Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Montana's No Speed Limit Safety "Paradox"

Square quotes mine. Choice quotes here (The Highway Safety Group, from an article in 2000):

This begs the question, do people change the way they drive when there is no speed limit? The evidence suggests the answer is yes. The measured vehicle speeds only changed a few miles per hour as predicted – comparable to data collected from other western states. What changed? The two most obvious changes were improved lane courtesy and increased seat belt use. Did other driving habits and patterns change as well?

The lower–than–US fatality rates on the German Autobahn (where flow management is the primary safety strategy), and now Montana's experience, would indicate that using speed limits and speed enforcement as the cornerstone of US highway safety policy is a major mistake. It is time to accept the fact that increases in traffic speeds are the natural byproduct of advancing technology. People do, in fact, act in a reasonable and responsible manner without constant government intervention.
It's sort of like red light cameras that are supposedly for our own good. Nevermind that they tend to increase accidents (National Motorists Association) or that the real reason is they provide cash to revenue hungry municipalities.

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