Friday, November 2, 2007

Time, time, time is on our side...

This has to be one of the most absurd arguments I've seen in the controversy over the setting and enforcement of speed limits:

I am continously astounded that no one seems to value time while everyone is concerned about lives. LIFE IS MEASURED IN TIME! What’s the use of saving one life if you have to waste a million man years to do it? At some point, the government has a responsibility for balance. If a million people a year waste an hour along a stretch of highway because the speed limit is too low, that’s tragic. We need a balance, yet we continuously only look at the “safety” side of the equation (from a commenter on The Truth About Cars about England's speed enforcement cameras).

This is sheer lunacy. I can think of a lot of other ways that one's time is "wasted" in the course of a day: waiting in line at the grocery store check-out counter, waiting in the doctor's office at 4 pm for your 3 pm appointment, or even "wasting" time by sleeping 8 hours when maybe you could "get by" on five. Or how about spending day after day at an unproductive, tedious job?

Besides, every state in the US other than Hawaii has maximum speed limits of 65 mph or higher on its rural interstates or equivalent roads (Hawaii's maximum is 60). In the Midwest and South, limits are typically 70 mph, and west of the Mississippi River, the majority of states allow 75 mph. Texas permits 80 mph, the highest in the nation, on over 500 miles of I-10 and I-20. If you can maintain 75 mph for 6 hours, stopping only 10 minutes every two hours for a break, you can travel 450 miles in a total of 6 1/2 hours. This isn't good enough?

From earlier entries on this blog, you can see I get a lot of enjoyment from traveling the slower back roads, where I've encountered amazing, beautiful, or quirky sights that would be completely missed by hustling along the interstates. Equating such time wasted with human life lost is, to use this commenter's words, "tragic."


Katrina said...

I would like to use your picture from the Nov. 2, 2007 post of a 60mph sign in a power point presentation to parents on Reading Correct Words per minute. Would it be ok with you to do this? I am an Elementary School Teacher

Mike said...

Yes, this will be fine Katrina.