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August 08, 2004

Another thought on the 55 mph speed limit

I had another thought on the speed limit, the subject of a previous post, inspired by the very slow traffic produced by a heavy rainstorm. Not only do lower speeds result in more time spent on the road, increasing the probability of an accident; this has the secondary effect of congestion. If everybody drives 30 mph instead of 60 mph, there will be twice as many people on the roads at any given instant, because everybody is taking twice as long to travel. The direct effect of this is that if some drunk driver charges out into traffic, he is twice as likely to hit someone. The indirect effect is that with twice as much traffic, accidents are more likely even if nobody is drunk. Low speed limits product congestion, and this makes the roads less safe.

Posted by erasmuse at August 8, 2004 11:05 PM

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