I was going to skip blogging today. This week we have "Spring Cleaning" at work and I have the refuse of several people to go through, including a couple of file drawers of stuff from my late, lamented boss, Dr Mike Wagner (Michael Paul Wagner, from Buffalo, NY). So, I was coasting, until I came across a link from Instapundit to Reason Hit and Run to Cracked dot Com. There I found a discussion of why speed limits and speed bumps and other such things appear to make sense, but actually may be counter-productive. The post is titled "The 5 Most Popular Safety Laws (That Don't Work)."
My interest in this post goes back to when I was in High School. My Father was the Chief of Safety at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. So, safety was a possible source of conversation. I can't remember which magazine I saw it in (likely Atlantic Monthly), but there was an article that talked about how, when a community increased the speed limit on a particular urban road the actual average speed of motorist dropped. The reason suggested was that drivers have a fair sense of what is a reasonable speed and when the posted speed limit is too low from the drivers' point of view, the drivers ignore the speed limit. However, if the speed limit is within some range of what the drivers see as a reasonable speed for the road, they tend to conform to the speed limit. I admit that this was back in the 1950s, when sex was dirty and the air was clean. The world has certainly changed since those idyllic days. However, I don't think it has changed that much.
So, the first of the five items mentioned in the blog post made good sense to me.
The item about speed bumps also made sense to me. When I lived out in the countryside, in Prince William, Virginia, the goal for the volunteer fire and rescue service was to be able to reach any place within five minutes of receiving notification. Speed bumps would be a definite impediment to achieving that goal.
The other three I leave up to your judgement and the comments section.
But, given Rep Kevin Murphy's view that we don't wish to have a nanny state, I think he would agree with the linked blog post.
Regards — Cliff
10 months ago