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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Study shows higher speeds make safer highways July 7, 2006 10:12 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Environment, Local Politics, Of Interest, Politics, Touchy Subjects
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The reason Knoxville wants to (or has..I don’t know) lower speed limits along I-40 is not for safety but in an attempt to reduce emssions so they can acquire federal funding for that stupid Orange Route. The air is too polluted to qualify for federal funding to destroy Harden Valley..I mean, build the useless road.

June 2005 is the deadline for air quality issues. The Long-Range Plan (LRP) must be met in order to get Federal funding. The LRP is updated every three years. [Source]

Wonder if they made it. Hey! Knoxville was part of the 1914 Dixie Highway. It befuddles me why Knoxville is so shortsighted as to try to steer commerce away from this wonderful downtown everyone wants to create. Not really, I understand that the 5 interchanges planned along I475 will make some political good ol’ boys some big cash while destroying some beautiful scenic countryside and historic caves for a matter of 24 miles of road. Think about the fortune we are spending to reduce travel time by about 15 minutes.

Hmm. Having read over the Knoxville Parkway information I can see why some of the arguments for the Orange Route are compelling. Still, I think it probably will turn out to be one of those things that looks better on paper than in reality. Let’s hope I’m just not turning into a curmudgeon because I think I’m too young for that. Anyhow, back to my point! Higher speeds make safer highways!

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.

As a public policy matter, this steady decline is a vindication of the repeal of the 55 miles per hour federal speed limit law in 1995.

Of the 31 states that have raised their speed limits to more than 70 mph, 29 saw a decline in the death and injury rate and only two–the Dakotas–have seen fatalities increase.

Source provided by Tom Maszerowski.

Questions and Answers from Knoxville Regional Long Range Transportation Plan Meeting

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1. commuter - July 9, 2006

I believe speed kills or injures, if driver is not appreciative of his surroundings. As I told my sons when they were learning to drive and remind them now; drive as fast as you want as long as you have the ability, vehicle in proper repair, money to pay fine & insurance and, most of all, that they have the space as a safety factor.
As far as reduced death and injury rates, I believe that occurs due improved car design technology and mandatory use of seat belts. Better evidence would be to use number of crashes and number of vehicles involved.

2. djuggler - July 10, 2006

One of things that makes the interstate so much safer than the city is predictability. The report notes that “compliance with the 55 mph law was only about 5%–in other words, about 95% of drivers were exceeding the speed limit.” Since 5% of the traffic was driving at a different speed then you have an unpredictable situation. That is, a much slower car trying to pass another slow car by pulling out in front of a much faster car.

When all cars are traveling with relatively the same speed, the roads are safer regardless of speed limit.

The report also notes “The tragedy is that 43,000 Americans still die on the roads every year, or about 15 times the number of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq. Car accidents remain a leading cause of death among teenagers in particular.”

These students blocked an interstate in GA at 55 mph and proved unpredictability causes accidents. Predictable driving includes “slower traffic moves right.” They may have been following the speed limit but in not moving to the right, they caused an accident and caught on it film.

I agree with commuter that safer cars are probably a factor. The article also says “improving auto safety features as power steering and brakes are all proven life savers.”

3. Swap Blog » Blog Archive » Safer at Speed - July 10, 2006

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