On Tue, 8 Apr 2003, Niall O Broin wrote:
> I had my doubts about this too, I have to say. I think the crappy
> state of our roads contributes a lot to accidents.
no. see below. though i would agree better roads would reduce
> But if there are going to be accidents, it's a simple consequence of
> the laws of physics that those accidents will cause less damage if
> they happen at slower speeds.
And its that reasoning that has led to "speed kills!". However, it is
a fallacy, because it attempts to equate Ke=mv² with accident rates.
Which is incorrect - the laws of physics do not cause accidents. A
study by the TRL a year or three ago concluded that speed was the
primary factor in only 6% of accidents.
The primary factor in accidents is /bad driving/.
/Inappropriate/ speed is a symptom of bad driving.
However, to conclude that therefore speed == bad driving is unsound.
If so there ought to be carnage on the roads in Germany. Which there
isnt - they dont have the lowest rates of RTA fatalities, but they do
not have anything like the rate we do.
Also the law is quite frankly an ass. A person who /kills/ another
motorist through moderate bad driving (but not above the speed limit)
will probably not face any punitive actions, but a motorist who does
140mph on a short stretch of completely uncongested straight motorway
with good visibility, good conditions in a vehicle designed for those
speeds will most likely go to jail (for up to a year possibly) if
brought before a judge.
Kill someone but be within the speed limit - ok
Travel at 140mph endangering noone but oneself and /certainly/ not
actually harming or killing anyone -> jail.
Inappropriate speed is what kills. 20 mph /below/ the speed limit is
often far more inappropriate on certain roads than traveling at 50mph
/above/ the speed limit can be on other roads.
But we criminalise otherwise law abiding people on no more basis than
"speed is bad", while letting people who have caused /actual/ harm go.
> It certainly seems that since the introduction of penalty points,
> the number of road deaths has gone down significantly.
it has not. either february or march had one of the worst RTA fatality
rates in years.
> This is of course a statistical thing, but if it (detah rate)
> contines as it has so far, I think it will serve as pretty
> convincing evidence for the "speed kills" mantra (to which, of
> course, government ministers are exempt).
the evidence is unconvincing though.
Paul Jakma Sys Admin Alphyra
paulj at alphyra.ie
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