In Reply to: Re: Rudy's comment - "speed doesn't kill" (long) posted by V on October 05, 1999 at 21:11:31:
I am not saying that all other things being held constant, speed has no bearing on your risk of dying. I am merely saying that speed alone does not increase your likelihood of being killed. There are many other factors that contribute to your "chances".
Driving fast also yields some other side effects that lead to a safer drive:
-When driving at greater speed, I (and many other drivers) are more attentive to my driving yielding shortened reaction times.
-The above reason leads to lessened chances of falling asleep or not noticing the '74 Roadmaster drifting into your lane.
-Driving faster enables you to put more distance between your car and the others (assuming you don't fly up to traffic ahead)
With respect to the data in the article:
There are many factors that contribute to the number of traffic fatalities. That is why there is a downward trend in incidences (no-one here is claiming that increased speed is decreasing the traffic deaths). However, given the fact that there are multiple factors contributing to a decrease in fatalities and one factor decidedly changes in the middle of the plot, we would be able to detect a change in the second derivative of the function if it caused an effect. There is no such change even when looked at very closely (calculate the P-values if you wish).
Finally, I do not think it would be wise for everyone to drive 100mph all the time. I just find it funny that even though I could stop and corner better in my 323 sport at 100mph than the aforementioned '74 Roadmaster at 55mph and much better than an 18 wheeler at the same speed we are all somehow considered 'safe' at 55mph and unsafe at 56mph. I do not advocate different speed limits based on the "specs" of one's car - that would be impossible to implement and enforce but I am just trying to raise the point that driving is inherently 'risky' and that a good driver manages risk wisely. We could all drive 20mph or take the train and traffic deaths would certainly decrease but that would clearly be lunacy. I just think that when I drive 'cautiously' (I am still hanging on to that term) at 100mph on clear, well lit, almost deserted highways, I am not causing undue risk to myself or others on the road. Compare this to other behavior frequently exhibited on our roadways and I do believe that I am keeping my personal risk level reasonably low. And after all, what is the point of a BMW if you are going to observe our speed limits?
P.S. To give you an idea of how high I set my personal standards for "good conditions" consider the fact that I reach 100mph on public roadways probably 4-5 times a year. Most of the time I am content to do 70-75mph.