Speed kills

If the authorities are so concerned about safety, could a car be manufactured that is incapable of speeding? Maybe the highways could use sensors to communicate with the vehicles so the engine just shuts down if you exceed the speed limit. I personally think if the maximum speed limit is say 75 mph, the cars should be made to not have the capacity to exceed 75 mph. It is like, we make cars capable of driving 120 mph and we scold people who drive over our own imposed speed limits. I am not for driving recklessly but there are times you may have to drive fast.

No manufacturer or other regulating body will be willing to assume all of the risk and liability that goes along with such a proposal. I suspect that the majority of people driving wouldn’t support such an intrusion on their freedoms either.

While watching a clip of a police chase I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if the cops could send a command to that vehicle’s computer and shut it down, ending the chase. It could even gradually slow the car down to keep it safer. Then I realized all of the implications of doing so and it was obvious that it would never be realistic in today’s society.

In order for that to ever have a chance of working…ALL cars on the road would have to have that feature…I’d hate to be one car on the road that has that feature and then this idiot comes up behind me doing 90 and I can’t get out of his way. Sorry…but that kind of law is very very dangerous. I’m pretty sure it would kill far more people then they intend to save.

I HATE speeding, and I don’t think this is a good idea…

Why? Its the safety aspect of sometimes needing to go over the limit. If all cars were computer controlled, and drunk/inattentive drivers weren’t a problem, sure, I have no issue with it…

But when I’m on the interstate and the drunk in front of me is doing 45 in a 70 while everyone else is doing 70, it isn’t safe for me to remain behind him. Likewise, it isn’t safe to be along side him for any length of time. I need to get by, and get by quickly, even if it means speeding.

Okay, so with the last sentence you kind of contradict the rest of the paragraph, don’t you?

And what if speed limits change? What if the country gets its act together, creates an improved interstate freeway system, states band together to raise the legal driving age to 18 and implement much more difficult driving tests? Imagine having an autobahn-like freeway from north to south and east to west! Imagine how much less time it would take to get somewhere if we could legally travel 120? I dream of that day, and I think it’s possible, we just have to change a lot of the driver licensing structure, and improve funding to freeway design and maintenance.

Funny story. I was having some work done on my car one time and there was a nun in line ahead of me. She was telling the service rep that her car shimmied when she drove over 75 mph. I guess you do not argue with a nun and speeding is a man made law not one of the 10 commandments.

Yes my last sentence contradicted the rest of my post. It has always been weird that there is a speed limit law but we drive a car that is capable of driving way over the posted speed limit.

Sorry but I am very tired of people thinking that more laws are needed when simple common sense and behavior changes are needed. Aren’t there enough silly design and legal requirements now? We are supposed to be intellegent beings. So 75 on a city street would be ok? Why not design a tank so no one could get hurt? Remove reverse so that one cannot back up on the freeway. There are lots of capabilities that cars have that can be dangerous if misused. Nope. Learn to drive, pay attention, match speed to conditions, don’t drink, and all will be fine.

Most people here will not I don't consider speeding save or acceptable.  But I would be against your suggestion.  First there are times when being about to speed can increase safety (very few times).  If you wanted to do it right your would have to have it key to GPS or road side devices 75 mph would be speeding in likely over 75% of the road miles in the US. 

You might get past the safety issue by having some sort of nag (like the lights on alarm) when the car is over the speed limit. 

If the US really wanted to control speed on the highways, enforcement could do it.  Speed cameras etc. could greatly reduce the enforcement cost and increase the likelihood of getting caught.  The US is not ready for that.

OK, try passing on a 2 lane highway with a 70mph speed limit (we do have some in Colorado). I wouldn’t want a vehicle that was limited to any arbitrary speed near 75mph in that case. I want to get past the slower vehicle ASAP so that I can get back in the correct lane. The inability to pass quickly is a safety hazard also.

For one thing, it would probably kill sales of new cars for a few years, especially sporty models, since people would just keep driving their old models without the governors. As time went on, the only people who could speed would be people in older cars in worse condition without the latest safety features.

But, more importantly, the whole “speed kills” notion has very little to do with the upper end of the speed limit. There are very few traffic fatalities that are the result of exceeding the upper limit on a highway during good conditions. The fatal crashes in which “speed” gets put down as a primary or contributing cause almost always are due to people driving too fast for conditions, not simply exceeding the speed limit.

That would be nice…but nowhere near realistic. Redoing the countries interstate system would cost TRILLIONS…if not QUADRILIONS. A highway costs several million per mile…IF THERE ARE NO BRIDGES. If there are…then add several million more per bridge. Our state (NH) is looking at widening I-93 from the MA border to Manchester…It’s estimated cost is almost $200m…And this is only a 15 mile stretch.

Raising the legal driving age and much more difficult driving tests are GREAT ideas and wouldn’t cost us a thing to implement.

How many times have you seen it writtin that a person “lost control of the car.” I would think this would happen rarely if people were more careful. If and when I drive over 75 mph I just do not feel safe. Reaction time is more impaired at a high speed because you need strict concentration.

I have always had two problems with speed limits.

The first is that the speed limit is supposed to be the maximum safe speed. This varies according to the road, traffic and weather. Since different vehicles perform differently, the maxium safe speed depends of the vehicle. The same is true for drivers since their abilities are different from one to another and vary over time. On a section of open interstate, the maximum safe speed can be as little as 20 mph on a foggy, moonless, winter night when the road is covered with ice. On a dry, summer day with negligible traffic, the maximum safe speed for a highly trained driver in a car like a Porsche or Ferrari could be more than 150 mph. However, most states have only one speed limit for most of their interstate system.

The second problem is that, here in the west, the speed limit on the open interstate has varied over the past 35 years from 75 mph, to 55 mph, to 65 mph and back to 75 mph again. At each stage, we have been told that this is the maximum safe speed and exceeding is is highly dangerous. At best, this may be true of one of the limits. For sure, it was an officially sanctioned lie about the others.

In the past, politicians could pass foolish laws and, due to ineffective enforcement, the rest of us could decide whether we wanted to be foolish enough to obey them. That’s why the 55 mph national speed limit was a failure. Advances in enforcement technology and computerized car control make this much more difficult today. It is technically feasible to build a vehicle with an electronic speed governor which compares location (via GPS) to a database of speed limits and limits the vehicle to that speed. If such a system is ever mandated for all vehicles, I would hope that public outrage over absurdly low speed limits would force them to be raised. Something like this happend in the 1970s. For a couple of years, all vehicles were required to be built with an interlock to prevent starting the engine unless all passengers’ seat belts were fastened. The requirement was rescinded after federal politicians began taking flak from their constituents who had bought these vehicles.

You can lose control of a vehicle at 20 mph…it all comes down to the driver. You’re right, if people were more careful, that would help…limiting the speed of vehicles to some arbitrary speed isn’t the answer.

Speed kills isn’t a trully accurate statement, though inaproporiate speed for a given situation can certainly contribute to an accident.

Speed alone is only one facet of driving technique along with driver focus, experience and the environment in which your driving.

The adage that speed kills does not refer to the likelihood of getting into an accident but what the results are if you do.

The police do have a method of shutting down a car’s electronics. They have a “model car” which they launch from a moving crusier. The “model car” runs under the fleeing vehicle, and it contacts the metal underbody and sends a high energy voltage surge into the car body which is, of course, connected to the car’s electronics…like its engine computer. The engine shuts off immediately. The electronics are probably damaged so that the fleer can’t restart the car.

Here’s an example of how such a governor would have endangered me: I was driving I-76W on an early Sunday morning, east of Philly. I was doing 70(indicated–really 67)in a 65 and slowly gaining on a semi. As I approach him, I see him drift into the left lane, straddle both for 5sec, then back into the right.

I sense he’s nodding off at the wheel, and decide being in front is preferable, so that any accident he has is behind me and won’t affect me. So, I downshift to 4th, WOT until I can see his lights in my rear-view, by which time I’m probably doing 95. Safest possible maneuver.

I actually had a vehicle such as you describe that wouldn’t let me exceed 75. It was a 250cc motorcycle, and I don’t consider it terribly safe to operate on a highway; I’d only use an interstate as a last resort.

Studies have shown that deviating from the speed of surrounding traffic causes risks to increase exponentially in BOTH over- and underspeed conditions, and the safest possible speed is about 3mph OVER average. If you dirve a posted 55 when the traffic’s actually doing 70, you’re taking a significant safety hit to do so.

For safety’s sake, you want a car (and NEED a motorcycle) to be abe to outpace the fastest semi on the highway.

Thank you for the responses. It was a hypothetical question.
Speed kills was I believe a reference to amphetamines I heard in the 70’s.
The Grateful Dead maybe?

Or maybe New Riders of the Purple Sage. I know it was referenced in a song sometime in the 70’s.