OPINION: Untrue mantras

Opinion

Letter to the editor | “Untrue mantras”

Two (untrue) mantras: “Everyone Speeds” “Slower is Safer” These mantras foster legislation like Speed Trap Bill SB 607, RADAR for municipal police.

The rank-and-file driver has very little knowledge about proper speed limits and how to set them. Everyone does have an opinion on how safely others drive, as well as a confirmed belief that they drive safely while most others don’t.

Fact is, 85% drive the safest speed without realizing it. It’s called the 85th Percentile Speed, an accepted highway safety engineering principle based on 70 years of observing safe driver behavior.

But there’s a fly in the bureaucracy. Seems it’s hard to ticket people driving safely. Unless the speed limit is posted sufficiently below the 85th Percentile Speed to make 85% of drivers into criminal “speeders” liable for a ticket.

It’s a common misconception that speed limit signs reduce collisions. Studies indicate that no significant change in average vehicle speeds occurs after the posting of new or revised speed limit signs. In fact, research shows no direct relationship between posting speed limits and collision frequency.

People drive the 85th Percentile Speed no matter the posted limit (FHwA data). That’s how enforcement-for-profit is so successful.

Why not legislation to mandate the universal posting of 85th Percentile Speeds in Pennsylvania? Is the Legislature afraid to make the roads safer? Is the hundreds of millions of dollars of ticket revenue out of your pocket more important?

Tell your Senator and Representative to vote NO on Speed Trap Bill SB 607.

Tom McCarey, Member, National Motorists Association

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