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    Higher U.S. speed limit linked to 12,500 more deaths

    Higher speed limits led to about 12,500 more deaths on US roads between 1995 and 2005, a new study in the American Journal of Public Health shows.

    Earlier studies had suggested that any effects of an act of Congress that eliminated all federal controls on speed limits would be temporary. The findings debunk those claims, Dr. Lee S. Friedman of the University of Illinois in Chicago, one of the study's authors, told Reuters Health.

    To date, Friedman and his team note in their report, most studies of the effects of speed limit changes on highway fatalities and injuries have looked at only a couple of years' worth of data, in only a few states. In their analysis, the researchers looked at traffic fatalities in every US state except Massachusetts and Hawaii over the decade after the change in Federal law.

    The National Maximum Speed Law, passed in 1974, put a 55 mph speed limit on all interstate roads. The law was intended to cut fuel consumption in the wake of the 1973 oil embargo, but it also led to a 16.4% reduction in car crash mortality from 1973 to 1974, Friedman and his colleagues note in their report.

    In 1987, Congress passed the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act allowing states to lift the speed limit on rural interstates to 65 mph, which 41 states did. In 1995, Congress passed the National Highway Designation Act, which wiped out all federal speed limits.

    Overall, Friedman and his team found that increased speed limits led to a 3.2% jump in road deaths. On rural interstates, car crash deaths increased 9.1%, while the increase for urban interstates was 4%.

    The biggest increases in deaths due to increased speed limits were seen in states that had 55 mph speed limits before 1995 and raised them to 65 afterwards.

    In states that kept the same speed limits, the number of deaths and injuries in fatal car crashes actually declined.

    Overall, Friedman and his colleagues estimate that the federal law change led to 12,545 more deaths on US highways, and 36,583 more injuries in fatal crashes.

    Bringing back a federal speed limit could not only save lives, Friedman noted; it could also reduce carbon emissions and dependence on foreign oil. The Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act is coming up for renewal this November, which could offer an opportunity to put a new federal speed limit in place, he said.

    More speed cameras could also help make roads safer, Friedman added. These are automated systems that take photos of speeders and their license plates, and then send the offender a ticket in the mail.

    "You don't have the fun of having a police officer pull you over and take your license," Friedman said. Nevertheless, he added, "these systems are very effective for reducing and controlling systematic speeding."

    SOURCE: American Journal of Public Health, September 2009.

    REUTERS/Dave
    By Anne Harding Anne Harding Tue Jul 28, 1:35 pm ET

    Higher U.S. speed limit linked to 12,500 more deaths - Yahoo! News

  2. #2
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    Someone needs to see how many of those are because of texting. I guess that is just one of my pet peaves.
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    I wonder how many of those are due to higher fuel standards. Lighter cars are less safe.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Head View Post
    Someone needs to see how many of those are because of texting. I guess that is just one of my pet peaves.
    Agreed, Cell Phone usage (texting and talking) while operating a motor vehicle is a big pet peeve of mine. It is against the law here in CA unless you are using a hands free device, if I remember correctly.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    I wonder how many of those are due to higher fuel standards. Lighter cars are less safe.
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    Interesting that rural deaths were up 9%, urban 4%. Every time I've driven through Omaha they're repairing/upgrading the capacity of the system. Out here in the great open spaces the road is the same as it was when I first saw it 30 years ago, and probably not much different than when it was first built. Meanwhile there is what, double the traffic flow on the road?

    Just another variable to consider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    I wonder how many of those are due to higher fuel standards. Lighter cars are less safe.
    This I think is the winner right here. How many times have we seen wrecks that someone would have lived through if they had been driving a better/stronger/bigger vehicle. I will NOT put myself in a small car just because of that. Me and mine will be in a big SUV or pickup, let the other idiot die instead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    I wonder how many of those are due to higher fuel standards. Lighter cars are less safe.
    Yea I agree, it's only going to get worse as Government Motors mass produce the Obamamobile.

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    So what? If you are going to set a speed limit to prevent deaths it would have to be under 20 MPH.

    I wonder how many high speed wrecks are also due to texting, cell phone conversations, unsafe lane discipline?
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

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    At least the planet is greener.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM
    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xiphos View Post
    So what? If you are going to set a speed limit to prevent deaths it would have to be under 20 MPH.

    I wonder how many high speed wrecks are also due to texting, cell phone conversations, unsafe lane discipline?

    I worked a fatality at the beginning of this month in which I suspect that the at fault driver was text messaging. I'm in the process of obtaining phone records to confirm my suspicions.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    I wonder how many of those are due to higher fuel standards. Lighter cars are less safe.
    Quote Originally Posted by pgg View Post
    This I think is the winner right here. How many times have we seen wrecks that someone would have lived through if they had been driving a better/stronger/bigger vehicle. I will NOT put myself in a small car just because of that. Me and mine will be in a big SUV or pickup, let the other idiot die instead.
    Though it is true that the more weight, metal and mass that you have around you, the better chances you have of surviving a collision. So should we all be driving big rig tractors as our own personal vehicles? Or large SUV's and pick-ups? Then maybe the weight and mass would be more equal. Those that operate these big commercial vehicles usually come away unscathed from collisions unless they do something really stupid or hit another like size vehicle of equal mass.

    I, for one, can not afford the fuel costs usually associated with larger vehicles such as big pick-ups and SUV's. Many of these drivers should go through classes to learn how to maneuver and park these vehicles just like the commercial drivers do, because they sure don't seem to be able to do it on their own.

    I remember as a child, a collision that my mother and I were in. Our vehicle was a 69 Lincoln Continental sedan with a curb weight just shy of 6,000 lbs. The other vehicles involved were an early 50's Plymouth and a 69 Dodge Charger. The Plymouth was totaled. The Dodge sustained damage to the drivers door. Our Lincoln was able to be fixed with a front clip replacement.

    If only the fire personnel that responded were adept of our cars construction and realized that the hood on this car opens backwards (from the cowl windshield area) the damage would have been less significant. Or should it be that the auto manufacturers be more uniform in construction. Nevertheless, they tried to pop the hood with a jaws of life type device. I had to show the firemen how to open the hood so they could disconnect the battery.

    Here is a head-on collision involving a Isuzu Rodeo and a fully loaded International Battery truck. The SUV driver was a fatal on impact with subsequent fire damage to both vehicles. What a mess. HAZ-MAT had to be called out, of course.

    Head-on crash near Oakdale kills one, fire swallows SUV, truck - Local - The Modesto Bee






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  13. #13
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    There was a wreck recently I heard of, where a woman was texting on her Blackberry or something, and talking on another cell phone at the same time - Gene pool enhancement instruments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post




    At least the planet is greener.

    Bet that hurt!



    Car 4
    I would like my country back. I used to believe that one man could never destroy this country. Not so sure anymore!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Car 4 View Post
    Bet that hurt!



    Car 4
    I'd be willing to bet that they didn't feel a thing.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkzV5AIK8iM
    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat

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  16. #16
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    All good points. But I'd also be curious how much the increase of cars/traffic on the highway contributed to those numbers as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pudge113 View Post
    All good points. But I'd also be curious how much the increase of cars/traffic on the highway contributed to those numbers as well.

    Good point - The roads seem to lag about 20 years behind the need. It takes about 10 years for the State to say "oh, shit, we need another road", then another 10 years to build it.

    Meanwhile, they pour $$Millions into those stupid HOV lanes - I've heard them described by cops as wasting more fuel in spilled gasoline from wrecks, than what they save in carpoolers.

    The biggest problem on LBJ in Dallas are people exiting the HOV lane in unapproved areas, then recklessly crossing six lanes of traffic at 80 MPH, with no blinker on top of that, to get to their exit. I see some variation of that every time I drive on LBJ and Central Expressway.

    On Central Expressway and the East end of LBJ, they've experimented with plastic barriers, but people knock them down, even though it's a rough ride and leaves marks on the paint.

    On I-30 in South Dallas, they have invested $$Millions more in a movable concrete HOV barrier and "Zipper" truck. Problem there is, it only takes one disabled or wrecked vehicle to trap 5 miles of vehicles in the HOV lane for three hours until they can get a tow and/or fire truck and ambilances into the HOV lane going the wrong way to haul the disabled car or wreck out of there - And accidenrs are more frequent when cars are confined in a single lane by a concrete barrier - What a mess.

    They should just open the HOV lanes to all traffic.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Five-0 View Post
    I wonder how many of those are due to higher fuel standards. Lighter cars are less safe.

    The "clunkers" program will throw another monkey wrench into the numbers going forward.


    What clunkers are being traded in? Lots of U.S.-made SUVs and trucks

    A decade ago, the U.S. auto industry was rocked by the advent of the truck as the family car. SUVs ruled the road. Crew-cab pickups packed in adults and kids as well for all kinds of uses. Now a lot of those trucks appear to be coming back as clunkers.

    Autobytel.com, one of the pioneers in online auto shopping, is finding that all but one of the top 10 models being checked out on its website by consumers for its eligibility for "cash for clunkers" is a truck. It says the list of models by popularity ranks like this:

    1. Ford F-Series
    2. Ford Explorer
    3. Chevrolet C/K/Silverado
    4. Jeep Grand Cherokee
    5. Dodge Ram
    6. Chevrolet Blazer
    7. Jeep Cherokee
    8. Dodge Grand Caravan (minivan)
    9. Dodge Dakota
    10. Ford Ranger

    Those figures seem to jibe with what other sources are saying. Hyundai's U.S. CEO John Krafcik said a week ago that Fords were the top brand showing up as early clunker trade-ins, especially old Explorer SUVs. (Last week, Hyundai said that 83 percent of the vehicles being traded in are trucks, SUVs or vans and 86 percent of the new vehicles being bought are passenger cars.)

    One dealership, Paragon Hondaand Acura in Woodside, N.Y., has been taking a closer look at the 33 clunker deals it has handled so far. It finds that the average mpg for clunkers trade-ins is 16, and the average mpg of the new cars that are being bought is 27. About 70% of the trade-ins are vehicles built by Detroit's Big 3 and 75% were SUVs, pickups or minivans.

  19. #19
    MacLean's Avatar
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    I'll admit I checked out my Ford Explorer on that program. It qualified.

    Nothing else I wanted to buy qualified on the other side of the coin.
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  20. #20
    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    I should have kept that old junker truck we inherited from my Father-In-Law. We sold it for $500 but now we could get $4500 for it.

    Somehow I find that what they're doing with even the good trade-ins a bit disturbing: They are pouring something into the engine that destroys the engine. The cash for clunkers law requires it, apparently.

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