Vos wanted higher WI speed limit; credit him the carnage
The Journal Sentinel has the data: fatal highway crashes are spiking with the higher speed limit pushed by the road-builder lobby's newest best friend, noted transit foe and Governor-in-training Robin Vos.
So file this from 12/9/13 under "told you so," or just plain "duh!":
Encouraging Wisconsin drivers to go faster is going to cost lives.Along with this highway safety double-standard from earlier in 2013:
But Vos has yet to get behind modest efforts in the Legislature to tweak state OWI statutes and treat some first offenses as misdemeanors if offenders' blood alcohol content measured 0.15 or higher, or about twice the current legal BAC limit of 0.08. Offenders blowing 0.14 and below - - still just a ticket...
So we could end up with higher speeds on state highways to match what's posted in other states - - the uniformity or consistency argument - - but continue to be the exception on drunk driving and merely ticket (enable) first-time (caught) drunk drivers up to 0.14 who would be charged with a misdemeanor if they were caught over the border blowing 'only' 0.08.
Make sense?I mean, why listen to stupid experts with facts in hand when a Robin Vos knows better?
AAA Wisconsin is urging the Wisconsin State Senate to stop proposed legislation that would raise the maximum speed limit on rural highways to 70 mph due to concerns that higher speeds make it more difficult for vehicles to slow or stop in order to avoid a collision, and can increase the severity of resultant crashes. AAA is particularly alarmed about the potential implications for trucks, as their weight makes those considerations even more pressing.
The legislation would result in a 5 mile per hour increase to the current maximum speed limit in the state, which would have a dramatic effect on the stopping distance of trucks, lengthening it by up to 100 feet.
This is a concern for all drivers, as according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 8 in 10 truck crashes are multi-vehicle collisions, and over 70 percent of injuries and fatalities sustained in truck crashes are the occupants of the other vehicles.
The evidence from neighboring states provides a clear warning: higher speed limits lead to higher rates of truck involvement in fatal crashes. According to the most recent data available from NHTSA (2012), Wisconsin’s rate for large truck involvement in fatal crashes was 7.4 percent, while Minnesota and Iowa - which allow trucks to travel 70 mph on rural highways - were at 10 and 13.2 percent, respectively. Michigan, which has a differential speed limit that keeps trucks below 60 mph even in places where cars are allowed to travel 70 mph, was well below Wisconsin at 5.2 percent.
As usual, Scott Walker's BFF MJS (three endorsements despite their own published reports on his criminality) is spinning this story to protect Scott Walker.
Yes, everyone know that there would be more deaths and accidents when the speed limit went up and not most people feel they can hang 10 mph over the limit and cruise at 80 mph. I regularly am on I94 and if you are not in the left/fast lane at doing at least 80, people flip you the bird and drive aggressively around you.
But the bigger story is that the current state of construction projects, which Scott Walker will get-away with institutionalizing for at least 5 years now, is adding to the deaths and accidents. This should be the main story about Walker's retaliation against the Madison-Milwaukee corridor because those communities do overwhelmingly vote against him.
Delaying construction and using money elsewhere, even to start new projects in more Walker-friendly Northern Wisconsin is just an even more deadly version of Chris Christie's Bridgegate. No one that distributes news beyond limited local distribution is touching this -- people in Madison forget that the insert they see weekly in WSJ is not shared elsewhere.
The real carnage is not going to be the 70 mph speed limit and this a fairly common speed limit across America. The highways with this limit meet certain Federal standards to qualify for the extra 5 mph. Making this about 5 mph is not going to generate an understanding of the bigger problem.
Walker is proposing dangerous delays to construction, the Senate has already caved to this demand, and the Assembly will capitulate too. Remember, it isn't just about unsafe bumper-to-bumper traffic (did anyone else try to commute across Milwaukee's I94 after a semi jackknifed in the construction on Hwy 41/45 north this morning?)
For some of the most important hours of each day now, it is impossible for emergency responders to get across critical corridors in the greater Madison & Milwaukee area. It will soon be impossible for prompt responses for at least 5 years (and probably longer).
So…We sacrifice a few citizens for the urge to express our urges through higher highway speeds. It just feels better to drive faster…to be the winner in the macho highway speed contests that occupy our anxious minds. Speed and power are my drugs.
Four decades ago we faced a very real transportation fuel crisis. A crisis only matched by severe air pollution caused in part by the fuel consumed by every urban car in every mile. The simple solution; slow down and burn less fuel per mile driven. Create fewer toxic emissions per mile. That’s right…To help the planet’s environment and preserve a limited fuel resource we decided to LOWER the speed limit. Simple common sense for us and for our children’s future. It came with ‘great’ sacrifice. A 20 mile highway commute at the speed limit now took almost 3.5 minutes longer travel time. A commuter had to leave almost 4 minutes earlier to arrive on time. Breakfasts were gulped and coffee was chugged. Fuel costs were lower due to the improved efficiency at lower speeds. Was it worth the price?
Fast forward to the age of rampant narcissism. Screw the environment and our screw children’s future. Today’s wise legislator will pander to the new generation of anti-science voter. Jack up the speed limit and let ‘er rip. Just believe we have unlimited oil resources and that climate change science is a lie. What…Me worry? What kind of short sighted fool would lead us to this brink? Never mind… Let’s jack it up to 80 mph and stay in power another term. Freedom! Heady days for the GOP.
Post a Comment