Looks like I’m not the only one who’s been reading American Autobahn or following the news that Texas is considering raising its speed limit to 85 mph on some roads.
John McElroy echoes essentially everything that I believe and that people who know things have been saying in his opinion article justifying a 150 mph speed limit.
The important highlights that you need to know:
-Speed limits have held back the development of the automobile.
-The reason German cars are so safe and good to drive is because they’re designed to travel (and crash) at 150 mph.
-Speed doesn’t kill. Variances in traffic speed kills. When we all travel rapidly in an orderly fashion and MOVE OVER for drivers travelling faster than us (an unfathomable concept for most American drivers) we can all get where we’re going rapidly.
What I don’t agree with is his belief that we should rely on radar systems and GPS in cars to sense one another, and other electronics to keep us on the road. I am a firm believer in proper education.
The German system requires drivers to complete a time consuming, intensive, and expensive program before they’re allowed to get their license. This is what we need, not more electronic gizmos. In fact, studies show that the more driver aids a car is equipped with (traction control, ABS, etc) the more risks the drivers actually take – they come to rely on these rather than on themselves as an attentive and competent driver, and don’t understand how to take advantage of these systems – ABS in particular.
I personally think that the Police should monitor the road and pull over “enforcers” and “slowsters” – people going slowly in a passing lane when they should be moving over. If we made it a moving violation when someone engages in left lane lurking and doesn’t move over for a passing vehicle we could take a step towards an orderly system that would allow much faster travel on the roads.
The other hurdle to overcome is the insurance industry – they still believe that speed itself is dangerous when the fact has been shown time and again that a slow driver is more of a danger to those around him than fast drivers travelling safely in a pack. They knee-jerk oppose higher speed limits – but the reality is they oppose higher speed limits because it means less speeding tickets, and speeding tickets are what they use to jack up premiums on drivers.
And finally, vehicle safety has to come up to the modern age – we can learn a lot from German cars (with crumple zones and fully integrated roll cages, such as Mercedes-Benz has been using for years) that were designed to travel (and crash) at rapid speeds – but these cars didn’t develop that technology from the blue – in fact, most consumer safety technology is derived from racing. Manufacturers are more than happy to sell trickle down technology that they’ve developed in competition with regards to performance, but they seem to be slow to bring the safety developments to the public – probably because horsepower sells better than safety, and its cheaper and more profitable to build a giant vehicle and pawn that off as safe simply because its huge, than it is to build a regular vehicle with superior safety equipment.