SHOULD SPEED LIMITS BE RAISED?

Fifty-one per cent of Canadian drivers think the speed limits on our roads are too low. The speed limit is a trade-off between safety and efficiency. So if the speed limit were set at 50km/h on highways, it’s certain fewer people would be killed or hurt, but it is arbitrarily deemed a higher number of fatalities and injuries are tolerable since we set the highest speed at more than twice the 50km figure.

After the oil crisis of 1973 the U.S. government imposed a speed limit of 55 mph. Highway safety worsened. And when federal speed limits were raisedin 1995, traffic deaths dropped to a record low.

A study found that on Montana’s highways the safest period was when there was no speed limits at all. When Montana imposed speed limits the state’s fatal accident rate doubled.

By global standards North American speed limits are absurdly low. In Europe the limit is 120k or 130k.

The preponderance of evidence shows that there are massive economic costs in imposing unnecessarily low speed limits and that there is a logical case for raising speed limits on Canadian and American highways.

Wouldn’t it make sense to bump the maximum speed limit to 130 km/h based on the undestanding that any speed limit involves arbitrary compromise among fuel economy, safety and economics?

Do you agree?

Of course we could save both gas and lives by driving at 50 km/h but that would be silly, wouldn’t it?

9 Comments »

  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Except for a few stretches of the 401 west of Toronto and part of the Trans-Canada highway through Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta up to Calgary, our highways are so sinuous or in bad repair that they are unsafe at any speed. Between St-Jéröme and Ste-Agathe, on Qc A15 north try driving 130Km/H without ending off the road!
    From the pictures I have seen, the AutoBhans have nothing in common with any of our roads. Until we have real roads, built for such speeds, raisng the speed limit would only increase our health care and auto insurance costs.
    I can hear Chimera syaing:” If people want to kill themselves, let them do it. Down with the rules”.

  2. 2
    Chimera Says:

    Paul: LOL! You’re pretty close. I’m all for people making their own decisions when it comes to actions that involve only themselves. I do modify the line when their actions involve the safety of someone else without their knowledge and consent, though.

    The problem, in North America, is that almost no one believes the government when it comes to speed and safety. And why should we? Governments have lied to us all our lives and proved themselves to be supremely untrustworthy. Why should we believe them when it comes to speed? What? They’re quoting an “expert?” Hah! He’s a paid flack! I can get my own “expert” that proves him wrong!

    I think the problem with raising the speed limit — whether the roads were in better condition or not) is that fifty-one percent of Canadians will still think the speed limit is too low. And it will “prove” one more time, that “the government has been lying to us again.”

  3. 3
    SUZANNE Says:

    Whatever the speed limit is, people will treat it as a “suggested minimum”. I’d be happier if we’d just enforce whatever the ones we have.

    I try to be a safe driver. Okay, I admit it, I can be slow. I try to follow traffic when it’s busy, but when there are two lanes and the speed limit is 50 and it’s not rush hour, I go about 50, and the rest of the world be damned. The left lane is for passing.

    People get angry about this! People get upset at those who drive the speed limit on a two-lane street!.

    Maybe what we need is a cultural change. Or three-lane highways: one lane for slowpokes, one for average people, and one people who feel compelled to drive 140Km.

  4. 4
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    I have travelled the 401 to Toronto many times. The speed limit is 100kms per hour. However, there is no speed limit if you are willing to pay. The first fine is at 120kms., per hour. I cruise control at 118kms, per hour.

  5. 5
    Andre Says:

    I think the main problem is that the police are allowed to collect money from drivers, without the obligation to declare the amount and nature the of citations to the public. If the law would require civic penalties collected from moving violations to be public information, it would help the public to stand up and demand change, where the government crosses over from questionably fair to abusing authoroty given my the thrusts of the people. Obligation to declare public information, is something that is a completely neutral requirement, and sign that the government actions are at all times justifiable, and can face the daylight, at any chosen moment of inspection.

  6. 6

    Andre:-

    Thanks for your interesting comment. Neil

  7. 7
    Zelio Says:

    Why do people think that we will see the speed limit as only the minimum. The speed limit here in Houston is 65 miles/h (104km/h). People drive 75-80 easy. If the speed limit was 80, why would they want to drive faster? If the person wants to drive 80mph (128km/h), they aren’t doing it because they want to break the law, they’re doing it to go faster. If the limt was 80mph (128km/h) then that means that the driver would be in law by driving that fast. I drive 80mph because I get to my destination faster. I would want it raised because I always seem to drift to that speed regardless. If the speed was 80mph, I wouldn’t want to go faster. I’d be satisfied. By saying that people only see the speed limit as the minimum is saying that people want to go faster just to break the law.

  8. 8
    killer_zach_22 Says:

    I LIKE BISCUITS

  9. 9
    killer_zach_22 Says:

    SPEEDS SHOULD BE FROM 65-75 mph…………………………..cock-a-doodle-doo SQAWKKKKKK!!!!!


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