Originally Posted by PaulR
I was not intending to start an argument...really. Regarding the stats there are numerous highway statistics that can be found that will tell one what one wants to hear..on both sides of the issue. I can pull out any study labeled 'independant' to tell me anything I want to hear. Unfortunately as with most public policy issues they are both largely motivated by various special interest groups and will only showcase the statistics that are in allignment with a specific viewpoint and the others are ignored..For instance what is never mentioned in these arguments is the average driver does not follow the 1 car length per 10mph car distance and higher speed means less reaction time when not following this rule. So if patrols focused all their attention on safe distance and not speed people would complain when ticketed about how the distance should be narrowed. Lobby groups would post studies that showed a smaller distance is reccomended etc....It really is a never ending debate that is largely motivtaed by special interest groups.
The bottom line is drivers will never be happy when they get a ticket for knowingly violating the rules. In their anger they often vent at the wrong source and demand the laws be changed simply because they are upset they were fined-not because of any safety issue or appeal to expediency.
In the final analysis statistics are never accepted as valid unless they tell one what they want to hear. Studies that conform to personal views are labeled 'scientific'. Others that go against ones views are labeled bunk and pseudo-science.
Some drivers will never be happy until they can do whatever they wish at any time. Driving a 2,000 pound vehicle on the highweay is a tremendous responsibility. People forget this and the damage a vehicle can do. It is better to err on the side of caution when lives are at stake.
As a scientist, I have a difficult time accepting this. Basically, your position is that it's not possible to determine reasonable cause and effect linkage for driving. I find that difficult to believe.
I do not doubt that statistics can be manipulated. But just because they can doesn't mean that they always are. Nor that meaningful information can't be gleaned from them. I cited, for example, highway fatality numbers for a highway in Texas plus a long-term study on accidents correlated to speed limits. The data are there for anyone to read and draw their own conclusions. They were the opposite of what I expected, so I actually read the reports to decide for myself.
Furthermore, you're making a brash assumption of guilt when you say this: "The bottom line is drivers will never be happy when they get a ticket for knowingly violating the rules." What about drivers who are ticketed by an illegal speed trap (there are speed trap laws in a number of states, now, indicating that this is an issue)? What about those who are ticketed as the result of illegal enforcement approaches? The implications of your statements are that law enforcement and government always do the right thing and drivers are always at fault. I find that difficult to accept. Just as difficult as it's always the other way around, in fact.
Be mindful of jumping to conclusions about intent. I was surprised at what I've learned in my research into speed limits. If you find it as you expected, then I have not added value to you in this area, but perhaps I did for others.