Saturday, July 08, 2006

Speed Limits Up, Highway Carnage Down, Hillary Says Restore 55 MPH to Save Fuel

Remember the Double Nickel? Remember how the highways and byways of America would become red rivers of blood if ever the speed limits were raised? So what happened? The Wall Street Journal offers a history lesson:

"This may seem non-controversial now, but at the time the debate was shrill and filled with predictions of doom. Ralph Nader claimed that 'history will never forgive Congress for this assault on the sanctity of human life.' Judith Stone, president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, predicted to Katie Couric on NBC's 'Today Show' that there would be '6,400 added highway fatalities a year and millions of more injuries.' Federico Pena, the Clinton Administration's Secretary of Transportation, declared: 'Allowing speed limits to rise above 55 simply means that more Americans will die and be injured on our highways.'"

So what really occurred when Congress repealed the Double Nickel?

"We now have 10 years of evidence proving that the only 'assault' was on the sanctity of the truth. The nearby table shows that the death, injury and crash rates have fallen sharply since 1995. Per mile traveled, there were about 5,000 fewer deaths and almost one million fewer injuries in 2005 than in the mid-1990s. This is all the more remarkable given that a dozen years ago Americans lacked today's distraction of driving while also talking on their cell phones.

"Of the 31 states that have raised their speed limits to more than 70 mph, 29 saw a decline in the death and injury rate and only two - the Dakotas - have seen fatalities increase. Two studies, by the National Motorists Association and by the Cato Institute, have compared crash data in states that raised their speed limits with those that didn't and found no increase in deaths in the higher speed states."

But, being ever so resistant to facts, the Nanny Staters have already changed tactics and called for restoring the Double Nickel as a "fuel-saving measure." They never give up, folks.

HT: Instapundit