Camel Crossing Sign
Photo Credit: Treppenwitz
Last month John Warner, Republican Senator from Virginia, asked Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to look into what speed limit would provide optimum gasoline efficiency given current technology. He said he wants to know if the administration might support efforts in Congress to require a lower speed limit. A week later California's newest member of Congress, Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier, in her first bill proposed a new national speed limit of 60 miles per hour in an effort to combat high gas prices and lower traffic deaths.
What is it about idiots that makes their minds work like this? Next I suppose they will be passing legislation to make us eat less to help lower high food prices and help us live longer (yes, thin people live longer).
But the way to lower food or gasoline prices is not to attack the consumer but to remove barriers on the producer. Remove the restrictions on domestic drilling. A national speed limit as a solution to our oil problem is as efficacious as cleaning our windshield wipers to reduce air drag or checking our tire pressure, etc. It's silly to try to legislate lifestyle changes on Americans when plain economics will do the trick: the high price of gas has already reduced demand dramatically. Typically in summer months we expect gas prices to rise but instead they have fallen by more than 40 cents. There is no need to force Americans to conserve by legislative fiat.
As for the silly notion that speeding kills, the German Autobahn (with minor exceptions) does not have a speed limit although they recommend (can you imagine Germans actually suggesting instead of demanding?) going about 81 miles per hour. No speed limit? The highways must be littered with dead Germans! We should expect a higher traffic death rate on the autobahn than on American roads, no? No. The death rate on the autobahn for 2005 was 3 per 100,000 [Wiki]. The US traffic death rate in 2006? 14.7 per 100,000 - almost 5 times worse.
It isn't speed that kills it's our poor roads. And what causes poor roads? Unions. That's right, unions. Take New Jersey - please. Joking aside, take New Jersey for example. We have the highest cost for road maintenance in the nation yet our roads are the worst in the country. The single reason: unions. If we instead hired cheap labor to do our roads we would have enough money to have them done by the Germans who know how to lay down road. If we made our roads like the autobahn we could save tens of thousands of lives a year. That's what union road labor really costs us - thousands of lives yearly.
So if the oh-so-concerned legislators are worried about road deaths, they should ban the use of union labor on road maintenance.
If you're a Muslim and need to service two wives then breaking the speed limit is excusable:
Fausta's Blog, 5 Apr 2008,
UK: Polygyny now a good reason for speeding
He was going 65 miles an hour on a 30 mile zone, but it's OK because, as his lawyer says,"He has one wife in Motherwell and another in Glasgow and sleeps with one one night and stays with the other the next on an alternate basis.
"Without his driving licence he would be unable to do this on a regular basis."
I wonder if Saudi Arabia's restrictions on proper headgear contribute to one of the highest traffic death rates in the world (21 deaths per 100,000 people)?
Infidels Are Cool blog, 29 Apr 2008,
Sad reality for women in Saudi Arabia
Roads in Saudi Arabia are among the most dangerous in the world, with a high rate of traffic accidents. But one type of victim stands out: female teachers, who are dying at alarming rates because of long commutes through the desert to reach schools in remote locations.
The Saudi government appoints teachers to work in small villages where local staff cannot fill all vacancies. But unlike their male counterparts, female teachers in this conservative Muslim country have difficulty living alone in the villages, forcing them to drive each day; they need permission from a male guardian to live alone and have to find a landlord willing to rent them an apartment.
Has Everyone Gone Nuts blog, 11 Mar 2007,
Big Government Encroaching
Big government knows no bounds. Recently, we've discussed speech codes, forcing a total switch to flourescent [sic] lights, in Australia they want people to cut down on showers (unlike France where showers are rare), and now they are coming back to reduced speed limits--this time on the sacred German autobahns where no speed limits exist--all for the environment.
Maybe the E.U. was worried that Germans could invade France before France had time to raise the white flags.