Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Bill writes: Per your recent article…
Unfortunately, the speed limits have to be set to take into account the drivers that don’t know what they don’t know, driving way above their skill level, and way too fast for conditions. The sad fact is 30 percent of the population has no real conception of how to drive appropriately. For example, residential speed limits where I live are typically 25 miles per hour. There are mothers walking their babies, small children riding bicycles, older people out for walks, etc. You and I both know how to drive an appropriate speed so when the unexpected child pops out of nowhere we are ready. This 30 percent of the population I speak of are not smart enough to understand going 60 mph down a residential street is not appropriate. I see a certain percentage of them going 60 mph anyway, regardless of the posted speed limit. They are a clear and very real danger to themselves and everyone around them. They are traveling well beyond a speed where they could take any sort of corrective action to avoid disaster.How would you suggest dealing with this?
My reply: Well, let’s begin with what you’ve already conceded!
“I see a certain percentage of them going 60 mph anyway, regardless of the posted speed limit.”
Ergo, what is the point of these limits? Certainly, you can “ticket” these people. But does it stop them? You’ve acknowledged that it does not. Just as “gun control” mostly only controls the people who don’t need to be “controlled.”
I believe that control is neither possible – nor desirable. In the first place, there will always be people who are uncontrollable. In the second, control will be applied to everyone, preemptively and presumptively.
Indeed, this is exactly the case with regard to speed limits. Everyone who drives faster than the posted limit is presumed to be “dangerous.” They are subject to punishment even though they have caused no harm. And almost everyone is subject to punishment because the posted speed limits are set at the least-common-denominator level (or even lower).
Why should driver X – who is skilled and in full control of his car – be punished solely because he is driving his car faster than a speed limit based on the lack of skill of driver Y?
Should swimming pool deep ends be outlawed? Or is it better that those who can swim be left free to swim in the deep end while those who can’t remain where they can stand?
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