5/3/2012 5:14 PM ET|
Why don't we care about speeders?
Traffic fatalities due to speeding are up, and so are speed limits. And your insurance may give you a pass on at least your first ticket. So, what is everyone thinking?
Of the dozens of speeding tickets that Greg P. earned during his first nine years of driving, none was because he was in a hurry.
Doing 80 to 90 mph in a 75 mph zone didn't seem unreasonable. And why not take advantage of the wide-open roads of Texas -- where speed limits can reach 85 mph -- by driving 95 or 100 mph?
"It's comfortable. It's a cruising speed for me," says Greg, who asked that his last name not be used.
Greg is hardly alone. "The public's attitude about speeding is enormously conflicted," notes the Governors Highway Safety Association's recent survey of state laws and enforcement tactics. "Few advocates exist for speed reduction; speeding is a behavior that many people engage in routinely."
But traffic fatalities linked to speeding have gone up 7% since 2000, while fatal crashes by people not using seat belts have dropped 23%, and alcohol-impaired fatalities are down 3%, the report finds. Since the group's last survey, seven states have actually raised their speed limits.
Recognizing reality, the GHSA report calls for states to firmly deal with two issues where public support is substantial: enforcement of both aggressive driving laws and speed laws in school and work zones. The GHSA also wants federal safety officials to mount a high-visibility campaign like those that reduced deaths from drunken driving and failure to use seat belts, and to encourage the use of automated enforcement such as speed and red-light cameras.
But will the right drivers listen?
It's getting easier to speed
Since the last survey of highway safety offices in 2005, few states have done much to combat speeding, while seven states -- Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont -- actually have increased speed limits.
Texas and Utah have the highest speed limits in the country: 85 mph in Texas and 80 mph in Utah on some rural highway segments.
At the same time, state budget cuts have trimmed back the number of officers available to enforce the laws, the GHSA says.
One state, Minnesota, made speeding less painful. Drivers passing on a two-lane road now may exceed the speed limit by 10 mph, and the state has adopted an administrative penalty option for speeding that keeps violations off the driver's motor vehicle record -- and away from affecting insurance premiums.
Ultimately, setting speed limits is often a political decision, says Barbara Harsha, the executive director of the GHSA.
"There's just an apathy about speed limits," she says. "People think they don't apply to them and that it pertains to the other guy."
It's not surprising, then, that nearly two-thirds of motorists surveyed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in 2010 said they felt pressure from other drivers to go even faster.
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Such an ignorant article - shilling for red light & speed camera companies who do NOT want to reduce either - they DON't target the most aggressive/reckless drivers or the most dangerous intersections with the most fatalities - no its all about traffic volume and the MONEY they can make positioning themselves like a grizzly bear in a stream during a salmon run i.e. workers going 10 MPH over the limit trying to get to their job on time! This amateur article and some of the posts would make you believe that slower is always safer - but these same posters say they drive "the limit" not SLOWER than the limit! Why not be really, really safe and just drive 25MPH? Its because Traffic Safety Engineers repeatedly have shown that the "safe" speed is the one that 85% of drivers would choose on their own judgement if no limit was posted. Is THAT what municipalities do? - Noooooooooooooo! They choose limits about 10 MPH slower so anybody using proper judgement about travel can be classified as a "speeder" and be tagged en masse with many of the other 85% that are driving a safe speed for the road conditions. AND - when do the cops ticket a hundred drivers in a single day or hour (which shouldn't happen if the posted limit is the natural driving speed for 85% of drivers)? Is it during dangerous weather conditions or at night - Noooooooooooooo! They choose a bright sunny day - when driving conditions are the best for safe driving instead of the times when it is more dangerous and more fatalities occur - but that's because its about the MONEY from tickets taking place under the false promotion of safety - BA-LONEY!!
Maybe people wouldnt speed if.... 85% of you idiot drivers paid attention and did the speed limit thus eliminating the 15% of us that wouldnt need to speed to go around you because we have lives outside of our vehicles. oh and use your effing turn signals, they arent decor in your jetta....
Fact is there are ALOT of VERY bad drivers out there, and driving 5-10mphs OVER the speed limit is the least of anyone's worries. In fact, when I see someone speeding, I say thank God, someone understands that were all not out here on the roads wasting our time, some people have to actually BE somewhere. There are far too many people out there driving who think they are the ONLY ones on the road and who only think of themselves. Look out for each other out there folks, pull up a bit when you see someone is trying to take a right on Red behind you...Let someone go in front of you if it unclogs traffic a bit, and for the love of GOD please at LEAST drive at the Speed Limit and not below it....Your not the only ones on the road.
We forget one lesson....Speed doesn't kill! The suddent stop does. Astronauts don't die from whipping around the Earth at breakneck speeds. Most accidents I see in Phoenix are caused by inattentiveness due to texting on a cell phone, putting makeup on, etc, while driving. I also see a lot of people who simply believe the road is theirs to use as they want. The problem is they forget there are thousands of others on the road too. Just this morning on the way the work, in a posted 65 zone, a gentleman was in the far left lane going 55 miles an hour causing other drivers to have to pass him and because of his selfishness, there was increased danger and anger (well saluted by other drivers) on the highway. HIs reaction was to salute right back instead of thinking to himslef, " I'm in the wrong lane. Maybe I should stop impeading traffic and let others go by." In the mirrior, I could see the line of drivers behind him, foaming (and cursing) at the mouth to pass. The simple issue is there is no concern for fellow drivers. Stay right except to pass, that signal on your car is for letting people know you are going to turn, and the interior of your car is not an office or hair salon. I have driven at speeds up to 100+ and have not had an accident. Why? Because I focus on the task at hand. Driving! And over 500,000 miles driven and NO ACCIDENTS! Because I focus on traffic ahead of me, keep an out at all times and get out of the way of people who need to go faster than I do. And when I do need or want to go faster, I simply wish the other people on the road could respect that idea also. And one more thing.....we don't need to slow down to conserve fuel anymore. The efficiency of engines and the tuning of fuel injection vehicles reduces the waste of fuel, unlike when I open up the four barrel carb on my corvette. Then I just watch the fuel indicator go down almost as fast as I am driving. Have fun, be safe, and watch out for your fellow drivers.
Of course a wreck at 70 or 80 mph is going to do more damage and cause more fatalities than a wreck at 50 or 60 mph, but it's what causes the wreck in the first place that is the real problem. I am much more afraid of drivers who are inattentive and/or have slow reaction times - whether it is age (young or old), drugs (legal or illegal), mental instability, or whatever.
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