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Old 11-10-08, 02:46 PM   #1
randya
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US Drivers: No Respect for Speed Limits or Safety

No Respect for Speed Limits
By Tara Parker-Pope
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/1...eed-limits/?hp

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Originally Posted by NYTimes
When it comes to speeding, many American motorists don’t worry about safety. They just worry about getting caught.

Those are the findings by researchers from Purdue University who surveyed nearly 1,000 motorists about speed limits and driving habits. They found that many drivers are cynical about the safety benefits of driving within speed limits, and many think they can drive safely while speeding as long as they won’t get caught, according to the report in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.

“So the faster you think you can go before getting a ticket, the more likely you are to think safety’s not compromised at higher speeds,” said Fred Mannering, a professor of civil engineering at Purdue, in a press release. “For whatever reason, respect for speed limits seems to have deteriorated.”

Dr. Mannering used a series of mathematical equations to calculate the probability of speeding, based on data from a survey of 988 motorists in Tippecanoe County, Ind. The survey findings were consistent with other research that has shown two-thirds of all drivers regularly exceed posted speed limits, and roughly one-third report driving at least 10 m.p.h. faster than most other vehicles.

The latest research asked participants: “At what point do you feel speeding becomes a threat to the personal safety of you and your family?” The motorists were given three choices: 5 m.p.h., 10 m.p.h. or 20 m.p.h. over the speed limit.

The survey was taken before and after a 2004 media campaign launched in the county stressing the dangers of speeding that included radio and newspaper messages.

More than a third of the drivers in the survey thought it was safe to drive 20 m.p.h. over the speed limit. Overall, the vast majority of respondents said they thought it was safe to speed, with 79 percent saying it was safe to exceed the limit by 10 m.p.h. or more.

The research showed the media campaign relating to the dangers of speeding had no statistically significant impact on drivers’ views on speeding and safety. For most drivers, a “safe” speed is typically just beyond the point where they believe they are at risk for getting a ticket. That means that motorists who believe they won’t get a ticket until they go 10 m.p.h. above the speed limit are 27 percent more likely to drive up to 20 m.p.h. above the speed limit.

Notably, getting stopped for speeding didn’t seem to have an effect on whether or not a person speeds again. Both men and women drivers who had been stopped for speeding in the last year were 25 percent more likely to believe that it is safe to drive up to 20 m.p.h. faster than the speed limit, compared to those who hadn’t been ticketed.

“This is probably because people who habitually speed are not significantly deterred by being stopped for speeding,” Dr. Mannering said. “They might become slightly more conservative, but it doesn’t slow them down to the level of people who are inherently more conservative.”

To learn more about Dr. Manning’s research, read “Yes, Accidents Happen. But Why?,” published in The Times last year.
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Old 11-10-08, 03:55 PM   #2
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these are the distracted drivers?
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Old 11-10-08, 04:12 PM   #3
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Who knew US drivers don't understand basic physics?

Oh yeah...
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Old 11-10-08, 05:55 PM   #4
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People are so stupid.
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Old 11-10-08, 06:17 PM   #5
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the sad thing is that according to the 85% rule, those folks also set the speed limits... DOH!
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Old 11-10-08, 06:20 PM   #6
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The first sentence supports the way I've responded when others state that the person that hit and injured or killed someone has to live with the guilt. Most have no guilt beyond getting in trouble.
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Old 11-10-08, 06:33 PM   #7
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I keep with flow of traffic, which means I speed all the time. I stay alert though. I have no illusions that any speed not ticket worthy is still safe. Inattentiveness can kill you even at the speed limit.
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Old 11-10-08, 06:36 PM   #8
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The first sentence supports the way I've responded when others state that the person that hit and injured or killed someone has to live with the guilt. Most have no guilt beyond getting in trouble.
+1. Besides that, "living with the guilt" only underscores the fact that the person gets to live--something forever denied the person run down by their carelessness.
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Old 11-10-08, 06:47 PM   #9
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The fact that most people speed is a clear indication that they do not find the legal limit to be reasonable. By the principals of our democracy, the law should be changed. After all, democracy gives us the right to make stupid decisions. I'm surprised no one has put through a ballot initiative to raise the speed limits on state highways. (Unfortunately I think federal funding is somehow tied to obeying federal speed limits).

In towns, where there are pedestrians, and yes, cyclists, I'm all for slow moving traffic. Of course. But on the highway, I just turn on the Valentine 1 and let her rip. Of course I'm driving a 40 year old Italian car so we're not talking blazing speeds here, but let's just say you'll find me in the "fast" lane.
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Old 11-10-08, 08:12 PM   #10
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People in Australia got everything upside down.
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Old 11-10-08, 08:55 PM   #11
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This guy from DownUnder never figures out right from wrong.

Either he's a Republican or he's from Australia.
WTF is a republican? or more to the point, why should I care?.... one of our past prime ministers referred to Australia as a 'banana republic' once, and I do like bananas. Does that make me a banana republican?
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Old 11-10-08, 09:45 PM   #12
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By the principals of our democracy, the law should be changed. After all, democracy gives us the right to make stupid decisions.

Do you ever consider the rights of other people not to be hit by chuckleheaded drivers?

Just Curious...
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Old 11-10-08, 10:05 PM   #13
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By the principals of our democracy, the law should be changed. After all, democracy gives us the right to make stupid decisions.

Do you ever consider the rights of other people not to be hit by chuckleheaded drivers?

Just Curious...
not sure what that has to do with increasing the speed limit. I go 20 over all the time, and I've never hit anyone. Then again, I slow down when the situation warrants. The speed limit should go up in a lot of places.

Our town decreased the speed limit on one of the main feeder roads to 25 because people were going 50 when the speed limit was 35. Pennsylvania has a couple of interstates where the speed limit is 55, seemingly for the same reason. It doesn't keep people from going 80, but it does increase the variability in speeds, which makes things more dangerous. Pennsylvania puts orange diamonds on interstate speed limit signs where they know the limit is too low and is not commonly observed. I have no idea why they don't just increase the limit instead.
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Old 11-10-08, 10:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SeattleShaun View Post
By the principals of our democracy, the law should be changed. After all, democracy gives us the right to make stupid decisions.

Do you ever consider the rights of other people not to be hit by chuckleheaded drivers?

Just Curious...
"Other people" can either stay off the highway and stick to other roads that are more their speed, or take a bus/plane/whatever. The whole purpose of highways (now that we don't need them for moving military equipment when the russians invade) is to get from A to B in the fastest possible manner. Not the safest possible manner. Highways are for those of us chuckleheads comfortable with risking our lives.

Ok, I'm joking. At least a little.
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Old 11-10-08, 11:12 PM   #15
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speed isn't as dangerous as poor driving habits are. The autobahn functions quite well because of a hyper organized and obedient system of right lane slow left lane fast.

people here have no idea what that means. We are a nation of left lane campers.

sometimes people may be in a rush/emergency. EVERYONE should be able to move over for an emergency vehicle...however this never happens since people just sit and hang out in the left lane right lane...wherever they please.
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Old 11-10-08, 11:26 PM   #16
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Part of the problem is that our roads are overengineered for "safety," making it too easy to go too fast.
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Old 11-10-08, 11:38 PM   #17
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Higher speeds work well in Europe generally because drivers are far better trained and there are real consequences to negligent moto vehicle operation - unlike th wink, nod, and wrist slap that negligent American drivers receive.

With respect to speeding and safety in the US, pretty much every major study that I've ever seen indicates that speeding plays a critical role in a huge percentage of fatal collisions.

Personally, I don't really care if one wishes to roll the dice with Darwin for him/herself. I do care when the person rolling the dice endangers others - including myself, my family, and those I cae about.

Want to drive like Andretti? Great - do it on the track.

Other people" can either stay off the highway and stick to other roads that are more their speed, or take a bus/plane/whatever.

Or, you could follow the law....

Personally, I'm looking forward to Euro-style speeding cameras.
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Old 11-11-08, 12:23 AM   #18
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Personally, I don't really care if one wishes to roll the dice with Darwin for him/herself. I do care when the person rolling the dice endangers others - including myself, my family, and those I cae about.
Well, if you don't feel it's a safe place to be, then take the initiative and stay off the road. That will work out a lot better for you than attempting to get everyone else to slow down to a speed you find comfortable.

There are a few things we can do to make things safer on the roadway. One is to always stay to the right unless passing. And then when we do pull into the next lane to the left to pass, we make sure the speed we are travelling is at least as fast as the car coming up behind us in that lane. No, it is not enough that we are going faster than the car we are passing: we must go faster than the cars in the lane we wish to enter, or we have no business entering it.

Same technique should be practiced when entering the freeway. We should never rely on any other driver having to slow down to avoid hitting us. We must match or exceed their speed if we want to be in front of them.

Another one is to treat lane changes as forward movements, not sideways or backwards movements. If we want to get over a lane or two to the right to exit the freeway for example, we should do so by travelling faster than the cars to our right, and then merging in in front of them. Never take our foot off the gas and slow down and try to merge in behind the cars to our right. Because that will require the people behind us in our lane to hit their brakes to avoid hitting us. Not only is this precisely what causes ripples that lead to traffic jams, it is terribly dangerous.


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Or, you could follow the law....
Not likely. Sorry. But if you follow the tips above, we will never come into contact with each other.
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Old 11-11-08, 12:47 AM   #19
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Well, if you don't feel it's a safe place to be, then take the initiative and stay off the road. That will work out a lot better for you than attempting to get everyone else to slow down to a speed you find comfortable.

Or....wait for it.....you could follow the law. Your rights end where mine begin.

Here's a hint: The speed at which I'm comfortable is irrelevent. It's not all about me - nor is it all about you. It's called a speed LIMIT for a reason. Limit - upper bound...

I'll tell you what, when you cut the US death and maiming rates caused by negligent drivers in half, I'll take you more seriously.

For the record, that's more than 40,000 citizens killed and more than a million injured and maimed by negligent drivers each year.

As I said, I'm looking forward to the coming profusion of Euro-Style speed cameras.
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Old 11-11-08, 01:33 AM   #20
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People gotta die of something. Listen, I get it: i've been hit by a drunk driver with my family in the car. It sucked. Injuries have healed but we're in year three and haven't seen a dime yet for our costs. But I never feel unsafe simply because of "speed" of either myself or others around me - unless they are travelling too slow and being an obstacle to the smooth flow of traffic!

Failing to follow the sort of driving flow that I outlined in my last message is what leads to crashes. Americans have "voted" with their actions - we all speed. The few folks who aren't playing along are the ones that are making our roads dangerous.
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Old 11-11-08, 02:43 AM   #21
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Why should anyone be surprised. You don't have look outside BF to see the same attitudes expressed in the article.
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Old 11-11-08, 03:06 AM   #22
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... to exit the freeway for example, we should do so by travelling faster than the cars to our right, and then merging in in front of them. Never take our foot off the gas and slow down and try to merge in behind the cars to our right. Because that will require the people behind us in our lane to hit their brakes to avoid hitting us. Not only is this precisely what causes ripples that lead to traffic jams, it is terribly dangerous ...
If a driver needs to apply the brakes because the driver of the vehicle ahead took their foot off the gas, then they are definitely driving too close.

If something happens on the road ahead and a driver needs to slam on the brakes as much as possible, then the following vehicles should also be able to slow down to a similar extent, if the following vehicles cannot do this safely then they are driving too close.

The only danger I perceive here is your advice.
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Old 11-11-08, 03:14 AM   #23
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I believe most people when they say they can be safe maintaining that higher speed not endanger themselves. However, I doubt many other non-speeders are expecting someone to be going 15-20mph faster than they are when they're already driving the speed 'limit.' It happens to me and I typically drive 5-10mph over.

A car going that much faster than me can come out of nowhere unless I'm driving with one eye on the road and the other on your mirror. It requires much, much more attentiveness than driving thinking everyone is going the typical 5-10mph over. Throw a phone or screwing with the cd player in the mix and it's not to hard see how it's game over.
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Old 11-11-08, 06:06 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
Well, if you don't feel it's a safe place to be, then take the initiative and stay off the road. That will work out a lot better for you than attempting to get everyone else to slow down to a speed you find comfortable.

There are a few things we can do to make things safer on the roadway. One is to always stay to the right unless passing. And then when we do pull into the next lane to the left to pass, we make sure the speed we are travelling is at least as fast as the car coming up behind us in that lane. No, it is not enough that we are going faster than the car we are passing: we must go faster than the cars in the lane we wish to enter, or we have no business entering it.

Same technique should be practiced when entering the freeway. We should never rely on any other driver having to slow down to avoid hitting us. We must match or exceed their speed if we want to be in front of them.

Another one is to treat lane changes as forward movements, not sideways or backwards movements. If we want to get over a lane or two to the right to exit the freeway for example, we should do so by travelling faster than the cars to our right, and then merging in in front of them. Never take our foot off the gas and slow down and try to merge in behind the cars to our right. Because that will require the people behind us in our lane to hit their brakes to avoid hitting us. Not only is this precisely what causes ripples that lead to traffic jams, it is terribly dangerous.




Not likely. Sorry. But if you follow the tips above, we will never come into contact with each other.

I agree with most of what you have said, but a little forward thinking will find you merging harmoniously with right lane traffic WELL ahead of time so that you don't have to move over a lane or two to exit the freeway.
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Old 11-11-08, 06:43 AM   #25
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Well, if you don't feel it's a safe place to be, then take the initiative and stay off the road. That will work out a lot better for you than attempting to get everyone else to slow down to a speed you find comfortable.

There are a few things we can do to make things safer on the roadway. One is to always stay to the right unless passing. And then when we do pull into the next lane to the left to pass, we make sure the speed we are travelling is at least as fast as the car coming up behind us in that lane. No, it is not enough that we are going faster than the car we are passing: we must go faster than the cars in the lane we wish to enter, or we have no business entering it.

Same technique should be practiced when entering the freeway. We should never rely on any other driver having to slow down to avoid hitting us. We must match or exceed their speed if we want to be in front of them.

Another one is to treat lane changes as forward movements, not sideways or backwards movements. If we want to get over a lane or two to the right to exit the freeway for example, we should do so by travelling faster than the cars to our right, and then merging in in front of them. Never take our foot off the gas and slow down and try to merge in behind the cars to our right. Because that will require the people behind us in our lane to hit their brakes to avoid hitting us. Not only is this precisely what causes ripples that lead to traffic jams, it is terribly dangerous.
You are the poster child for the "me first" mentality, justifying your perceived privileged status with half-truths and pseudo-logic.
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