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. 

The NMA isn't asking to set the limits, though.  

}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. 

Oh goody, dueling sources.  Mine's the 1995 World Almanac, also from
the National Safety Council.

}"Information Please Alminac" from the National Safety Council
}Comptons Encyclopedia
}The California Highway Patrol
}  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

In fatal accidents, my source lists speeding at 16.5%, failure to
yield at 7.8%, and "no improper driving" at 42.3%.  In injury
accidents, speeding is 13.5%, failure to yield 17.3%, and "no improper
driving" 27.3$.  For total accidents, speeding is 12.2%, failure to
yield is 15.1%, and no improper driving 31.2%.  Note that failure to
yield is only one type of right-of-way violation.  Include them all
and the numbers are 12.7%, 25%, and 20.6% for fatal, injury, and total
accidents respectively.  Speeding -- speed too fast or unsafe-- is the
most common single driving error resulting in fatal accidents,  but it
still accounts for only 16.5% of those.  

}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)

So people lie to pollsters, what else is new?  I usually drive over
the speed limit, and I consider myself in the bottom 30% of driving

}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)

Psychologists are full of hot air.  I speed all the time, and am
rarely passed.  If I am passed, I don't try to regain my position-- I
speed up and let the guy ahead of me flush out the cops.  Often I'll
pass him (or her-- a significant portion of upper 5 percentile
speeders are women, from my observation) again when traffic slows us
down, as I'm pretty good at moving through traffic (having a small car helps).

And almost EVERYONE speeds, in the sense of violating the posted
limit, so I'm not sure I accept that "most speeders are men".

}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)

As compared to the suspended speeders, or as compared to other
drivers?  Since the study wasn't completed, it is impossible to draw
valid conclusions.    Or do you think suspending a license is akin to
chopping off someone's right foot?

}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.

This makes sense.

}I haven't mentioned this before but will now. I am not oppsed to a raised
}speed limit being passed by the govt. In fact I am slightly for it.
}However, I'm also pretty sure that many states won't change their speed
}limits even if they were given control of them. If they did, only in
}select (probably rural) areas.

Probably true as they are now addicted to the revenues brought in by
speeding tickets.

}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.

Did you read the study?  It showed that this effect _didn't_ happen.
Raising the speed limit actually lowered traffic speeds in some

}Assuming that all traffic will stay at the same average speed even with an
}increase in posted speed limit and without adjusting to the newer speed
}over time is unsound logic and psychology.

Which is why empirical research was done.  

}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.

Oh, another EMT who wants people to slow down so his job will be
easier.  How about if I just don't wear my seatbelt, then they'll be
no need for an EMT, just a high-pressure hose?