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Plea For MORE Legal Enforcement of Speeding Laws

 
 
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 02:42 pm
I know that this won't be the most popular topics discussed on A2K, but it's important enough to me personally to at least get this out there.

I think there is a huge problem with the way that speeding laws are not enforced in this country, and a huge problem with the general attitude of people towards the danger of speeding.

I've written this first draft of a letter that I have sent to 10 public officials in Illinois (where I live). I plan on sending it out every couple weeks and I plan on making modifications to the letter to make the message more effective.

I'd appreciate any input on the content, and if you'd choose to take part in this letter campaign, please feel free to take the outline and personalize it.

Quote:
To whom it may concern,

I’m writing you today to ask for some changes to the way speed limits are enforced in [state]. I understand that some of these changes are not within your scope of influence, but I’m asking at the very least that you consider any changes you can implement to help fix the problem in our state. Also, I’m asking for your support politically for any public officials who have the courage to stand up for enforcement of laws governing speed and safe driving.

My sister was involved in a vehicle-pedestrian collision a number of years ago. The driver was speeding (going 35mph in a 25mph zone) and failed to notice my sister walking on the shoulder of road quickly enough as he rounded a corner. The driver’s truck struck my sister and threw her into a ditch. She barely survived and ended up getting over 10 feet of her intestines removed after several surgeries. She’s now 25 years old suffering from arthritis and many digestive problems. If the driver was going the speed limit, a) he may have been able to react quickly enough to avoid the collision or b) the damage would have been less severe (possibly far less).

In my own experience as a cyclist on public roads, I see dozens of drivers exceeding the speed limit every day. If one were to collide with me, every 5mph above the speed limit increases the possibility of my death by 100%.

Other pieces of information I’ve been able to gather from government publications on speeding:
• Speeding is the #1 violation in fatal motor vehicle crashes (exceeding even drunken driving)
• A driver is 6 times more likely to have an accident at 25% above the speed limit (ex. Going 44mph in a 35mph zone)
• Speeding increases the occurrences of road rage
• The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph

Most motorists do not view exceeding the posted speed limit as a danger to themselves, their passengers, or others. This is severe problem in our society. I would like to ask you to implement, encourage, or support measures like the following:
• Reduced speed limits in residential areas and highways (cars are designed with safety measures effective up to 40mph; pedestrians obviously do not have these safety measures).
• Increased use of “automated speeding cameras.”
• Significantly increased financial penalties for speeding (speeding ticket fines are too minimal to deter the crime)
• More liberal use of driver’s license suspension for speeding violations (starting on 2nd occurrence)
• Increased police presence on public roads to catch speeding and unsafe driving.
• Immediate towing and seizure of vehicle for people caught going in excess of 20mph over the posted limit.
• Speed governors (or limiters , or caps) installed on vehicles to not allow any public vehicle to exceed speeds over the maximum highway speed.

I could continue to list ideas, but I’m sure you get the point. There are no justifiable reasons for most people on the road to travel in excess of the speed limit. The average commute is roughly 16 miles (or 26 minutes) nationwide. That makes the average speed 37mph. If someone goes 10mph over that speed, they save 6 minutes on their commute, which is unjustifiable given the increased danger they are putting everyone on the road in.

I appreciate the time you’ve spent reading this letter. I am also sending this to several other public officials and encouraging people across the state/country to do the same. A response would be appreciated.



[name]
[address]
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 03:04 pm
@maporsche,
I question several of your assertions...

I suspect that slow drivers fuel far more road rage than speeding does (at least it is the slow drivers who make me angry).

I highly doubt that you are 6 times more likely to have an accident for each 25% over the speed limit you are going. And, if this were true it would be an argument for raising rather than lowering the speed limit.

One of my pet peeves is that in many places the speed limit is way too low for the road conditions. I might support increased enforcement if the speed limits were raised to a reasonable level. Lowering speed limits while increasing enforcement would be too much.

The increased use of automated speeding camera is an awfully hard sell.
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 03:50 pm
Hey, map.

Are you aware that the speed limit on interstate highways is going to go up to 70 as of Jan 1? I know your example discusses pedestrian and bike safety issues, but the state has recently moved to go in the other direction.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-quinn-signs-70-mph-speed-limit-law-for-illinois-20130819,0,265971.story
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 03:59 pm
@maporsche,
the Highway Patrol is concentrating on writing DUI tickets, as it is much more profitable. Also we have serious capacity problems on I-5 seattle to Olympia and higher speeds increase capacity, so the days of huge speed traps seem to be over. So far as the cities and counties go they are all broke, so they only have enough cop resources for higher level crimes.
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 04:06 pm
@JPB,
I was not aware of that. It is unfortunate.

Oh well, the public officials frequently hear about people wanting to make the speed limits higher...a few letters showing support for the opposite can't hurt.

Regardless of the speed limit, I just wish it was enforced. I see 70+ on the I-94 going in and out of Chicago all the time and the posted limit there is 55 (and doesn't seem to be included in the 70mph change).
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 04:17 pm
One person I've known who raced cars at a very high level was our Dyslexia, and on the road, he was the safest driver on earth.

I've seen some article in the last few days about most race car drivers being safety wise on the road. Sorry, no link.

I assume there are exceptions, and know of at least one, but he was a fast car designer. He rode highways - after getting out of town - fast in the middle of the night, or so he told me. (He lived downstairs, I sold him my godforsaken chevy van to get rid of it.)
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 04:24 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I question several of your assertions...

I suspect that slow drivers fuel far more road rage than speeding does (at least it is the slow drivers who make me angry).


I guess if the speed limit is 55 and the slow drivers are going 45 I see your point. What I usually see (and what I suspect is far more frequent) is that the speed limit is 55, the 'flow' of traffic is more like 65, and the 'slow' drivers are simply obeying the speed limit.

In that case, it's not the person going 55 and obeying the law that's causing the problem, is the speeders.

Quote:

I highly doubt that you are 6 times more likely to have an accident for each 25% over the speed limit you are going. And, if this were true it would be an argument for raising rather than lowering the speed limit.


Wow (x2). The person going 45 in a 35 reacts slower and takes longer to stop than the person obeying the speed limit. The difference in speed also causes unpredictability on the road (people assume you're traveling 35mph when they pull out of a driveway for example). The argument is for people obeying the law, not raising the speed limit.

Quote:

One of my pet peeves is that in many places the speed limit is way too low for the road conditions. I might support increased enforcement if the speed limits were raised to a reasonable level. Lowering speed limits while increasing enforcement would be too much.


I couldn't disagree more. I think the speed limit is excessive as it is. Cars are designed to provide crash protection at a combined ~40mph collision (both cars doing 20mph). A head-on collision with both cars going ~40mph (combined 80mph) has almost a 100% fatality rate. A car going 40mph into a brick wall has a 60% fatality rate. Severe injury rates are even higher.

I'd be happy if 40mph was the maximum speed limit on all roads.

http://sautoclub.com/_webedit/uploaded-files/All%20Files/DfT%20rsrr9.pdf

Quote:

The increased use of automated speeding camera is an awfully hard sell.


Agreed. But I'm still sending in my support for such initiatives.
BillRM
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 04:27 pm
@maporsche,
Quote:
In that case, it's not the person going 55 and obeying the law that's causing the problem, is the speeders.


Wrong when the speed limit is set far too low for the road then it is the slow driver obeying an unreasonable limit and whoever set that limit in the first place "fault".
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 04:29 pm
@maporsche,
I seem to remember california went to 55 a bunch of years ago, probably excepting parts of highway 5, and much was better but that for reasons I don't remember, it was brought back up.

My lifelong observation is that many people will play around ten miles over whatever the limit is.

0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 04:35 pm
@BillRM,
It's not that simple BillRM. Sure many vehicles, road conditions, weather conditions, and traffic conditions can allow an experienced driver to travel at a faster speed than posted. That doesn't mean that it should be permitted....especially when those conditions do not exist at all times. I don't want the speed limit set at 80mph which would allow the idiot arguing on the phone in a beat up honda to drive unsafely and increase the liklihood of injury to me or my family. I'd much rather have that person be forced to follow a more reasonable speed limit (such as 55) and if he decides to go 80mph then there is just cause to pull him over.

If an accident occurs at those speeds the likelihood of severe injury is very high. Saving less than 5 minutes on your commute is not appropriate justification for the increased danger you pose on yourself and others.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 04:55 pm
@maporsche,
Quote:
If an accident occurs at those speeds the likelihood of severe injury is very high. Saving less than 5 minutes on your commute is not appropriate justification for the increased danger you pose on yourself and others.


We could set the maximum speed limit at 35 MPH nationwide and assuming anyone obey it we would likely save 25,000 or so lives every year.

There are always trade offs even trade offs that involved human life and if the vast majority of the drivers are not obeying the speed limit on a highway the odds are very high that the limit is set too low.
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 05:00 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

Quote:
If an accident occurs at those speeds the likelihood of severe injury is very high. Saving less than 5 minutes on your commute is not appropriate justification for the increased danger you pose on yourself and others.


We could set the maximum speed limit at 35 MPH nationwide and assuming anyone obey it we would likely save 25,000 or so lives every year.

There are always trade offs even trade offs that involved human life and if the vast majority of the drivers are not obeying the speed limit on a highway the odds are very high that the limit is set too low.


Understood, but I think the likely reason people are not obeying the speed limit is that it is rarely enforced (especially during peak hours).

It's like pirating music. No one enforces the law, so many people do it.

DUI used to be socially acceptable too. Now that there has been a crack down for the last couple decades, it's frowned upon. I think speeding needs a cultural awareness campaign.
BillRM
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 05:15 pm
@maporsche,
Quote:
Understood, but I think the likely reason people are not obeying the speed limit is that it is rarely enforced (especially during peak hours).


Sorry enforcement or the lack of same is a secondary issue as I for example have no wish to be in an accident and do not drive at any speed that in my judgment as a 46 years driver is unsafe for either the road or the traffic/weather conditions and the vast majority of drivers are not dare devils either and in my opinion do not drive at what they consider unsafe speeds.

There is no reason to assume that the drivers who are familiar with a highway judgments as a group is inferiority to the authority who had set the legal limit.

In fact in some cases the limit is set so low and unreasonable that one need to wonder why anyone would set such a limit.
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 05:43 pm
@BillRM,
And do you want to put your life in to the hands of a 16 year old or a drunk driver to make the same decisions.

I'd trust myself to go faster but they can't make unique laws for every driver. They take the lowest common detonator and hopefully error on the side of caution.
BillRM
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 05:54 pm
@maporsche,
Quote:
And do you want to put your life in to the hands of a 16 year old or a drunk driver to make the same decisions.


We was talking about when the average speed of drivers on a highway being over the set speed limit on that highway and that have nothing to do with a drunk 16 years old as far as I can see.

By setting the speed limits very low just to be on the safe side will results in the majority of drivers disobeying those limits and more enforcement might benefit the state by randomly picking out victims for a few hundreds dollars fine but will have little impact on safety and product more angry and contempt toward the state.by the citizens.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 06:16 pm
@maporsche,
I suspect you made up the 6 times statistic. If you have real research, then I would love to see it.

There is research that the biggest cause of accident is difference in speed. If 98% of people are going 75, the one or two idiots going 55 are the ones who are going to cause the accident.

Here is a link to research from the NHTSA (the federal agency responsible for highway safety) to back up my claim, I would love to see what you use to back up your claims.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/enforce/speed_forum_presentations/ferguson.pdf

maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 06:47 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I suspect you made up the 6 times statistic. If you have real research, then I would love to see it.


Wow again. I certainly did not make it up. I don't have research, but I do have a government source (Charlotte Department of Transportation). I copied it verbatim.
http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/Transportation/Traffic/Pages/Speeding%20Facts.aspx

Quote:
There is research that the biggest cause of accident is difference in speed.


Yeah, no kidding. That makes complete sense. Common sense even.

Quote:

If 98% of people are going 75, the one or two idiots going 55 are the ones who are going to cause the accident.


If the speed limit is 55, then the idiots are actually the 98% going 20mph over the limit.

Quote:

Here is a link to research from the NHTSA (the federal agency responsible for highway safety) to back up my claim, I would love to see what you use to back up your claims.

http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/enforce/speed_forum_presentations/ferguson.pdf


Can I use your source? Here are some nuggets to show that higher speed is the cause for increased fatality (I can't believe I even have to prove that).

Page 8 - "Does not explain significant percent of speeding-related
single vehicle crashes" ---- implying that the speed it self was the factor, not the traffic or speed in relation to traffic.

Page 10 - "Risk of being involved in an injury crash was lowest for vehicles traveling near or below the median speed and increased exponentially at higher speeds"

Page 12 - "The relationship between vehicle speed and crash severity is unequivocal and based on the laws of physics" & "Velocity change in a crash (ΔV) is a critical measure of crash severity"

Page 14 - "O'Day and Flora (1982) and Joksch (1993) found that the risk of a car driver being killed in a crash increased with increases in speed"

Page 16 - "In 1974, Congress established the NMSL of 55 mph – traffic fatalities declined 16 percent, from 54,052 in 1973 to 45,196 in 1974"

Page 17 - "while the precise number of lives saved is unknown, an
estimated 20,000 to 30,000 lives were saved by the NMSL from 1974-1978"

Pages 19-22 - shows that when speed limits were increased to 65 on highways, deaths from crashes rose from 15-22% depending on who did the study. Where roads had no speed limit increase, there was no noticible change in death rates.

Pages 25-26 - shows that when speeds went up again, deaths rose from 15-38%

Page 29 (this one is GOOD) - "Higher than average speeds generally violate traffic laws and can be addressed through consistent law
enforcement"

Page 30 - "Higher and lower than average speeds don’t have equal
consequences; as crash speeds increase, so does crash severity. The overwhelming majority of evidence suggests that reductions in speed limits reduce vehicle speeds and crashes; increases in speed limits increase speed, as well as crashes. Excessive speeders are more likely to be male, younger, and to have poor driving records."

Thanks for making my point easier to prove max.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 07:01 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

Quote:
And do you want to put your life in to the hands of a 16 year old or a drunk driver to make the same decisions.


We was talking about when the average speed of drivers on a highway being over the set speed limit on that highway and that have nothing to do with a drunk 16 years old as far as I can see.


Every vehicle is an individual unit.

If the average speed of drivers on a highway being over the set speed limit is the "allowed speed limit" then you are trusting that every single person in traffic can safely operate a vehicle AT that speed.

The 16 year old will be going that fast, but may not have the experience to do so.

The drunk driver will be going that fast, but will not have the reaction times needed to respond to threats or changes in traffic.

Quote:

By setting the speed limits very low just to be on the safe side will results in the majority of drivers disobeying those limits and more enforcement might benefit the state by randomly picking out victims for a few hundreds dollars fine but will have little impact on safety and product more angry and contempt toward the state.by the citizens.


Right. My proposal is to dramitically increase the fine. Make it thousands of dollars for certain speeds or excess of speed limits, like a DUI. Make multiple offenses results in a suspension of the privledge of driving. Put automated speed control cameras on freeways. Pay for more traffic cops.

Do whatever it takes to change the behavior.
BillRM
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 07:24 pm
@maporsche,
You can not set a speed limit by the standards of the worst possible driver.

A drunk 16 years old safe speed would be zero MPH for one thing.

Quote:
Right. My proposal is to dramitically increase the fine. Make it thousands of dollars for certain speeds or excess of speed limits, like a DUI.


Why do you not have executions along the highway as punishment?

Sorry there is a limit to what the public will put up with an thousands of dollars in fines for daring to go at the real safe speed of a highway instead of the posted speed limit will have the idiots who set such fines out of office at the next election.

The nationwide 55 speed limit could not be maintain as the people rebel at going 10 to 15 MPH or more slower then what the highways was design for as an example.
maporsche
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Dec, 2013 07:29 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

You can not set a speed limit by the standards of the worst possible driver.


Agreed somewhat. There is a balance to maintain. But a sober 16 year old shouldn't be doing 80mph on a freeway either. Nor should a 70 year old. Generally speaking of course.

Therefor the limit is set at 55 (or whatever) you error on the side of safety for everyone.

And again. The only benefit is saving a handful of minutes on your commute.
 

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