July 14, 2003

HIGH-SPEED KIRN

The NYTís Walter Kirn reports:

According to a recent academic study, raising speed limits to 70 miles per hour, and even higher, has no effect whatsoever on the death rates of young and middle-aged male drivers

Not everyone is immune to these break-neck speeds, however:

Higher speed limits do increase the death rates of women and the elderly. The scientists can't agree on the reason for this discrepancy, and if they're wise they won't try ...

You bet. Itíd be bigger than The Bell Curve. Kirn includes this useful all-purpose summary:

Responsibility for your own decisions sharpens the senses, while regulations numb them.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 14, 2003 08:00 PM
Comments

7.16....At least we can keep coming up with creative ways to lose!

Posted by: Yobbo at July 14, 2003 at 10:16 PM

Derr...this was supposed to be in the Dockers post

Posted by: Yobbo at July 14, 2003 at 10:16 PM

"Responsibility for your own decisions sharpens the senses, while regulations numb them."

Except, apparently, the decision on whether or not to see a film.

Posted by: Bon Scott at July 14, 2003 at 11:10 PM

Something needs to be done about the intercity buses down there; that 60 mph mechanical speed limitation makes for agonizingly long rides.

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at July 14, 2003 at 11:39 PM

The reason is probably as is mentioned in the article: speed discrepancy. That's what really kills -- if everyone is driving fine at 70 mph, no problem, but stick in one person driving at 55 mph and the chances of an accident go up. I have a feeling that women & the elderly are more likely to be driving at speeds well below the speed limit.

Granny going 55 mph in a 60 mph zone is not as bad as Granny going 55 mph in a 70 mph zone. Raising the speed limit is unlikely to make Granny go faster.

Posted by: meep at July 14, 2003 at 11:47 PM

It is wrong to think that there are not differences between sexes and races in terms of IQ (whatever test you use) height or even driving abillity.

It is easy to discredit the strong claims that suggest eugenics etc Since within group differences tend to be larger than between group differences and there is no reason why IQ (or height etc) should arbitrarily be used as a method of valuing.
But it is impossible to argue (except from a religious point of view) that all races have identical averages (with environment adjusted for). Genetic differences may not have a big effect but there IS an effect.

Admittedly it is a dangerous idea and maybe it is appropriate that it be supressed or ignored by academia (as it is) but the intelectual dishonesty of that worries me.

Posted by: Scottie at July 14, 2003 at 11:50 PM

In Bon's case: deregulation only in the case of seeing a film, regulation for everything else.

I'm actually on your side as far as censorship goes, Bon. But the Marr-Pomeranz posturing is more about politics than about film.

You know that.

Posted by: tim at July 15, 2003 at 12:38 AM

Pomeranz is just a boring lefty. She's as transparent as an overhead, but Marr disturbs me. There's nothing like a pompous lefty git who has been employed by both the ABC and SMH to annoy the hell out of Gabor.

Posted by: Gabor at July 15, 2003 at 03:16 AM

Granny going 55 mph in a 60 mph zone is not as bad as Granny going 55 mph in a 70 mph zone. Raising the speed limit is unlikely to make Granny go faster.

Then Granny needs to stay to the right (or to the left, in the case of Australia). Too many times I have seen people (old AND young alike) cruising contentedly in the faster lanes at a speed slower than the prevailing flow of traffic. Faster lanes are for faster traffic, and if some motorist wants to crawl along, they can do it in the slow lane, and ONLY the slow lane.

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at July 15, 2003 at 04:26 AM

"It's a grand opportunity for new bureaucracies and the further infantilization of the public in the name of the greater social good -- objectives Europeans value as highly as Americans value four-wheel drive."

Very true. I remember the last misguided effort by the US federal government to impose unreasonable driving laws in the name of the greater social good -- the 55 MPH speed limit. This had to be the most widely ignored American law since Prohibition, especially out West where driving across a state like Texas at 55 MPH wouldn't be a trip, it would be a career.

If the US government was foolish enough to try to foist these speed limiting devices on American drivers you would probably see the same type of open contempt for the law and a brisk business for those who can disable the devices.

Hell, maybe that's one way to spur the economy and create new jobs.

Posted by: Randy R. at July 15, 2003 at 05:46 AM

"Raising the speed limit is unlikely to make Granny go faster."

So clearly some sort of governor setting the MINIMUM speed for a car is called for.

Or more realistically, tax and regulatory initiatives to encourage the purchase and use of Turbo V8s.

Actually we already have something like that in some elements of the tax code. Tax deductions for work use of a vehicle depend on the engine capacity. The bigger the engine, the bigger the deduction. Clearly someone in the tax office is a motoring enthusiast.

Posted by: Patrick at July 15, 2003 at 07:02 PM

I'm waiting for some stepford-womyn (from the land of feminist infallability) to say that roadway deaths are another sign of oppression by the patriarchy...

smirk!

Posted by: Joe at July 20, 2003 at 03:30 AM