Friday, July 07, 2006

Dilly-Dallying Kills

Speed, contrary to popular belief, does not kill after all.

According to an editorial in today's Opinion Journal, crashes, injuries, and the overall fatality rate on our highways have actually decreased since the federal 55MPH speed limit was repealed in 1995.

From the article:

In 2005, according to new data from the National Highway Safety Administration, the rate of injuries per mile traveled was lower than at any time since the Interstate Highway System was built 50 years ago. The fatality rate was the second lowest ever, just a tick higher than in 2004.


This may seem non-controversial now, but at the time the debate [over whether to repeal the mandatory 55MPH speed limit] was shrill and filled with predictions of doom. Ralph Nader claimed that "history will never forgive Congress for this assault on the sanctity of human life." Judith Stone, president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, predicted to Katie Couric on NBC's "Today Show" that there would be "6,400 added highway fatalities a year and millions of more injuries." Federico Pena, the Clinton Administration's Secretary of Transportation, declared: "Allowing speed limits to rise above 55 simply means that more Americans will die and be injured on our highways."

We now have 10 years of evidence proving that the only "assault" was on the sanctity of the truth. [...T]he death, injury and crash rates have fallen sharply since 1995. Per mile traveled, there were about 5,000 fewer deaths and almost one million fewer injuries in 2005 than in the mid-1990s. This is all the more remarkable given that a dozen years ago Americans lacked today's distraction of driving while also talking on their cell phones. (emphasis mine)


We are often told, by nanny-state advocates, that such public goods as safety require a loss of liberty. In the case of speed limits and traffic deaths, that just isn't so.


EC said...

Wow, thats a really interesting fact! I'm going to remember that the next time my husband tells me I drive too fast :-)

mommy said...

I'm using it for my excuse as well.