Gut Rumbles

December 28, 2005


Figures don't lie, but liars surely do figure. Read this and gag. Nanny is just itching to reinstate the National Maximum Speed Limit. Why? For your own good, dammit! Can't you see that WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!???

I see a few problems with that press release.

On December 8, 1995, the repeal of the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) went into effect. The repeal ended the federal requirement that states keep speed limits at a maximum of 65 miles per hour (mph) in rural areas and 55 mph in urban areas. A recent survey of Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) members indicated that 40 GHSA jurisdictions had increased their speed limits since the repeal. Of particular concern {emphasis mine--ed.}is information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicating 31 states have increased their speed limits to 70 mph or higher on some portion of their roadways.

Why are increased speed limits "of particular concern" to the GHSA? Is it because people now are dying in droves when they weren't before? Not hardly.

While national statistics indicate fatalities have remained level since the NMSL repeal, this is hardly cause for celebration. According to GHSA Chair Lt. Colonel Jim Champagne, "The nation should have experienced a significant decline in total fatalities and injuries given the tremendous increase in safety belt use coupled with the increasingly safe design of vehicles. However, it appears these benefits have been offset both by increasing speed limits and the public exceeding these increased posted limits."

It appears? Yeah, and the sun "appears" to orbit the earth, too.

Research by IIHS and others around the world consistently shows that when speed limits are increased, highway deaths on the roads involved also show increases. In 1999, IIHS researchers compared the number of motor vehicle occupant deaths in 24 states that raised speed limits with corresponding fatality counts in the six years before the speed limits were changed. The study estimated that there was a 15 percent increase in deaths on interstates and freeways.

Uh... traffic on those interstates and freeways stayed the same from 1989 to 1999, right? If traffic increased--- oh, say by 20%--- during that time, then the study is pure bullshit. But nannies with an agenda don't mind using pure bullshit to achieve their goals. Bullshit is the nanny's best friend. (Just look at nutball environmentalists.)

"There is a recognition around-the-world that in order to significantly reduce motor vehicle deaths, you need to reduce speeds. It is time we apply that lesson in this country."

I LOVE such logic. It's what drives lemmings to jump off a cliff: Everybody ELSE was doing it, so I did, too. There is "a recognition around-the-world" that signing the Kyoto Treaty is a good idea, but that doesn't mean that it's not a crock of shit.

In MY humble opinion, speed alone doesn't kill on our highways. Bad drivers do.

If every driver on the Interstate is going 80 MPH, then going 80 MPH is a safe speed. Want to know who is DANGEROUS in that situation? The fucking dipstick doing 55 MPH in the left lane, that's who. Or the flaming asshole who is oblivious to everything around him because he's got a got-damn cell phone stuck to his ear. Or the pussy princess peering into her rear-view mirror while she applies makeup.

THOSE are the people who'll kill you on the road, because they are unsafe at ANY speed. If we simply MUST have nanny-laws to protect us on the highway, let's have one that might actually work.

Ban dumbasses from driving.


Happy Blogaversary! Four years man....Remember back in the day...? Just Damn!

Posted by: Dax Montana on December 28, 2005 04:40 PM

"There is a recognition around-the-world that in order to significantly reduce motor vehicle deaths, you need to reduce speeds. It is time we apply that lesson in this country."

There's also a recognition around the world that if you don't start your day by hopping up and down on one foot while jibbering like a baboon,your eyes will fall out and you'll grow hair on your tongue. This is firmly believed by four people in Burma and a senile old pacifist in Burkina Faso. That makes it "around the world," right?

Truth is (sorry for those offended by the T word), the problem isn't speed by itself, but maneuvers involving other vehicles. If some idiot is doing 40 in the fast lane of I-75 down near Cordele, making everybody else slow down to 40 might help, but getting that geezer up to 70 -- or better yet, off the damn interstate -- is going to be a hell of a lot more effective.

Posted by: McGehee on December 28, 2005 05:27 PM

Shit, Rob, that ain't nothing. There's a law here in Illinois that if your kid is below a certain size, you have to strap them into a special seat. That means kids sometimes big enough to be in junior friggin' high school have to sit in baby chairs.

Hell, why not just deck 'em out like the Bubble Boy?

We are raising a nation of mamma's boys, Rob. In 20 years, France will be able to kick our ass.

Posted by: American Guesser on December 28, 2005 05:53 PM

I love it when 'they' always resort to the "Old Geezer" on the highway. I've pulled many a crushed body out of vehicles on the interstate and by and large they are the below 30 crowd, the drunks and potheads are staggering around (uninjured) complaining that the family they just killed got in their way. As an old geezer i'll give you your only two choices, Put a 357 mag bullet through your head now, or get old yourself. For most nuts I would prefer the 357 even if it does make a bloody mess.

Posted by: scrapiron on December 28, 2005 05:55 PM

Scrapiron, I'd rather be on the road with a 100 potheads than two random drunks. Potheads who don't drink are safe drivers. They stay in the right lane and they don't speed and weave. I don't think there's a single documented case of a fatal accident where pot was the only factor. Most often there's drinking or at least other drugs involved.

I'm with A-man on this. It's a lamebrain idea. It's not the speed, it's the bad drivers. It's the idiots who don't know what the left lane is for that incite the road rage that makes the hotheads drive crazy. It's the cell phones, the screaming kids, the people doped up on prescription drugs. It's a lot of stuff but it's not the speed limit per se.

The reason fatalities didn't go down is because traffic increased, not because they raised the speed limit. Heck, I remember when the Mass Pike was virtually empty once you got out of Cambridge. Nowadays it's bumper to bumper traffic all the way to the 84 turnoff - sometimes all the way to Springfield.

Meanwhile, there's a stretch of highway on the way to the beach here in NC that's 70mph and you can safely go 85 if you have a solid car and know how to drive it. There's nobody on that piece of pavement.

As far as I can see this is just one more infringement on state's rights.

Posted by: Libby on December 28, 2005 07:07 PM

For a contrary view, see:
National Motorists Association PR

Which reminds me, it's time to renew my NMA membership. If you agree with A-man about this kind of BS, throw $35 toward NMA for a year's membership.

GHSA looks like a professional nanny-state outfit. Their members are (per their website) state "Highway Safety Program Managers", i.e., professional nannies paid with our tax dollars. Since GHSA is a 501(c)3, I'll bet IIHS and the rest of their ilk dump money at them. What a racket.

Posted by: Grumpy Old Ham on December 28, 2005 09:26 PM

SWcrapiron, if you're an old geezer, either keep up with the flow of traffic or take a bus.

Posted by: McGehee on December 28, 2005 11:41 PM

If higher speed limits mean more deaths, wouldn't that mean there would be more traffic fatalities per capita in states like West Virginia (where the interstate speed limit is 70) than in Virginia (where it's 65, unless I'm mistaken)? Surely there are numbers available to measure such things; why wouldn't they use them? (My guess would be that there's a LOT more traffic in Virginia, and that the crowded roads cause more accidents (and more fatalities) per capita.)

My favorite part of the article was this: "However, it appears these benefits have been offset both by increasing speed limits and the public exceeding these increased posted limits." (emphasis mine) The proper response to people breaking the law en masse is to tighten the law? Won't they also have to step up enforcement to catch the extra criminals? Will they admit it when that causes more accidents? (Because we tend to ignore stupid laws unless we're about to be caught breaking them, people won't slow down all the time, just when they see a cop/camera. The sudden slowing causes accidents.)

Posted by: Robin S. on December 29, 2005 10:09 AM

If every driver on the Interstate is going 80 MPH, then going 80 MPH is a safe speed. Want to know who is DANGEROUS in that situation? The fucking dipstick doing 55 MPH in the left lane, that's who.I've driven on a race track (my car, Formula Fords) and that's been my experience. Traffic engineers (you know, the people who no longer have any say in what the speed limit is?) agree as well. But fifteen or so years ago, when a cousin of mine got a speeding ticket and was sent to driver re-education camp in VA, he came back spouting "SPEED KILLS" like it had been tatooed on the back of his neck. These idiots have been married to the double nickel ever since it was instituted to save gas (not lives, you morons).

Posted by: Scott Crawford on December 29, 2005 07:50 PM

Got-dammit Rob. Don't you know its for the fucking children. :-)

Posted by: assrot on December 29, 2005 10:44 PM

Yep, it's the drivers-No.1 and road conditions No.2( which usually gets back to No.1)

I've driven about 100,000 miles in the last 5 years on interstates in VA, NC and SC because of my job, and only once did I think I was truly done for.

I was the last in a line of cars in the left lane doing about 70 on I-95 passing a National Guard convoy doing about 65 just after sundown. The van in front of me slows down and stops. Great thinks I, left lane must be blocked. So I manage to stop behind it in time. It's a Chevy Astro van, so I can't see around it.

Funny, the right lane is moving along. I look in the mirror, and there's a car behind me about 100 yards away and he ain't slowing down. He can't get over to the right, and I'm feeling like Leslie Nielsen when he first sees that tidal wave in the Posiedon Adventure.

The car behind goes around me on the left shoulder, barely missing, then another car, then there's nothing behind me in either lane.
Then the Astro pulls into the right lane and onto the exit ramp. There's nothing in front of me. This idiot had come to a dead stop in the left lane and let the convoy pass so he wouldn't miss his exit. Profanity fails me.

Posted by: Ken on December 30, 2005 09:26 AM

Out of curiosity, Ken. Did the Astro van have Ohio plates. I'd almost put money on it, having driven here for thifry years. It's exactly what some of these idiots do.

Posted by: StinKerr on January 1, 2006 01:06 AM make that "thirty years". PIMF

Posted by: StinKerr on January 1, 2006 01:07 AM

StinKerr, you'd win the bet, cause, I swear, the van had Ohio plates. I thought at the time they'd be the last thing I'd ever see. That'll sear a memory into you. Never wanted to shoot out a set of tires so badly in my life.

Posted by: Ken on January 1, 2006 01:37 PM
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