February 28, 2006


One of the most moronic statements I have ever heard is that speed limits are set for safety reasons.

What Skywalker? What is this heresy you speak?

Yes, that's right, speed limits are completely unrelated to safety. In fact, they are so unrelated that it is sad.

Speed limits are set by finding the theoretical safest speed based on the geometric features of the most dangerous area of the road using the handling characteristicss for cars from the 1940s, then observing people's speed actual speed across this area of the road, averaging the observed speeds, then taking approximately 85% of the lower of the 2 speeds and then subtracting 5-20 mph.

Why 85%? 2 reasons: #1 they know no one will go this slow. #2 Because of #1, they can write lots and lots of revenue increasing tickets.

Yes, that's right, speed limits are all about revenue. I'm not opposed to revenue. It's needed byt he government. But frankly, the speed limits are moronic. The only place where a speed limit might actually be useful, is in a completely residential area such as a subdivision or something similar. Oh yes, and school zones, since in some areas, kids still walk to school. Outside of kids walking to school, I really can't personally see a reason for school zones though. I won't say there isn't since I may simply be missing one and some school bus driver might pop on and say there is a legitimate reason.

There have been numerous studies that say the safest drivers on the road are the ones whoa re int he left hand lane driving at least 10 mph over the speed limit and the least safe are the ones driving the speed limit or less.

Anyhow, here is the reason for this:
Meditation On The Speed Limit

It was done by some college students at Georgia State University for Campus Movie Fest. No I am not a student there. No I do not know any of these students.

The premise: a student was tired of getting tickets for going with the flow of traffic on I-285 here in Atlanta. So he decided to show just what would happen in everyone had to go the speed limit. Enjoy.

Posted by Skywalker at February 28, 2006 10:10 AM


Muddy and I watched it a while ago (as you know) and, yes, it's quite interresting.

Limits in residental areas are definately needed. The slower you go, the better the chance you have of stopping when some kid inevitably runs - or starts to run out infront of your car.

Limits at schools - even with*out* walkers....Well, first of all....alot of schools are in residential areas where the speed limits are low anyway. However, with other schools that sit outside of the residential areas - as is the situation with ours kid's school - then, lower speed limits MIGHT want to be considered but probably not needed considering EVERY schools zone has a 20mph speed limit anyway. Not to mention the crossing guards that walk elementary school (maybe intermediat and middle - though I'm not sure) kids across the street as well.

Posted by: mrs. muddy at February 28, 2006 11:22 AM

They are my hero's, loved the video. I have tried this by myself but it does not work well alone.

Posted by: muddy at February 28, 2006 11:48 AM

"I have tried this by myself but it does not work well alone."

Well, not unless you're on a public road with one lane going in each direction.

Posted by: mrs. muddy at February 28, 2006 01:02 PM

That was great...

Posted by: Undermidnight at February 28, 2006 03:48 PM

On the subject of schools, I live across the street from a public school. The speed limit here is 45 mph, it is a state HWY and is a main thorough fare to the airport if you live on the west side of Atlanta. It is just a main thorough fare for this area. If you work for Ford (for now...) you probably come this way for work. Lest traffic be to heavy, it isn't unusual for people to travel at 65 mph in front of my house.

No parent in their right mind would dare let their child walk to that school. It would be lunacy. Luckily, no one does as far as I can tell. It is also a school zone for that reason, with a speed limit of 25mph. In the nearly 20 years that it has been a school zone, I am yet to figure out hwat this accomplishes nor have I ever seen that 25mph limit enforce.

Posted by: skywalker at February 28, 2006 04:02 PM

So no one goes 2o/25mph through that zone? People *always* just fly through without EVER slowing down and no cops ever pull anyone over for that? Or am I reading that wrong?

Where our kid goes to school I *think* the road in front of it there is 45 (it's at the *very* least 35). Everyone goes 20/25mph at the time those flashing ligts go off. There are a few morons who don't seem to give a crap but for the most part everyone seems to follow it.

I'm suprised that the school down there doesn't complain about the speeding through there. Well, at least that's what it sounds like anyway....you'd think if they complained enough that cops *would* start pulling people over and people would start getting the message to slow their butts down.

Forgot to ask...is it elementary, intermediate, middle, or high school?

Posted by: mrs. muddy at February 28, 2006 05:48 PM

It's an elementery school. The school is set back off the road a bit. If you don't see the signage, you won't know it's a school zone. Seriously. In fact, if you saw the setup, you'd ask why it was a school zone.

Zero enforcement. But then, anyone who would let their kid walk across that road would have to be an idiot. You just don't let your kid walk across the second busiest road in the city. Hell, it's about to be 4 lanes.

Posted by: Skywalker at February 28, 2006 09:36 PM

You got me curious now. I'm going to have to get muddy to show me the school on the map.:-) Of course, when I went to a private school, it was in a church and we had no "school zone" speed limit on the only accessable 4 lane highway outside...didn't bother us any. However, that's a little different considering it was privately funded anyway.

I think there may still be need for some speed limits, though. When you're talking about going around sharp curves or traveling through the mountains. Those are few exceptions though for the most part, it was a good "experiment" what these kids did. Doubt it will really change anything, though.

"...and the least safe are the ones driving the speed limit or less."

I wonder if these studies are talking about the elderly. (They're the only ones I can really think of who would be driving under the limit) If that's the case, their reaction time would be slower anyway which would increase their chances of an accident on any road. Of course, it could also be talking about new drivers who are nervous their first time out or people who multi task while driving too....where *did* you get that study anyway?:-)

Posted by: mrs. muddy at February 28, 2006 10:51 PM

I didnt watch that video, the Speed Limit mostly went into affect, to curb the gasoline shortage in the 70s.

Posted by: mooseboy84 at March 5, 2006 07:16 PM

No, speed limits have been around for years for the purpose of revenue intake. In the late 70s congress forced a 55 mph limit on federal highways to "assist with gasoline shortages." In reality, this had little to no effect.

A few years ago congress got rid of this limit because a) it has little to no effect b) such a low limit can harm traffic flow during light traffic and c) the proliferation of CV transmissions, overdrive transmissions and cruise control mean that such a low speed limit can actually have an adverse effect gas mileage.

In the city of Atlanta however, I-285 has a ludcrious 55 mph speed limit through it's entirety, and virtually no one follows it (I drove on it today and going 75mph in the right hand lane, people were flying past me at speeds I can only imagine.) The few people who do follow this ludicrous speed limit have a tendency to get hit or hit others by pulling out when other's high speeds make it unsafe to do so. What's worse is many of these people who follow the posted limit love to get into the 2 lanes fartherst to the left - this is just asking for trouble!

Should people follow the posted limit? Sure, everyone should follow the law, but then, if the law is wrong, to paraphrase Dr. King is it not the greatest respect for the law to violate it and accept your punishment peacefully in quiet protest?

Posted by: skywalker at March 6, 2006 12:08 AM

Just out of curiousitly, Skywalker....is that the road where alot of accident occur. I remember years ago watching a show of the nations most dangerous highways/roadways and they mentioned one (maybe even a couple) in Georgia.

Posted by: mrs. muddy at March 6, 2006 07:56 AM

It's the perimeter interstate. It has quite a few accidents but I don't know if it is "the most dangerous."

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