travel route. There will be a shift of traffic from 
>   rural roads to interstates. This increased congestion, combined 
>   with the effects of (1) will increase the total # of accidents and 
>   fatalities, but not necessarily the # of fatalities per 100 million
>   miles driven. Although the Insurance groups will make it sound like
>   there is carnage at every corner.

   When Texas raised their interstate speed limits from 55 to 65, the traffic
on the interstates stayed pretty much the same.  Interstates at 55 versus rural
roads at 55 are already a better travel route, and most interstates are already
65, so the expected shift from rural roads to interstates should have already
occured.  Further raising the interstate's speed limit would have an
insignificant effect on traffic loads.

>   Someone once refered to these as "bikini statistics"...ones that 
>   suggest a lot but reveal nothing.

   Yep, these are usuually used to sway those on the line.  Not really for or
against an issue.

| Robert A. King                |                                       |
| Systems Software Engineer     |                                       |
| Kodak Health Imaging Systems  |    "I drank WHAT?!?" -- Socrates      |
|                               |                                       |
| king@khan.khis.com            |                                       |
| The opinions expressed here arn't even mine, much less my employer's! |

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