Commit 62a6b38d authored by Nicolas Lenz's avatar Nicolas Lenz

Some fixes for speed limits

parent aaa37be2
......@@ -25,11 +25,11 @@ The whole debate is quite emotional. Germany is a nation of car drivers, many Ge
## Safety
The most prominent pro argument. A lower top speed leads to a lower rate of crashes, injuries and deaths. And it's a fact that the rates do decline. On freeway stretches that were unlimited which then had a limit imposed, crash rates dropped *significantly*. A study by the Brandenburger *Landesbetrieb Straßenwesen* (state service for road matters) put a number on it: After allowing for traffic amount, the introduction of a limit decreased the amount of crashes on a Brandenburger freeway section by *26.5 %*[^study].
The most prominent pro argument. A lower top speed leads to a lower rate of crashes, injuries and deaths. And it's a fact that the rates do decline. On freeway stretches that were unlimited which then had a limit imposed, crash rates dropped *significantly*. A study by the Brandenburger *Landesbetrieb Straßenwesen* (state service for road matters) puts a number on it: After allowing for traffic amount, the introduction of a limit decreased the amount of crashes on a Brandenburger freeway section by *26.5 %*[^study].
Even on an purely economic level this is beneficial: The study concluded that the costs saved by the lower crash rate are higher than the costs imposed by higher travel times.
And please consider: Some people (like the Bild "news"paper[^bildblog], the German equivalent of The Sun) state that whether you crash at 130 or 160 km/h is irrelevant, you die anyway. While that is (mostly) true, it's the *amount* of crashes that decreases considerably. The conlusion that a limit doesn't prevent deadly crashes is just plain wrong.
And please consider: Some people (like the Bild "news"paper[^bildblog], the German equivalent of The Sun) state that whether you crash at 130 or 160 km/h is irrelevant, you die anyway. While that is (mostly) true, it's the *amount* of crashes that decreases considerably. The conclusion that a limit doesn't prevent deadly crashes is just plain wrong.
Yes, German freeways are very safe. Safer than most, even without a limit. And yes, most crashes don't happen on freeways, but on rural and urban streets. But that does not change the fact that a speed limit could further decrease the crash rate *significantly*. While this shouldn't lead us to go to an emotional level ("You're against a speed limit? DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO DIE?!", which is a way of argumentation which would lead us to have to outlaw kitchen knives), this must definitely be considered.
......@@ -43,7 +43,7 @@ The aforementioned study[^study] confirmed this (take that with a grain of salt
Of course a speed limit would also reduce the amount of energy (and therefore gasoline) spent and therefore also the amount of emissions like climate gases.
The actual reduction amount is not a easy thing to measure. A study by the Umweltbundesamt (federal department for environment) concluded that a limit of 120 km/h (currently debated is mostly 130) would decrease tha amount of CO~2~ emitted on freeways by 9 %[^environ]. Applied to all road traffic that comes down to 2 %. The study is from 1999 though, sadly I couldn't find anything more contemporary.
The actual reduction amount is not an easy thing to measure. A study by the Umweltbundesamt (federal department for environment) concluded that a limit of 120 km/h (currently debated is mostly 130) would decrease the amount of CO~2~ emitted on freeways by 9 %[^environ]. Applied to all road traffic that comes down to 2 %. The study is from 1999 though, sadly I couldn't find anything more contemporary.
That's not a whole lot, yes, but it's more than nothing. And it's definitely not productive to belittle CO~2~ reductions. There is just no single big thing that would significantly reduce emissions in one blow with little expense – all realizable possibilities are small if viewed by themselves, and we have to start somewhere.
......@@ -65,7 +65,7 @@ A general speed limit would of course increase travel times, and on long distanc
## Fun
I think this one doesn't need any further explaining.
I don't think this one needs any further explaining.
## Freedom
......@@ -75,7 +75,7 @@ The most prominent argument against a general limit includes the previous ones i
It's the difference between outlawing running around naked in your home, that would definitely be against personal freedom, and outlawing running around naked at a bus stop. That last one is already outlawed – and rightly so.
You can always go to a private racetrack and drive there as fast and even as dangerously as you want. But public streets are, as the name suggests, public. The state has the right, and the duty, to regulate its usage so it's fair and safe to everyone. All other traffic rules are examples of that. Or would you say that a stop sign limits your liberty? Even in a libertarian society, where streets would be privately operated without a state, the same thing would apply.
You can always go to a private racetrack and drive there as fast and even as dangerously as you want. But public streets are, as the name suggests, public. The state has the right, and the duty, to regulate their usage so it's fair and safe to everyone. All other traffic rules are examples of that. Or would you say that a stop sign impedes your liberty? Even in a libertarian society, where streets would be privately or cooperatively operated without a state, the same thing would apply.
That of course doesn't mean the pros shouldn't be weighed against the lost time and fun, but *please* don't try to make this a question of liberty or civil rights. It's not.
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