When Speed Doesn’t Even Scratch The Paint

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There are fast drivers and there are sloppy, incompetent drivers.tickets to sve lives

They are not necessarily the same drivers.

This is a distinction I have been trying to make for years in my writing about the “speed” issue. It’s one of the least understood, most demagogued issues I know of. And it has caused generations of pointless (or at least, unjustified) harassment and screwed millions out of probably billions of dollars in exactly the same way and for the same ultimate purpose as street muggings. The only difference is we’re taught – conditioned – to accept the latter form of strong-arm robbery as somehow acceptable because it’s done under color of “law” and by an anointed class of robbers who speak a certain lingo and make it all seem legit.

Well, it’s not.

Anytime you’re interfered with by a man with a gun who at least implicitly threatens to use it on you if you decline his advances – you having done no harm to anyone or anything – it’s not legit.

And you’re the victim.

Speed is a variable, like pretty much anything in this world that involves people.

I can bench-press about 285 pounds on a good day. My wife cannot bench press 75 pounds on her best day. It would be very unsafe indeed for her to attempt to bench press 285 pounds. On the other hand, it would be ridiculous to limit me to bench pressing no more than 85 pounds on account of my wife’s lesser capacity.speeding to keep us safe

We do not (uh, well, we used to not) limit the smart kids because the not-as-smart kids couldn’t keep up. We (used to) have different “tracks” for both. The important point being it wasn’t practice to hold back the bright kids for the sake of the not-bright ones. We let the bright kids advance according to their abilities.

Und so weiter, as the saying goes in German.

Yet, the principle is not applied in another area of life where it is obvious – a self-evident truth – that people vary.

Driving – and traffic laws.

Is it not a maxim – a mathematical truth, almost – that some people are better drivers than others? What does this imply?

Is it reasonable to take the view that a skilled, attentive driver may be able to operate at much higher speed with less likelihood of losing control than an average or low-skilled driver operating at lower speed?


It is as obvious as noting the fact that Ronda Rousey stands a better chance of making it from one end of a dark alley in a bad neighborhood to the other end of the alley than you or I probably do.seatbelt pic

The problem – the unacknowledged fact of life –  is that we each have varying skill levels and the law does not take this into account. Someone who does not feel comfortable with “x” speed will usually regard another person who is comfortable at “x” speed as operating “unsafely” – even if that person is in full control of their vehicle and has not caused any problems for anyone. This is why the disagreement about speed limits – an inherently subjective and arbitrary construct. It is why we have “one-size-fits” all speed limits that reflect the capacities of the low-average driver (and therefore punish the skilled, above-average driver for no good reason).

So, what’s the right approach? Here’s my 50:

Rather than subject everyone to a dumbed-down average or laws that are premised on everyone being inept (for example, no right on red laws) why not make the standard, use your judgment – with the understanding that you (as an individual) will be held fully accountable if your judgment is poor?

In other words, stop hassling people for “speeding” and other manufactured offenses that have no victim (except the person being stopped by the cop) and instead, hold people accountable if they cause harm? Meaning, if I lose control and hit your car, then I (and no one else) am responsible for restitution, for paying the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, covering your medical expenses, etc.radar gun

But otherwise, leave me (and others) be. No more punishing people for things that haven’t actually happened but which someone else feels “might.”

Liberty – and responsibility.

It’s a challenging notion, I realize. It gives many people – habituated as they are to collective punishment – the willies. They fear Ragnarok on the roads. It’s a silly fear. Based on the idea that basically everyone is not just nuts but barely contained homicidal and maniacal. Most people are neither. And those few who are will not be deterred by laws that tell them not to be. Cue “drug free” school zones where everything from joints to high-grade meth are readily available to any seventh grader with $10 and “gun free” cities where you are orders of magnitude more likely to be shot to death than in places where ordinary folks are trusted to handle guns responsibly and almost always do.ants

The writer William Burroughs once quipped that the first thing they do after a shooting is try to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it.

It’s the same with “speeding.” Some idiot loses control of his car and rather than hold the idiot accountable, everyone else is punished for not having lost control of their car.

Are we men – or ants?

Ants are pretty much all the same, so one size does fit all. The ants are probably ok with this order of things. It is natural to them. But we’re people and we vary. Some of us are better at some things than others are – and it’s madness and meanness to punish people for being better on the premise that others aren’t.

Wrecks are going to happen, regardless – just as some people are going to shoot people regardless of the laws that say don’t do that.

The question is whether we’re going to accept being punished for not shooting people on account of the fact that “someone” might… and whether that same ridiculous notion will continue to be applied to driving.

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    • Pretty much everyone that goes to jail for any reason hastens our economic collapse, distorts authentic interactions, and turns us all into enemies for no good reason.

      When will we finally weary of this cancerous law and order plantation, and stop fulfilling our roles as eager slavecatchers and backbiting snitches, about to finally climb the ladder if we just play along a little longer?

      The idea that 320 million strangers can hold each other accountable to some paper tiger protocols and vague marching orders using millions of enforcers and billions of statutes is ludicrous.

      As an exercise in moral philosophy, I of course enjoy reading these articles and everyone comments and wisdom.

      But in the real world, I couldn’t care less what the 2 million people in this metro area are doing when they drive, or what they’re thinking, and what their beliefs are.

      I do know that the small communities where I came from have turned into complete neighborhood watch cop fluffing hellholes, and that the bigger the communities become, the worse things have grown to be in most cases.

      Whatever they say the news is, I can be sure its not what I should really be concerning myself with. If nationalist socialists of Germany were still in power today, they would be repulsed by what Americans have become, that I think they would abandon their superstitious nonsense, after witnessing just how dysfuncitonal and useless America has become in such a short period of time.

      All of current events and politics is swill thrown in the trough by oligarch millionaires in the hopes that we’ll keep our heads down and hungrily consume their swill, instead of finding our own interests and areas of inquiry that we personally enjoy.

      The caliber of individuals has fallen considerably, but thankfully, I am able to follow libertarian blogs like this one and talk to people all over the world that are not only literate, but numerate and self-contemplative as well.

      The articles are getting tighter and tighter all the time. Keep up the great work and all the great comments, I really do enjoy reading everything here, and appreciate the chance to have my say.

  1. Here is the flaw in your “no size fits all” theory: in school zones Monday through Friday, 7 – 9 and 2 – 4, it doesn’t matter how well you drive; 20mph is the maximum reasonable speed you and everyone else should carry on. The school zone is an area where you are effectively guaranteed children will be darting about, and there is just no good reason to go any faster. Period.

    As to the other thing–the problem with speeds justified by driving prowess, when the boneheads see you whipping around in your Countach, they will say, “Well, Eric does it, boo-hoo,” and they will do it. “Punish them,” you say. Somebody’s dead. There is no compensation for the love, lost. The driver might go to jail for seven years, but the family whose love one is dead can never be repaid. This driving/ticket analogy is not as close to forfeiting freedom for safety as you think, I think. There are certain things in life that just must be regulated, and when you’re regulating for the masses, you’re regulating for the asses.

    So, do you advocate for special drivers’ licenses for advanced drivers? If you’re a badass and take the uber-driver test you get a green one, and 10 extra miles per hour? I bet if we did that, then we’d hear complaints that the green-license guy was pulled over without probable cause. Or was impeded from going about business for an unreasonable stop. “After all, I’m a green-license guy. Couldn’t smokey bear tell by my smooth moves?”

    I’m a badass with sub-machine guns. I am not allowed to walk the streets with one slung under my coat. I think it sucks, but I make do with a 1911. Same thing.

    I’m down with you that these taxation pirates are robbing everybody blind. Does that mean we get to go 50 in a school zone?

    Sometime, one size does fit all.

    • Can someone PULEASE label this moron a statist with a big honking 2 leaf clover?

      Thanks for your attention to this matter.

      Your Servant,

      • Just a note, these days I plan my routes to work. I go out of my way to AVOID statist indoctrination centers. Of course, now that I’m on 2nd shift that issue isn’t predominant. Thank the creator! I find it amusing that a city like Memphis creates tons of prison complexes, whoops SICs and do so on every major traffic venue. Is it just to piss off people trying to get to work? Who knows.

        More later when the smoke has cleared.


    • One school zone I have driven through for 40 years I have always wondered about. Some day, I’m sure to see a kid in it but not yet. I used to drive through it every day, twice a day for years and years. There is a school nearby and I’m still waiting to see a child. There’s another school about ten blocks away. I see children there…..but only when mommy is picking them up in her one ton 4WD crewcab pickup. Forget SUV’s, not enough mass. Mom knows she can plow through anything with that big diesel. She probably roams that other school, the one with no visible children.

      • Agreed eight. Schools are like prisons. You only go out to the yard when the warden says so.

        Sandman says, “The school zone is an area where you are effectively guaranteed children will be darting about”. Residential streets in the summer time are a lot higher chance of children “darting about”, in my experience…….but this has nothing to do with Eric’s fine article.

        What don’t people get about personal liability? Is it so hard?

        • In all my years driving past schools I’ve never encountered children darting about at the school. Other places sure, just not in front of the schools during school hours.

        • ancap, going outside was a privilege when I was a kid. The playground itself was the most dangerous thing in our lives and you were free to do the most dangerous stuff with it you could dream of. We had a home made(everything was, by people who made stuff to last)swing set that was really tall so the swings could get some serious height. We used to try to get them to the perfect angle and bail and whoever flew the furthest was the winner. Of course, you had to avoid the stone wall where the drift sand bunched up and allowed a somewhat soft landing. Then one day, this classmate of mine flew into the wall, not the first to do so, but the only one to break his arm. So we were banned from bailing toward the wall and the hard packed clay and gravel on the other side were our landing zone after that. It was a bit tougher on us all and how nobody ever broke their arm landing on that is a mystery to me.

          The teachers sat in the steps for the most part and watched us and I’m sure were entertained by the daredevil aspect of it. I don’t recall a girl ever trying this but that was probably more a social thing than fear. What if some of the larger, very athletic girls had bested us? For whatever reason, that chance was never taken but I’d bet a girl or two would have liked to do so. School was a damned strange place. I’m not sure how much morals had to do with anything but mores’ certainly did. Now we have a country that can’t distinguish the difference in the two.

          My old friends are even caught up in it. They’re all about upholding arbitrary rules of law, like sex is illegal with a girl before a certain age and boys at some age too although everyone knows boys who have sex very young simply consider themselves very lucky since the male in general considers sex at any age a great thing.

          A guy I know well got on a rant about this once and I pointed out his grandmother had his mother when she was barely 14, not uncommon. He said “yeah, but times change”. No shit and it’s all somebody’s idea with the power to make their idea “right” that counts.

          Loretta Lynn was a grandmother at 28 but nobody mentions child abuse since it’s known by yankees and other brainwashed that southerners are simply ignorant and depraved.

          I can promise you out here in Comanche country many 14 year old girls and boys were full fledged adults….or even younger. You better have your shit together to survive. And it’s the good life so to speak that’s turned so many 18 year olds into children when only 50 years ago you were told when you left the homestead to not to expect to come back. That was fine with me and my wife. After my wife and I were married and suddenly lost the house we rented due to a family situation wanting it back toot sweet, we lived a couple weeks with my parents trying to find a house. Oy vey…..and I’m sure that’s what we were all saying to ourselves.

    • Hi Sandman,

      You write, “someone’s dead” – and use that to justify punishing people who had nothing to do with it because you fear they might – at some future time – also cause harm to a purely hypothetical “someone.”

      I prefer the exercise of individual judgment – and holding individuals accountable for what they do. It raises the general stock of the race. People become more rather than less responsible when given the liberty to choose – and when they are held accountable for bad choices.

      The main problem with your argument is that it discourages judgment, tends to turn people into cattle. This is what happens when they’re conditioned not to think – but to blindly obey. Look around. Am I on solid ground here?

      Also, once accepted, your premise always becomes the basis for more. You appear to like guns. So I assume you understand the problem with “reasonable” gun control laws? Do you believe they deter the psychos determined to kill people with guns? Is there evidence of this? Or the contrary?

      I do not advocate for special driver’s licenses, by the way.

      I support the harm caused standard for holding people accountable. If there is no victim, then there can be no crime.

    • I drive through school zones every day. I am tailgated by parents. You know, the people who have children where the state says I have to drive very slow or else. So I drive very slow and the parents of these children are tailgating me in their child haulers, often with the kids in them. If I wasn’t there obeying the law they would be doing well over the school zone speed limit. as their closing speed shows. These parents are hypocrites as I’ll bet most of them use this same nonsense as you to argue for low speed limits.

      The whole residential street and school zone thing is simply a distraction. It has absolutely no bearing on what some two lane rural road, suburban arterial, or an interstate should have as a speed limit.

      • What seems to be so difficult to understand about ‘Reasonable and prudent under existing conditions’?
        Yes, post a sign warning of a school zone and the applicable hours. Most of us will adhere fairly closely to what they normally post, under those conditions. Just because we want to drive unobstructed at ‘reasonable’ speeds on open roads, doesn’t mean we are sociopathic morons.

        • The speed limit sign itself was supposed to be the warning. Speed limit signs weren’t supposed to be everywhere initially that’s why if you read the fossilized vehicle code there are default R&P speeds or even speed limits for street types. A particularly low PSL was to serve as a warning of conditions ahead. But the control freaks had to put low PSLs just about everywhere destroying the meaning of the speed limit sign.

          While the 85th percentile speed holds true for the nature of conditions drivers can see and feel when there is a hidden danger or something like a school, a speed limit sign is supposed to warn us about it. This is where the 85th percentile method doesn’t apply. That’s where that school zone speed limit sign is supposed to do something, but it’s been rendered meaningless by the control freaks.

    • When I went to school in the 60s in Indytown, there were no fences where my school property met the road. In the 8 years I was there, not one child ran onto the road into a moving vehicle. Now, isn’t that amazing!!!!!! When I went past the same school a few years ago, there were high chain link fences around the school boundaries. And in those 8 same years, no children were kidnapped off the school grounds. Not even by coppers (P.I.G.S.). Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, so why are there tall fences there now? Must have been those goofy kids running into the street to do jumping jacks in front of cars full of drivers with their eyes glued to the speedometer!!!!!!

  2. Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that arguing the particulars is pointless. It doesn’t matter how many times we prove that speed doesn’t kill or that slowest ship in the fleet is bad way to run things or anything else. It’s all cover for what I am coming to believe is the real overseeing base issue. An issue which covers not only driving but everything. Every social interference every economic interference every safety interference, government running the schools, and every health/medical interference. That issue is those who run this country, run the world likely, see everyone else as their property. Livestock.

    Think about it. The entire system is managed like an industrial farm or ranch run by a sociopath who desires to extract as much as possible out of his animals until they drop dead. Doubt that? Well think about it for a moment. How do they justify their latest mandate, law, whatever? Well there was X productivity loss because people (fill in the blank) and this new (regulation,mandate,law) will mitigate it.

    How much did the farm animals produce? What is reducing the farm animal’s production?

    Remember the Ford Pinto? Remember how the legend says Ford employees did a calculation on the value of every life lost? What the legend doesn’t tell us is that the calculation was required by the US Federal government. It is a calculation using what the government considers the value of a life to “society”. If a proposed mandate costs more than the value of the lives saved ideally they are to scrap the proposal. Something isn’t to become standard equipment everywhere by the market, not if the customers of the cars value the measure it’s if the government determines if it would add or subtract to our net productivity.

    The cops are just sadistic ranch hands on the human farm. To keep us in our cages and thus safe from predators and safe from injuring ourselves and thus reducing our productivity to our owners. And if a few of us end up dead as examples to keep the greater herd producing, so it must be.

    Maybe I am off the wall here. But I always seek out the root cause. The overall theory that covers many areas. This is where it leads thus far, and really not much different than George Carlin’s famous observations.

  3. A considerable percentage of the populace are only marginally able to drive in the physical world. Inability to parallel park is one marker of incompetence. Can’t operate a vehicle with manual controls (tranny, steering and brakes) is another marker. Doesn’t know how to change a tire is a third marker. Dash gauges and idiot lights are meaningless is a fourth.

    Might be a whiz with Grand Theft Auto but totally worthless in a Cobalt when the engine conks out or the floor mat shifts around.

  4. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but what about HOV restrictions. Most of us here know that the ‘safety’ claims for PSLs, seat belts, etc., are bogus, but they can’t even try to make that claim for HOV violations. How would I be endangering anyone by driving alone in an HOV-2 lane? Yet there are hefty fines and points that affect your insurance cost in many, if not all, states.

  5. Not only driver skill, but the totality of circumstances is what matters. Out here at the fringe of the peoples democracy of communisota, I routinely text and drive. It is of course sloppy practice, but when the black hats can get a radar read from 5 miles away and the revenue generation limits are set low enough to pay off handsomely, you have to drive too slowly. Not only does this slowly cost you your life and diminish your income, it causes boredom and distraction. So if I can keep my business and life going by taking my unneeded concentration off the road for 5-10 seconds at a time, it’s sensible to do so.

  6. I have 2 problems with this:

    1) Dunning-Kruger effect. Everybody rates themselves as “above average” and thinks the other guy is the idiot. Very few people can accurately judge their own skill.

    2) What about the idiot who sold them the car they couldn’t handle in the first place? The whole point of licensing was to take training and evaluation (and liability) away from the dealers and insurance peddlers and put it in the hands of the state. In an ideal world, the seller would be required to make sure you can handle the vehicle. Instead they just give you what you want and send you down the road. It’s not their fault you wrapped your fancy new Hellcat around a tree, you were licensed by the state, and that’s good enough for them! No accountability, no liability. Profit guaranteed.

    It was decided that the state would issue drivers’ licenses because they were a “neutral 3rd party.” That means the state has no skin in the game, at least in theory. Of course, the reality is that they see citations as a revenue stream, but that’s not my point. It didn’t matter to the state if you passed the test or not. But soon after the automobile became indispensable in the 1950s city evacuation plans (spreading out the population meant a higher likelihood of survival in case of nuclear attack), everyone needed to drive to get from place to place. So more rules were added, tests dumbed down and roads and technology improved. Now instead of being a test of your ability and knowledge, the license process was more a rite of passage, your right as a 16 year old American.

    BTW, I feel the same way about gun ownership. I don’t believe the state should be issuing permits/licenses or anything else that restricts gun ownership. HOWEVER (and I’m sure I’m going to get some s*** for this), in the absence of self-policing gun stores and irresponsible owners, I understand the desire of some to put the state in charge of weapons. The 2nd amendment is not one-sided. Just because there’s no law preventing you from walking in off the street and buying a gun with a cursory check of your driver’s license doesn’t mean the store owner should just load you up with whatever you want.

    • The 2nd Amendment is not a grant, it is a recognition of an existing human right, that of self defense. The words ‘shall not be infringed’ are not there just as window dressing.
      By what right does any government exist? The Declaration of Independence calls it ‘the consent of the governed.’ I don’t know about you, but I have not consented to any of this nonsense. If that’s what floats your boat, you are welcome to it. But you have no right to impose it on me or anyone else who does not consent.
      Since when is a state, or any other level of gunvermin, a ‘neutral 3rd party’?

    • “Dunning-Krueger Effect” = we all live in Lake Woebegone.
      Anyone who drives faster than me is an idiot, but anyone who drives slower and obstructs me is an anal orifice.
      See BrentP’s post elsewhere on the 85% rule for scientific information on driving too fast.

    • Hi Eric,

      This is the beauty of the harm-caused standard. It is objective, inarguable.

      If I do not wreck, if I do not injure anyone or damage anyone’s property as a result of my driving then there is a compelling case to be made that I am driving safely, within my limits, etc.

      Regardless of my speed.

      No victim? No crime. Case dismissed. (Heck, how about no charges being brought in the first place?)

      And, conversely, if I do wreck, if I do injure someone or their property, then it is pretty damned hard to argue that I was driving safely, within my limits. And regardless of my speed.

      The mental block many people have in re the “harm caused” standard is their feeling that something might happen. Well, maybe. But maybe not.

      But if not, then shouldn’t the default assumption be – leave him be?

      Yes, I know, there are “crazies” out there. But those are extreme/unrepresentative examples and besides, such people are not deterred by laws.

      I “speed” literally every time I drive. So do most people. So what? I have a 30 year record of accident-free driving.

      Yet that won’t help me – as an argument – in court next month when I try to fight a bullshit “speeding” ticket I received at the hands of a bearded fuckwit Parkway Pig.

      • Hi Eric,

        You are spot on as usual. When I try to explain to people what a racket it is, I usually get either the “blank stare” or the eye rolling with the comment along the lines of “well, that’s just how it is so ya just gotta smile”.
        I grew up skiing with much of my family and friends in ski patrol. The policy back in the day was you can ski as fast as you want on the open mountain as long as you were in control. You ski fast in slow zones, i.e. more crowded areas or are flailing about while hauling ass, you are gonna get a talking to.
        Seems that would be a good one for the roads.

        • jib,

          You ski fast in slow zones, i.e. more crowded areas or are flailing about while hauling ass, you are gonna get a talking to.

          In most skiing areas (that I have seen) the slow zones are only a small fraction of the total available ski terrain. (usually {much} less than ~5%)

          I would welcome skiing area policy (regarding speed limits and lift tickets {license to drive}) brought to the roadway.

      • Exactly right. That’s not my point. Yes, YOU can handle speed and know your limits. But there are millions of others out there who cannot and should not be permitted to drive the same way you do. They should not be buying 700HP automobiles, no matter how much they want one, and should be steered away from these models by the sales staff. Unfortunately “the customer is always right” is the rule of the day when it comes to choosing a model, and what baby wants baby gets. And because everyone is a special snowflake, they just simply have to be great drivers too. Never mind that they have no idea how to take a corner at speed or to stay off the brakes in snow.

        • “Unfortunately ‘the customer is always right’ is the rule of the day.”
          And the problem with that is …. ?
          You are not their mother, and until and unless they cause harm, how they drive or what they drive is none of your business. This is supposed to be a free country.
          Get a life of your own and stay out of ours.

          • Yea, and with the freedom to sell any automobile I want comes the responsibility to make a judgement as to the ability of the buyer.

            Or do you think Christian bakeries should be required to sell wedding cake to people who are violating their moral beliefs?

            I’m on your side here, really I’m playing devil’s advocate more than anything else. But lately I’ve been trying to figure out just how this mess we call the law came about to begin with, and why we’ve all become so polarized in the last 20 years or so. It seems something changed, I don’t quite know what. I have a feeling there was a time when merchants were more likely to deny service to someone for their own good, and most people would get the hint. Think about the scene in 2nd act of any 1940s movie where the bartender cuts off the main character because he’s had enough. How often does that happen today? Does it ever happen today? Or have business people become what the media portrays them to be: Soulless, greedy and only worried about making a quick buck.

            I, for one, would rather live in a world were we all “police” each other, keeping 3rd parties like insurance companies and government out of our transactions. But making the assumption that you will ALWAYS make the best decision for yourself is foolish at best and disastrous at worst. Note that I didn’t say government should be making that decision for you, lord no. Libertarians should at least acknowledge they aren’t experts on everything and be willing to defer to someone who actually might be an expert on a specific topic.

            • Hi Eric,

              Of course, as a seller, you should be free to not see whatever the item is. But no one has the right to tell others what they may sell – or buy.

              I don’t think anyone is claiming to be all-knowing. The issue – as I see it – is not taking decisions for other people but rather, leaving them free to be accountable (as individuals) for the decisions they make.

              • eric, speaking of selling. Texas used to let the parties involved in auto transfer fill out the price given and therefore the tax paid. No more. Now they assign a price and it’s up to you to disprove it as incorrect. What a system, assign 20G for a ragged out vehicle not worth half that. Now that’s definitely collecting revenue.

                  • Probably due to gun freedom. From what I’ve been told by friends who live there, the right to self-protection is taken very seriously out that way. Unfortunately, other than that it seems that Texas has been subject to the same kind of creeping statism as the rest of ’em.

                    • “Texas has been subject to the same kind of creeping statism as the rest of ’em.”
                      Thanks in part to Rick ‘Gardasil’ Perry, a ‘conservative’ Republican.
                      Story is no doubt apocryphal, but at one time it was supposedly considered an adequate defense to say, “Your honor, he needed killing.”

        • Hi Eric,

          I understand your concern – there be idiots out there – but why presume anyone’s an idiot before he’s given cause?

          If someone causes harm, they’re responsible – and ought to be held accountable. I agree. Indeed, I am emphatic on this point. Liberty requires accountability. It cannot exist without it.

          And tyranny cannot exists so long as only individuals are held accountable for the harm they (and only they) actually cause.

    • 1. Yep, nobody wants to think they are average, but most of us are, or closer to average than we think we are.

      Again, statistically, there’s more reaction time @ 55 mph vs. 70 mph, & much less energy to dissipate if G_d forbid, a crash occurs.

      Plus it saves fuel – yes, there is more fuel used for a given vehicle @ 55 mph vs. 70 mph, & the difference is most notable with “blocky” but popular vehicles like trucks & SUVs.

      So we add more & more safety features to new vehicles to try & compensate for the negative effects of higher average highway speeds.

      2. You see this happen all the time with those who are rich enough to buy trouble, e.g. Paul Walker’s driver, JFK, Jr.’s plane crash – both were trying to operate beyond their abilities to control the equipment.

      The only driver I’ve ever personally met I’d consider above average was one who had (by the time I met him) over 20 years of racing experience.

      • “nobody wants to think they are average, but most of us are, or closer to average than we think we are”
        Of course, that is the meaning of average. But most of the PSLs are not based on average ability, but on the ‘least common denominator.’ Or on what the local ‘LEOs’ think they can get away w/ticketing.

      • Hi Bill,

        The average person is also overweight and out of shape. I’d still not punish people who are neither – much less give the government such authority.

        “Saves fuel.” So? If I bought the fuel, no one else has ownership claims… right? Why is it anyone else’s rightful concern how efficiently (or not) I use the fuel I paid for? See example above.

        It would also “save food” to limit a person’s daily allowable calorie intake. And a calorie limit imposed by force – could be justified in just the same was as lower speed limits are justified as a way to “save fuel.”

        This is precisely the sort of control-freak-ism I’m trying to stomp.

        PS: “We” didn’t add safety features. The government mandated them. I myself have little use for them – not having wrecked in decades (and being willing to assume whatever hypothetical increased risk might attend driving a car not equipped with air bags and so on).

      • “yes, there is more fuel used for a given vehicle @ 55 mph vs. 70 mph.” That depends on the gearing. Let’s ask 8SM and his brethren if their fuel costs went down in the 70s when the Fedgov mandated double nickel went into effect?

          • This, of course is aside from Eric’s point about “What business is it of anyone else’s how I use the fuel I have paid for.”

        • PtB, not only did it rise but taking into account trying to make a living at 55 vs 70 was a real deal breaker, a killer of free enterprise. In 1975, 75% of owner/operators folded. In 1976, 75% of owner/operators folded. That left very few people who could survive. And even lots of companies folded. Even in the 80’s trucking companies became tax write-offs for big corporations. The rigs with one name for months all of a sudden appeared with another name. This went on for years. Some of the worst years were during Reagans’ era. He deregulated trucking rates, a good thing by most uninformed libertarians and free market individuals…..and it would have been good had not the oil companies and railroads not gotten huge subsidies. Even back then the RR’s got over a billion dollars per year in subsidy and more in tax breaks, probably more than the subsidy. Ever see a trucker get either?

          I used to say back in those days that take a billion dollars and divide it up between ALL the owner/operators in the US and we could have made it quite nicely. No doubt, there would have been a new run on trucks and a plethora of new O/O’s. Subsidy, it’s hard to beat, just ask all the people who live fine and have never considered a job.

  7. Here’s an idea worth considering too…when you take your drivers test, they set up a graduated obstacle course and test your ability to drive BEYOND THE MINIMUM STANDARD. Ya know, actually TEST your abilities to drive, multiplex tasks like cellphones, etc.

    Then depending on how you do, that range of speed is now “authorized” for you, and you get a special sticker on your plate showing that you’re “cleared” for that speed/skill set. Likewise, new drivers and ones that don’t do quite as good get their own sticker, so other drivers are aware that they are not as good a driver, and we should be careful around them. When you go to renew your license, they re-test that part to make sure your skills are still good, or they demote your range accordingly.

    That way, everyone wins! Skilled drivers get to go fast, and the cops still get their paying papers when someone tries to go outside their “skills”. Likewise, if an accident occurs, the judge at their discretion can lower the limit and make the person prove that they’re ready to move back up. Punishment tailored to the individual, as it should be.

    Might work?

    • In most European countries, a new driver has one of those oval shaped white and black stickers with an “L.” The L stands for learner. Once you’ve earned your license you can remove the L.

    • Real testing, at the state level, will not happen because of the cost involved. I was recently told that the reason most (if not all) states have removed the parallel parking requirement from their drivers test is that they were tired of redoing the test multiple times with those who could not do it. Especially since they could only charge them for the original test and not for the retest.

      • PtB, shit, the state can charge for anything…..anything. It makes the rules and could charge twice as much for the second test and so on. But things that make people howl too loudly are quietly axed.

        45 years ago I came up with a system that would allow drivers to drive their ability and everyone know it. Just have a color card to display in the window or something similar, a variant on that. The cops could see your variation. Of course that’s not what it’s about so that idea would never work.

        I’m sorry, I’m tired as can be. The next few weeks are going to be hell if it doesn’t cool off or Step Child doesn’t get it’s a/c fixed. We had a rain a couple days ago and now the humidity is way up and the heat is back too and no good SW wind…..and I don’t stop having 15 hr. days.

  8. Eric,

    You need to stop your crazy jibber jabber.

    You do not understand.
    I can’t drive (safely) above 55, therefore no one else should be permitted to drive above 55.

    I can’t drive (safely) and talk on sail fawn simultaneously, therefore no one else should be permitted to do so.

    I can’t drive until I’ve been belted, therefore everyone should be belted before driving.

    However, as soon as I complete the academy I will get a special star and uniform. I will then have the ability:
    to be more powerful than a speeding locomotive,
    to leap over tall buildings in a single bound.
    to travel faster than a speeding bullet.
    to break (most) laws without fear of repercussion.
    to rob from Peter to pay Paul.
    talk on a sail fawn while negotiating rush hour traffic.
    to belt others before and/or after they drive.

    Actually, everyone should go through the same academy as me. Then everyone will have the same special powers. [/sarcasm]


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