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Old 07-23-2009, 06:30 PM   #1
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higher speeds = more deaths

An article stating the obvious.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20090716...herspeedlimits

Even on a DB with relatively conservative drivers, this will not sit well. I've heard so many times that higher speed limits means less frustration, and so everyone will cooperate and drive the same speed, and thus less accidents. Welcome to the real world of physics. Faster speeds means more kinetic energy transferred to the occupants at crash time, and thus more injuries and deaths.

I can only hope that in most cases the speeders are the ones dying from blunt force injuries, decapitations, sudden limb removal, being squashed, landing on pavement at 92-mph, glass particle inhalation, fire-ball infernos, and impalement.
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Old 07-23-2009, 08:33 PM   #2
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I would prefer not to see anybody killed or injured like that...I've seen the results first hand enough times already.

However, it does happen...it's not only speed (of course, speed does magnify the effects), it's also inattention (that one's happened to me), fatigue (also happened to me), distraction (and before someone goes off on cellular phones, remember this...a cell phone can be turned off--an angry loved one in the car with you cannot), impairment, stupidity (probably me also!), and, last but not least, mechanical problems. All these things can land you in the hospital or kill you at 55mph just as easily as at 80mph.

When I was growing up (in the age of dinosaurs and tail-fins), the only piece of safety equipment in our cars was the nut that held the wheel. It's still the most important piece of safety equipment.
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Old 07-23-2009, 08:40 PM   #3
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Naaaaa... impacts at 55 are much lower intensity than 80. As one who has laid down a motorcycle, I am very, very glad it was at 55 rather than 80. 55 hurt enough the way it was.

And there was safety glass even back in the tailfin era.
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:24 PM   #4
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I'm curious how they scientifically compensated for changes in safety equipment, the rise of cell phone use by motor vehicle operators (1995 was the era of pagers and shoe-sized cells) and other factors before drawing their conclusion.
Correlation ≠ causation.
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:14 PM   #5
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In fact, I said speed AMPLIFIED the effects of an impact. I just said that impacts at 55 can put you in the hospital or kill you just as dead as at 80.

I also am glad I was going only 55 or so when I hit the back of a car while on a bike 30 years ago this past Tuesday. Caught my right leg between the handlebars and the tank...snapped my right femur clean in two...still have a rod in it to this day.

And you're right...safety glass was a big improvement over the old plate glass used back in the early '20s...
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:27 PM   #6
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Right you are!
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Old 07-24-2009, 04:31 AM   #7
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I'll agree 100% that accidents at higher speeds are more deadly. However it's a much broader issue.

Studies also show that the lower the speed limit on any road, the higher the standard deviation of speeds. And the DIFFERENCE in speeds is what CAUSES more accidents. If everyone is going between 68 to 72 on a highway, the liklihood of an accident is much less than if traffic in a 55-MPH zone is going between 55 and 70. That's just how it is.

I also will agree that too many drivers don't slow down under adverse conditions. Today is very rainy around here, probably the rainiest commute I've had in a while. And there were two disctinct groups- those who slowed down because of the rain, that those who maintained normal speeds. So in addition to the accidents caused by poor weather, it gets even worse because the standard deviation is so much higher (a bimodal distribution, I'm sure).

Like bobski said, "Correlation ≠ causation", and that particular article was written by someone with such incredibly poor understanding of statistics and logic that it becomes useless to read (although the broader topic is still interesting to discuss). Maybe the study itself is interesting, but the article is useless. Interestingly enough, when I follow the link from the news article, it leads to the front page of the NHTSA which makes the claim "The number of overall traffic fatalities reported in 2008 hit the lowest level since 1961 and fatalities in the first three months of 2009 continue to decrease", which seems to contradict the article...

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Old 07-24-2009, 06:00 AM   #8
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I'll put in another vote for speed difference being the bigger problem causing accidents.

I'd much prefer higher speed limits, stricter enforcement to ensure people aren't exceeding them even more, and enforcement of minimum speeds; but it's not reasonable for everyone to be expected to go faster. There's always going to be slow vehicles on the freeway that don't belong on residential/commercial roads, nor would it be fair to disallow them from the highway even if they would be ok on those roads (big trucks). There's always going to be people driving slowly (oldster because they're not capable drivers, hypermilers because they choose that speed) in vehicles made for higher speeds.

The solution of lowering the speed limit to the lowest common denominator (and enforcing that strongly) is not palatable to me. The reality is that people accept the danger. The danger is acceptable; people are able to accept it (and willing). People die, people get hurt. We can't live our lives trying to make everything 100% safe, we have to live sometimes, and we have to just get stuff done sometimes. We die and get hurt sitting around the house, exercising, eating, on buses going 55mph, on airplanes, giving birth, having sex, playing music, working on computers, mowing the lawn, shaking people's hands, playing wiffleball with our kids, clipping our fingernails...

Death and injury happens no matter what we do; it's a fact of life. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to mitigate the danger, but we can't eliminate it completely. When the freeway speed limit everywhere was 55 there were certainly still people who wanted it lowered; indeed, if everyone did 35 on the highway then it would be safer than if everyone did 55. If everyone did 20, it would be safer still. It would really screw up society and make emergency services less effective, so at some point there would be more death and injury that could have been prevented had emergency vehicles been able to arrive more quickly...is that where the line should be drawn?

Not in my book.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:30 AM   #9
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A lot has changed since 1995, not just speed limits. They fail to take into account the massive number of people just not paying attention to the road anymore. With cell phones, satellite radio, and mobile broadband there are a million different things people could be doing on the road now that they didn't used to. The number of people I've had to swerve to avoid because they were holding their phone up to their left ear and they didn't check their blind spot is probably in the hundreds. And that's just in the last two years or so.

The BIGGEST thing they fail to take into account? The cars we now have. Back in 1995 a V6 Ford Taurus made 140HP and 165 ft-lbs. A 2010 Taurus V6 makes 263HP and and 249 ft-lbs giving people more of an excuse to drive like idiots.

Another example, in 1995 the 'high-performance' Cavalier made 150HP and 145 ft-lbs. Now, the 2009 Cobals SS, which will end up in the same hands of the kid that would have gotten the Z-24, makes 260HP and 260 ft-lbs.
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:32 PM   #10
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no one has touched on how easy it is to receive and maintain a driver's liscense. have you ever spoken to someone who CHOOSES not to drive? i can respect the integrity of that person, who realizes that he/she SHOULDN'T drive.

some drivers are repeat offenders in terms of "honestly" bad driving, meaning it is not their intent to drive recklessly to accelerate arrival times and/or give bouts of road rage.

central florida may be THE worst place(i've been told) for chaotic driving via the combination of multi-national drivers and lack of mass transit. i've not ventured to do much driving outside of florida, which leads to my next point...

even in orlando, there are alternatives like letting a family member/friend drive, take a cab/bus, or at least study a map/have GPS. i see accidents and near misses all the time because people don't know where they're going.
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