Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Montana - No Speed Limit Safety Paradox

Research scientists and engineers have long known that there are sometimes unexpected results from changes in public policies. Ironically, the paradox of no posted speed limits and low fatalities is no surprise to the traffic safety engineering community.

For years, motorists’ advocates have used engineering-based facts against artificially low speed limits. They have claimed that by raising speed limits to reasonable levels, accident and fatality rates will actually be reduced. This seemingly wild assertion has been documented by the traffic engineering profession for 50 plus years. This fact–based position has again been proven to be true by the repeal of the National Speed Limit. The nation has recorded the lowest highway fatality rate since such records have been kept.

What about the extreme of No Speed Limits on 4 lane Interstate and rural federal–aid primary two lane highways? These same fact–based engineers point to the German Autobahn, where, with no speed limits, authorities are consistently reporting lower fatality rates than comparable US highways.

For the last 5 months of no daytime limits in Montana, the period after its Supreme Court had ruled that the Reasonable and Prudent law was unconstitutional, reported fatal accidents declined to a record low. Fixed speed limits were reinstated on Memorial Day weekend 1999. Since then, fatal accidents have begun to rise again.

Posted via email from The Blue Pelican

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