As the host of one of the oldest and most famous racing events in the world, Indiana has always been known for fast cars. For now, those cars are still stuck on the racetrack, but a new study in the journal Transportation Research Record claims the roads are no more dangerous when motorists drive at Andretti-like speeds, providing further data in support of an American autobahn.
The study, conducted by researchers at Purdue University, looked at rural Indiana highways that raised their speed limits from 65 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour. Using the data of accidents along those highways from 2004 and 2006, the researchers determined that raising the speed limit did not raise the probability that a driver would suffer a serious injury in a car crash.
The study also looked at non-interstate multi-lane roads that went from a 55 mph speed limit to a 60 mph speed limit, but did not produce any significant data about those slower roads.
The report runs contrary to a wealth of data that contends lowering the interstate highway speed limit to 55 miles per hour to comply with 1974's Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act contributed to a significant decline in death and injury on America's roads. So while the jury is still out on whether or not that crucial five miles per hour imperils the nation or saves valuable commuting time, it's nice to know Hoosiers don't need to worry as much about injury when opening up on their newly fast highways.
There is a vast difference in my opinion between rural highways and interstates. The reason why autobahns work in Germany and why they won't work in the US is very simple. The american drives lack the discipline it takes to drive at such speeds safely (ie. slower drivers not only drive on the right lane/s and ONLY pass on the left, but you move out of the passing lane once you've passed the person).
While it not only has to do with discipline, it doesn't appear that the american highways are not designed for the smooth transition of traffic off and on the interstate like they are in Germany.
First of all, JadeLemon.
Where you got your information that German drivers are more disciplined drivers, I'd like to know. I am quite sure you could find plenty of autobahn drivers that complain about other autobahn drivers.
To the article... in just those two years, between '04 and '06 many improvements in car safety could have contributed to the fewer serious injuries. Cheaper cars are being made available with passenger side airbags along with side curtain air bags. Not to mention more, older cars would be off the road in that time. It would be much more appropriate to look at the number accidents in '04 compared to '06.
Would it be appropriate to have an "American autobahn" if it meant 20% more accidents even though serious injuries didn't rise?
This study doesn't seem to mean a lot. The 5 mph speed
limit change was probably well within the limits of the various roadways. That is, their design was such that cars could safeky travel at those speeds.
The 55 mph limit may have actually had an impact on freeway driving, because it was enforced. Prior to that time, freeway speeds were more on the order of 75 to 80mph, and many of the vehicles weren't well suited for those speeds. With the 55mph limit, enforcement was much stronger ( I remember those days),
As for the Autobahn, it was designed for high speed, and the culture supports it. German laws require safety inspections to make sure that the cars are in good shape. There are also specific rules regarding passing and the like ( you must yield to faster vehicles). These rules are apparently strictly enforced. It is not a matter of discipline of the individual driver, but rather a matter of a well regulated system.This may be due to the high population density of Germany vs the US, but for whatever reason, it does seem to be the case
As fun and liberating it may be to cruise the road at (by law) unlimited speeds there is a downside to the whole thing besides safety concerns.
When you drive at higher speeds your car/motorcycle needs more gas and thus emmits more CO2.
studies also show that people have always (and i mean always) roughly invested the same time for commuting and traffic. So if you go faster while still going for roughly the same amount of time you'll go further and thus polluting the environment even more.
I am 100% sure that I live 16 miles from work no matter how fast I drive there.
There is a huge volume of research that shows, repeatedly, that atmospheric temperatures and climate change independently of CO2 levels. Any affect CO2 might have as a green house gas is extremely diluted by water vapor and methane. Like a kid peeing in the Pacific, it doesn't make a difference. This is nothing new. Research from the early 90's has shown this, looking back at least 2 million years (any study that looks at less than 200,000 years is not statistically significant because we're looking at billions of years)
The increase in CO2 levels do, however, seem to result in a drastic increase in global plant growth.
That being said, I'm all for doing everything we can to use renewable resources and reduce our impact on our environment. I just hate it when ignorance is taken as fact in order get people to change.
I think an American Autobahn from LA to NY via DC would be an excellent idea, but I agree we'd need better drivers. Maybe a special license would work.
Don't take my word for it. Here's a few primary research articles (editorial statistics are worthless) you can look at, but do a Google Scholar search and you'll find all sorts of other examples of scientists saying the same thing.
Implications of the Secondary Role of Carbon Dioxide and Methane Forcing in Climate Change: Past, Present, and Future
Willie Soon (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
Physical Geography, 2007, vol 28
Can increasing carbon dioxide cause climate change?
RICHARD S. LINDZEN, MIT
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
Vol. 94, pp. 8335–8342, August 1997
Equilibrium Climate Statistics of a General Circulation Model as a Function of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. Part I: Geographic Distributions of Primary Variables
Rodert J. Oclesby (Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island)
Barry Saltzman (Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut)
Journal of Climate, Vol 5, 1991
Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
Arthur B. Robinson, Ph.D.
Noah E. Robinson, Ph.D.
Willie Soon, Ph.D.
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 12 Number 3 Fall 2007
the question should really be: how will this effect our economy?
will the decreased travel times benefit our businesses?
will the construction and operation of this structure benefit local economies along the way?
I agree with JadeLemon on this one. Its not that american drivers are more "disciplined" in terms of driving skill, it is that germans generally understand the concept of "Slower traffic keep right."
We had a law in Colorado that would fine drivers for "not passing in the left hand lane." Personally I thought this was the greatest law ever, however it is no longer strictly enforced. It allowed for a smoother flow of traffic by dividing lanes into different speeds - slower drivers on the right, and faster drivers on the left.
Now it seems that we all just drive according to the 'slowest common denominator' and this makes it so that people have to change lanes and speed up and slow down a lot more, which is more dangerous than just going fast in a straight line.
Driving faster = lower fuel efficiency is is the last thing America needs right now.
I drive quite fast at times. My personal experience has been that as long as you drive at a speed you are comfortable with. There is no real link between speed and accidents.
I've personally gotten in to more accidents driving at slow speed than at high speed.
I admit the risk of serious injury increases with speed but that is not the same as saying high speed will cause more accidents.
I think what is needed is better education on safe driving than just speed limits.
It's safe so long as the cars are in good shape and a few rules are imposed and strictly enforced .
Also no Chinese tires are allowed which are unsafe at any speed.
Just have rules that drivers only drive at a prudent speed for the conditions such as max 80 to 100mph in clear weather but slow down during bad weather and at night limit speeds to 70mph.
Lastly drivers match the speed of vehicles in the same lane with slower vehicles towards in the outer lanes and enforce this rule.
Thats how the Germans keep the autobahn safe.
I hope that people would only speed on highways! Try doing 100 on back roads,towns curvy roads,or cities. Even if it is safe to drive extremely fast on Route 80 doesn't mean it's safe everywhere.
I have lived in Germany for several years, driving daily on the Autobahn. German drivers ARE better, more focused and more disciplined. Part of this is due to having to wait until age 18 to get a license which costs a couple thousand dollars. Part of it is just the culture- Germans follow rules, Americans don't.
It has been several years since I was last in Germany and it still frustrates me that Americans don't do simple things like use blinkers or keep right EXCEPT briefly when passing.
You know, the whole thing about speed being unsafe comes from non-technical insurance workers who read police reports of accidents (without ever having seen the location, let alone the actual wreck) and then check boxes on a form- one of those boxes is something to the effect of "travelling too fast for conditions." Obviously if you hit something you were too fast to avoid it, so it gets checked all the time, which eventually becomes the statistics about how if we'd all drive slower we'd be healthy and happy living to 273.6 with rainbows and puppies constantly nearby. I can't remember if it was Car and Driver or Road and Track, but there was a great article describibg this about 10 years ago.
Oh and "number of accidents" could also be a misleading figure. Total number in the US? Total number on state or federal highways? Or as a perentage? A percentage of citizens, residents, or drivers? Drivers on those highways or all drivers?
Finally, what fictional world of the future do you live in, where we'll dramatic shifts in anything like auto safety in 2-years' time? Things used to work like that, but not in these days when you can go online and find specs of a car that won't be built for a few years.
I find it extremely funny that everyone has a different view on this topic. That should paint a clear picture that we are not ready for the Autobaun! Username> Ruri> You are knocking Chinese Tires "OK, what brand tire did FORD have when they had all those recalls??? it was an american brand! My tires are made in Holland and most of the HIGH SPEED Tires or from other countries. Anyhow I drive fast and I use to live in Las Vegas and the freeway was once 55mph and now it is 65mph.
I live in WI now and the Average Speed Limit is 40mph. I have lived here for only 3 years and I have had more speeding tickets here than I had in LV for 18 plus years!
I find that I personally would like to see Speed Limits of 70 mph + but, I know that teenagers would be the most deadly at these speeds. I have a 18year old son who still should be riding his bike to work or taking the bus. The age for driving should be at least 18 or even 20. I know some people would disagree. Here is something that I found very strange on the age limits for driving different class vehicals in Nevada.."not sure if these laws are in all the states"
>(16years= Drivers Lic)
>(18years= Semi Truck with a CDL)
>(18years BUS/CityTransit CDL)
>(21years= School Bus CDL)
>(25years= Taxi Requries a special Lic.)
I drove a limo for a few years and I know that the age groups are for Insurance Liability. But it just does not make any since to me to drive a bus full of people you only need to be 18 and to drive a 18wheeler across the US you only have to be (18 YEARS OF AGE)this is very scary. How in the world can these kids have only 2 years of driving experince!
Very interesting findings. Could we possibly see an american autobahn at some point? I hope so at least!
- Stefani, http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=1526691
We should compare these results with data from Germany, where they don't have speed limits on more than 50% of the highways.
I think these findings are very true. Look at your grandma - have seen an elderly person drive fast?
Mira - <a href="http://www.teethwhiteningfaq.org/">Teeth Whitening</a> Specialist
I think these findings are very true. Look at your grandma - have seen an elderly person drive fast?
Mira - http://www.teethwhiteningfaq.org/
I couldn't agree more with the comment by Jadelemon and Yaz that it's questionable whether Americans have the discipline to navigate such an AutoBahn properly with proper traffic flow between the two lanes.
I think these findings are very true. Look at your grandma - have seen an elderly person drive fast? http://www.hedefnakliyat.com
I'd disagree with ND3G.
Driving faster is higher fuel efficiency! The stop and go traffic is what kills your gas. In calgary to be stuck in traffic on the highway is the worst!
I think these findings are very true. Look at your grandma - have seen an elderly person drive fast? http://www.mark5inc.com/teeth_whitening/
The prospects of an american autobahn scare me to death!
An american autobahn would be simply amazing!
We already have an American Autobahn -- it's called learning how to win in traffic court, which are the easiest of all frivolous lawsuits to win. Learn your Constitutionally guaranteed right to drive without a driver license internal passport extorted at gunpoint under the 6th Plank of the Communist Manifesto, according to police officer Jack McLamb. No license = no jurisdiction by traffic court for alleged claims of breach of driver license contract to waiver your Constitutional rights. 75% of judges in USA lack a license to practice law, so why do you need a license to drive? There's no such thing as a pilot license, and anyone can fly their own plane at any speed without breaking a speed limit. Boat owners don't need a boat driver license. Duress and fraudulent concealment void all contracts. And read the book AMERICAN AUTOBAHN as seen on History Channel at a LEGAL 212 mph on a public highway. I drive a 170 mph street vehicle in USA today, that only cost $8,000 new, and gets 50 mpg. Do you?
I drive 6 months a year in Europe and 6 in America. Driving in Germany is so different than in America. People there take their driving seriously and they are polite and efficient. Most section of autobahn are 3 lanes and very well designed. They keep their distances between cars. Speeds are lowered in rain or snow. They are always aware of their surroundings especially cars in the back of them. It is difficult to explain how they anticipate how and when you are going to pass and accomodate you and expect the same courtesy in return. The traffic moves fast but you never feel unsafe because everything moves in an orderly fashion and with good separation and no zigzagging to pass on the right. Most important though they DRIVE ON THE RIGHT and it would be impossible to pass on the right because cars immediately pull to the right after passing on the left. Most other European countries behave the same way to a certain degree but Germany is perfection.
I do not think it would be proper to prohibit passing on the right in America as too many drivers just hog the left lane. It would be unfair to penalize faster drivers who would like nothing better than not o have to pass on the right but they have few options if slower drivers hog the left lane. Police should go after all those left lane hogs and fine them. In Ontario Canada there are signs posting "slower vehicles keep right" but few respect them . I even followed a dazed driver once who would not move right to let a police cruiser with lights blazing go by. I slowed down from my position in the right lane so the cruiser could pass him on the right and when he did he only gave him the look and waved him right but no fine or even warning. I followed the police cruiser at a safe distance and he switched his lights off and turned in a center lane and made a slow U turn, so he was not on an emergency call, so why such tolerance for left lane hogs? A speeding car would not get off so easily.
If statistics are looked at using accidents per miles driven instead of in totals, Germany has less accidents than America. They even have less fatalities using this milestone. General death rates can be deceiving as external factors such as economy , price of fuel, highway or car improvements, etc... can skew statistics. But let's face it : Americans will never drive like Germans. We do not have the will and drive to change our ways and the police forces do not want to help steer us in the RIGHT (pun intended ) direction. They are much more interested in keeping the status quo : giving speeding tickets with radar guns supplied by insurance companies, which guns are funded by higher insurance premiums for fined drivers. Red light cameras, photoradars etc.. are disguised taxes.