In Reply to: Well, that was instructional.... posted by Rudy on October 05, 1999 at 00:58:00:
They're basing their conclusions on statistics on deaths only and there's no control group so for all we know the death rates would have gone down even more without the speed increase.
They also didn't separate out accident data that relates to the topic. Many fatal accidents are at intercections which have nothing at all to do with the maximum legal speed on interstate highways. i.e. a decrease in the death rate at intersections, due to more cars having better side impact protection and side airbags, could mask an increase in the death rate on the highway.
Death rate figures also present the problem that the car's ability to protect it's occupants is contuniously improving. Seatbelt usage might also still be on the rise. i.e. Death rate may go down even though accident rate remains the same.
Bottom line is that we need to see how the highway ACCIDENT rate has been effected by the change in speed limit with special attention on the number of accidents in which speed was a causal factor. If such data is out there I haven't seen it.
OTOH, it doesn't take a physics professor to understand that you'll have more accidents at higher speeds. The question is what speed limit is a good comprimise between safety and efficency? Personally, I think 70 - 75 is pretty good. Other opinions will vary.
BTW, why did Montana drop it's "Safe and Reasonable" speed limit a while back? What happened to their highway accident rates when they took down the 65 MPH signs then again when they put a specific limit back up?