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?