Re: Repeal of the National Speed Limit Law

In article <3t0ofj$m4s@newsbf02.news.aol.com>, AAPR RB <aaprrb@aol.com> wrote:
>>So it's time for
>>the traffic engineers, and not the insurance industry or any other
>>vested interest, to set the speed limits.
>> -- Chuck Fry, member, National Motorists Association

>The National Motorists Association sounds like a vested interest to me. 
>Nice contradiction, but I won't hold that against you. 

NMA is an organization composed of individuals who like to drive.  We
have no profit motive.

By vested interests, I meant groups like the Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety, whose member organizations stand to profit from overly
restrictive speed limits, and the National Trucking Association, whose
members are large trucking firms that would like to drive the
independent "mom 'n' pop" truckers out of business.  Both of the
aforementioned lobbies are in favor of 55 because they literally make
more money under 55.

>Just to clear a few things up since some people (mostly NMA members by
>chance) have been wildly misinterpriting my statements.
>1) Thank you for posting the reference to the study about speed vs.
>accidents and that it was a published article as opposed to something
>found lying about on the net. We need more references and less opinion. On
>that note I have found myself lacking a few references and will make up
>for them now. 
>Sources for speed causing accidents:
>"The New Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia"
>"Information Please Alminac" from the National Safety Council
>Comptons Encyclopedia
>The California Highway Patrol

The CHP has a vested interest in keeping the speed limit low.  It's
called "job security" and "easy pickings".  It's a cinch to make your
unofficial quota when 90% of the traffic is exceeding the posted limit.

>  The Most Common Causes of Accidents
>The Most Common Causes of Accidents
>   Almost 18 million traffic accidents are reported in the United States
>annually, and more than 450,000 are reported in Canada each year. Human
>error is responsible for about 90 percent of these accidents.
>   The most frequent traffic violations committed by poor drivers are: (1)
>speeding--the principal contributing factor in fatal and nonfatal traffic
>accidents; (2) failing to yield the right-of-way--ranks second in nonfatal
>and third in fatal accidents; and (3) driving under the influence of
>alcohol--a factor in at least half of the fatal accidents." Comptons

Which edition?

>In addition:
>The Gallup Organization conducted a survey in which drivers rated their
>own ability compaired to others on the road. 70% of the respondants
>claimed to have better driving ability than other drivers on the road,
>with nearly half stating their driving aptitude as 'excellent'. Only 36%
>of people reported that they usually drive above the speed limit. (The
>Gallup Organization)

>Psycologists state time and time again that speeding is a direct response
>to the 'challenge' of being passed by another driver. As a driver gets
>passed he (most speeders are men) feels the need to regain his position
>and the race is on. (Orange County Register)

Date of this article, please?

>The California Department of Motor Vehicals conducted a study to determine
>the effects of suspending the licenses of habitual speeders. They stopped
>the suspension of licenses to a control group of people, while continued
>the enforcement with the rest of the habitual speeders for a number of
>months. The study was discontinued after public outrage that the
>non-suspended speeders were shown to be killing themselves and innocent
>people (motorists, passengers and pedestrians) at a greater than normal
>rate. (Orange County Register)

Date of this article, please?

>A published journal article showed that owners of radar detectors were
>MORE likely to get speeding tickets than non-owners. This is primarily due
>to the effect of radar detector owners are a self selected group of people
>who habitually speed.

Reference, please?  I could quote you studies by equally biased sources
that concluded radar detector users are safer drivers than average.

>One of my points about a higher speed limit creating more deaths and
>serious accidents DOES  in fact take into account some of the points that
>NMA members have brought up. Primarily the one about people will drive at
>whatever speed they want no matter what the posted limit. I see it a
>slightly different way. I see it as a percentage over the posted limit.
>Raise the speed limit, all traffic speeds increase. Those who drove
>habitually over the speed limit will still drive over the new speed limit.

I hear this all the time, AND IT IS FALSE.  Tignor and Warren
systematically disproved this old wives' tale.  PEOPLE DRIVE AT THE
T&W proved this by varying the posted limits on various roads and
charting observed speed distributions and accident rates.  No
correlation was found between posted limits and drivers' speeds, or
between posted limits and accident rates.

>And yes, I do have a few speeding tickets. But as an EMT I have also
>pulled a few too many people out of auto accidents. Many of them caused by
>speeds above the flow of traffic.

But you haven't sufficiently demonstrated that the speed "above the flow
of traffic" was the proximate cause of the accident.  Just because speed
was *associated* does not mean it is the *cause*.

 -- Chuck
Chuck Fry  chucko@best.com  chucko@rahul.net  chucko@ptolemy.arc.nasa.gov
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