This take down is an oldie but a goodie. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Speed kills.” Usually aimed at those darn kids, these campaigns have their hearts in the right place, but often end up driving policy that does more harm than good. Not to mention inspire some pretty heavy-handed PSAs like this one:
This is not to say that speeding is all good. There are countless stories of drivers, young and old alike, driving too fast for conditions or skill and paying the ultimate price. The problem, is when those instances get compared to the everyday driver exceeding a posted limit that is slower than is reasonable for the road.
The argument is this: The roads are most safe when all traffic is moving at similar speeds. A car travelling at a much different speed, whether faster or slower, than traffic is a hazard. And, since most people drive at speeds that they feel is adequate, regardless of the actual limit, this leads to “speeding” actually being safer than going the posted limit in some situations.
This video take down is mostly concerned with absurdly low speed limits. For example, a 50 kph limit (Thats 31 mph to us not in Canada) on a multi-lane road with a center divide, no pedestrians and very few, if any, cross streets. That road in particular becomes a hot spot for cops who love catching people doing reasonable speeds on this gently curving road to keep up with traffic flow. We all have local roads that this example brings to mind.
Recommendations by government engineers say that speed limits should actually be set at the 85th percentile of speed of typical travelers, because a speed limit should, “Feel too fast for most drivers.” The argument is that more reasonable (Read: higher) speed limits in certain areas would actually increase safety by encouraging more uniform speeds from drivers and fewer crashes.
Studies back this up. Higher speed limits have been shown to decrease crashes on certain roads. Plus, we all know that speed doesn’t kill. As Jeremy Clarkson says:
“Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that’s what gets you.”