sram

Why don't they limit the speed of cars

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We lose lives on the road everyday. Many accidents are caused by crazy speeds, so why don't car makers limit the speed to something reasonable!? and cancel speeds > 90 mph, which are only used by crazy drivers and usually cause horrible accidents, and yet they don't gain the crazy drivers but only few minutes !!

Just wondering

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Is 90mph unreasonable on a long empty road with no intersections or side roads? Is 55mph more reasonable? How about in the suburbs?

More importantly, would you buy a car that had an artifical speed limit? Would anyone else? If everyond did, how would local police fund their operations?

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Is 90mph unreasonable on a long empty road with no intersections or side roads?

Not at all. On some really desolate, straight Interstates even 125 mph isn't entirely unreasonable.

More importantly, would you buy a car that had an artifical speed limit? Would anyone else?

Lots of cars already do for various reasons. My mom just bought a 300C. 0 to 60 is 5.6 seconds. Top speed is governed to 126 mph. The car has the power to break 160 mph easily, even with the fairly boxy shape. My brother's Mark VIII is electronically governed to 128 mph. The same car with aftermarket chips can go something like 175 mph. My point? Artificial limiting is probably stupid, but so long as we're obsessed with overpowered cars capable of ridiculous straight line acceleration we'll probably need to do something to keep speeds out of the stratosphere since some moron drivers will push their cars for everything they're worth on public roads. We don't need some wannabe Indy car driver breaking 200 mph on the LIE (that's Long Island Expressway for you non-NYCers). Holding most cars to ~125 mph or so at least keeps the situation from getting too out of hand. Truthfully, I think it would be better for all concerned to just have enough installed power to top out at the same 125 mph rather than artificial limiting. Acceleration would be less (hence less stupid sudden manuevers are possible) but still enough to merge with traffic. It's not like the resulting 10 to 15 second 0 to 60 times would be such a handicap in everyday driving. More fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow anyway, or so I've heard.

If everyond did, how would local police fund their operations?

Speeding tickets should not be a major revenue source. Limits should be set as they used to be-at the 95th percentile on highways. Let these towns find another revenue source. Today's limits are just stupid and unrealistic.

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Gosh, if that's the case, people must be dying like flies on the Autobahn in Germany :rolleyes: .

The Interstate freeway system was designed with banking and so that no curve (unless posted with a yellow diamond suggested speed placard) would generate over 0.16G at 70mph... a sharpness deemed safe for the Model T's that roamed the roads at the time. Are cars far less safe today from being burdened with speed rated tires, safety belts, airbags, hydraulic brakes with ABS, and stability control? Or do you think it is people's attitudes that have changed over time?

Edited by bfg9000

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"Artificial limiting is probably stupid, but so long as we're obsessed with overpowered cars capable of ridiculous straight line acceleration..."

I agree with jtf1962... its a emotive/pushing boundaries/marketing issue. The desire to go higher/faster/longer/be better than your neighbour is pretty much entrenched in the human psyche, and the cars we drive pretty much reflect this.

SRAM, ever heard of the term "Nanny State"? You can kill someone if you hit them going at 30mph. Why not just make it safe and reduce every cars speed limit to 15mph? Oh no wait, you can kill someone at that speed too. I think "crazy drivers" will be a menace regardless of whatever limit is set.

There are plenty of legal ways to get high speed kicks from high performance cars at race tracks for the "sane drivers" amongst us.

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Gosh, if that's the case, people must be dying like flies on the Autobahn in Germany :rolleyes: .

The Interstate freeway system was designed with banking and so that no curve (unless posted with a yellow diamond suggested speed placard) would generate over 0.16G at 70mph... a sharpness deemed safe for the Model T's that roamed the roads at the time. Are cars far less safe today from being burdened with speed rated tires, safety belts, airbags, hydraulic brakes with ABS, and stability control? Or do you think it is people's attitudes that have changed over time?

It is rarely possible to actually drive at the speeds of more than ~140 km/h on any freeway in Europe. Moreover, many freeways in Germany do have speed limits, and there are always road works, traffic jams and accidents to slow you down.

The problem is, while it may be safe to drive fast under certain, highly limited conditions, most people have too much of a poor judgement of road conditions to make it safe. Consider the number of freeway pileups that occur because people drive too fast and too close in dangerous conditions.

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Yes but the idea that "speed kills" should be reflected in a proportional increase in the number of deaths with increased allowable speed, which just doesn't happen since people only drive as fast as they are comfortable going. You could post a speed limit of 200mph and virtually nobody would go that fast.

Rather than focusing on the problem being people (who after all cause problems by driving drunk and otherwise making poor judgements), it is much easier to focus against objects (eg. "guns kill") that have no rights and cannot fight back. So rather than enforcing the law or training people, we have these odd attempts to outlaw objects, or mandating manufacturing limits to them (eg. program cars so they can't go too fast).

Gladwell posted an interesting article on the public's irrational and rather emotional perception of risk:

It was the biggest scandal to hit the automobile industry in years. It was also one of the strangest. According to federal records, the number of fatalities resulting from the failure of a Firestone tire on a Ford Explorer S.U.V., as of September, 2001, was two hundred and seventy-one. That sounds like a lot, until you remember that the total number of tires supplied by Firestone to the Explorer from the moment the S.U.V. was introduced by Ford, in 1990, was fourteen million, and that the average life span of a tire is forty-five thousand miles. The allegation against Firestone amounts to the claim that its tires failed, with fatal results, two hundred and seventy-one times in the course of six hundred and thirty billion vehicle miles. Manufacturers usually win prizes for failure rates that low. It's also worth remembering that during that same ten-year span almost half a million Americans died in traffic accidents.
People sued and won because Firestone exposed them to a two in a billion risk, then drove home while smoking and chatting on the phone. Why do people buy big SUVs? Because they provide the perception of safety, which is more important than real safety.

Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, an expert on the psychology of risk at the Max Planck Institute, published a study concluding that the huge numbers of Americans who switched to driving instead of flying after 9/11 resulted in an increased number of deaths from traffic accidents in just three months... that far exceeded the number of people who died on those four flights.

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Yes but the idea that "speed kills" should be reflected in a proportional increase in the number of deaths with increased allowable speed, which just doesn't happen since people only drive as fast as they are comfortable going. You could post a speed limit of 200mph and virtually nobody would go that fast.

Exactly right. Here's an interesting article on the subject. I wrote my own summary of it on another site so here is a cut and paste of what I wrote:

1) Raising or lowering speed limits has little effect on the actual speeds people drive at.

2) Traffic finds its own speed based on the road and traffic conditions.

3) Speed limits should be set at the 85th percentile, rounded up to the nearest 5 mph, on urban roads. On limited access highways, speed limits should be set at the 90th or 95th percentile, rounded up to the nearest 5 mph.

4) The safest drivers statistically are those who drive at the mean speed (currently 75 mph) plus 12 mph. This is currently 87 mph for average Interstate traffic. Drivers who go 100 mph are statistically as safe as those who go 65 mph. The most accidents are caused by those who go 65 mph or less, and to a lesser extent by those traveling 110 mph and more.

5) Current speed limits are often set at the 10th percentile or even less, making 90% of drivers law breakers. The result is that the statistically safest drivers mentioned in #4 receive the most tickets.

6) Due to improvements in automotive technology, the 85th percentile speed has been increasing at around 0.5 mph per year since the 1920s. This means speed limits should be reviewed regularly, and raised where appropriate.

7) Statistically, we're driving faster than ever yet the accident rate on limited access highways is lower than ever. In fact, except at merges accidents on freeways are rare events, and often involve single vehicles where the driver might simply fall asleep at the wheel.

8) Enforcement of arbitrarily low speed limits actually costs lives for a variety of reasons.

9) Speed limits in general do not result in improvements in safety. They exist simply because some sheriffs abused the meaning of "reasonable and prudent" in the 1930s and 1940s, and the courts needed a more accurate barometer for enforcement. They've since been turned into a revenue stream for localities. Hence the inertia to change them back to something reasonable.

So rather than enforcing the law or training people, we have these odd attempts to outlaw objects, or mandating manufacturing limits to them (eg. program cars so they can't go too fast).

Exactly. A better solution is to make the requirements for getting a license much stricter, to the point that the worst 25% of current drivers are simply incapable of passing them. Those worst 25% probably cause 99% of all accidents.

People sued and won because Firestone exposed them to a two in a billion risk, then drove home while smoking and chatting on the phone.

Actually, for tires those are appalling failure rates well outside what is normal. That is why the people sued and won. Point of fact, properly designed and inflated tires shouldn't catastrophically fail unless they're used past the rated mileage, or over the rated speed. I'm sure blowouts from road debris were excluded in the fatality figures, or should have been. That only leaves tires which failed on their own, causing said fatalities, and that number of fatalities is quite high for a tire.

Why do people buy big SUVs? Because they provide the perception of safety, which is more important than real safety.

Exactly right, and also for the intimidation factor.

Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, an expert on the psychology of risk at the Max Planck Institute, published a study concluding that the huge numbers of Americans who switched to driving instead of flying after 9/11 resulted in an increased number of deaths from traffic accidents in just three months... that far exceeded the number of people who died on those four flights.

Probably true although high-speed rail is far safer and more comfortable than flying. There have been zero operational passenger fatalities on high-speed rail lines in Japan and Europe in over 40 years of operation. Compare this to millions of traffic deaths and hundreds of thousands killed in air accidents during that same period. Also, the reason a lot of people won't fly but drive is that at least there is a good chance of surviving an auto accident, even of not getting injured. Most plane accidents, while rare, are 100% fatal and you end up as body parts. That's not a good way to go.

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jtr's post is excellent!

More quickly, I'll echo: Most scientific evidence indicates that speed is a low contributor to accidents involving automobiles. Fatigue, alcohol, and distraction are the ones that matter. Emotional distress is also apparently significant, but there is less good information on its effects.

There is no reason to limit the speed of vehicles. It is perfectly safe to drive 160km/h in a modern vehicle on good highways in good weather.

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Yes but the idea that "speed kills" should be reflected in a proportional increase in the number of deaths with increased allowable speed, which just doesn't happen since people only drive as fast as they are comfortable going. You could post a speed limit of 200mph and virtually nobody would go that fast.

Why do people buy big SUVs? Because they provide the perception of safety, which is more important than real safety.

Exactly right, and also for the intimidation factor.

Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, an expert on the psychology of risk at the Max Planck Institute, published a study concluding that the huge numbers of Americans who switched to driving instead of flying after 9/11 resulted in an increased number of deaths from traffic accidents in just three months... that far exceeded the number of people who died on those four flights.

Probably true although high-speed rail is far safer and more comfortable than flying. There have been zero operational passenger fatalities on high-speed rail lines in Japan and Europe in over 40 years of operation. Compare this to millions of traffic deaths and hundreds of thousands killed in air accidents during that same period. Also, the reason a lot of people won't fly but drive is that at least there is a good chance of surviving an auto accident, even of not getting injured. Most plane accidents, while rare, are 100% fatal and you end up as body parts. That's not a good way to go.

Umm, do I need to revive the ddrueding thread again? (jtr, you can fill in the newer members if you like ;) )

Wrong, wrong, wrong! Have either of you guys (jtr & bfg9000) ever lived in So. Cal. for more than a year or two? Well let me tell you, you've got it all wrong. Raise the speed limit to 200, and friggin gazzillion of the fastest cars in the world, owned by all the wealthy, testosterone driven teenage mentality adult males who all be trying to drive 200+ before they killed themselves. What a load of crap about modern vehicles are now magically defying the laws of physics, sheeesh; go talk to an automotive safety engineering expert before you spout all these falsehoods. Why a few days ago on the local TV news, they had a story (yeah, and now we'll get jtr telling us about how he can stay awake for 48hrs straight...ok, jtr I admit it you are a freak, but average Joe Blow is going to friggin crash!) about study showing how after being awake for 20hrs, you ability to respond/reactions are that of a legally drunk 0.08% blood alcohol driver. That when you hit a stationary object at current Calif. 65-70mph freeway speed limits, more than likely you will DIE, you will DIE; how many times do I need to say that? Stationary object like a tree, light or telephone/power pole, freeway overpass, concrete sound walls, you name it! I guess you're going to make me go well past 400 posts then ;-), I'll need to post a link to the death of a top professional driver, in what surely should be the safest high-speed race cars of them all... Formula 1, and that you die at speeds of <90mph! Let me say that again, YOU DIE!!!

Where do you get such ridiculous 'facts' that there have never been any operator railway fatalities in Japan or Europe over the last 40yrs. Just on the face of that, common sense who tend to indicate such a statement is a jtr fantasy. Most plane crashes are 100% fatalities? Huh, what kind of Steve-o Jobs reality distortion field have you been tapping into? Maybe you and bfg9000 have gotten to score the same awesomely potent drugs that 'Q' and '36k' have been taking in their sometimes completely incomprehensible rants. If so, damn it, how do I 'score' some? ;). Plane crashes are not always 100% fatal, geez, turn on you TV, read yahoo news more often, for Christ sakes!

And what pray tell is jtr's ideal of a 'good way to go'? What, like hanging your self with an electrical cord in your Manhattan apartment is suffer/pain free? LOL, Ms Lee probably choked and gaged quite abit before she lost consciousness. Quick jtr, do a search, how many people have died on Los Angeles County railways in the past 2yrs? Oh yes they have some bad crashes due to operator error in Japan...want a link? Alright jtr, I've had enough of your BS 'Risky Business' fantasies; I'm going to have to get you to drink a whole bottle of our 17.6% California Zinfandel after we bottle it in January. Trust me, it will be the best plane ride to Asian paradise you've had in your entire life. Yep, well worth the minute risk of a plane crash. And given that you'll be so pleasantly blitzed on such a yummy wine; dreaming of even yummier, delectable edible Asian babes...your final death on such a plane ride (again, you're far more likely to slip on the icy sidewalks of NYC, like Pritikin did; get run over by a car, or die of pneumonia as a result of complications of serious injuries sustained in a ground level fall onto hard concrete) won't be so bad at all.

I can assure you that, your standard current 2005 model automobile, with soft touring tires and suspension will scrub, start squealing going around these so called properly banked freeways (brand new ones, mind you, not the really crappy original section of the 1950's Pasadena Fwy) at 45-50mph, with G forces I'd have to guess are at the limits of many standard cars at around 0.7-.08G lateral acceleration. Again, there seem to be some lack of understanding of physics(and BFS a**hole, stupid, stupid, self-absorbed constantly talking on their cell-phones making turns and highspeed with only one hand on the steering wheel drivers we have in the USA) here by most of you...except maybe our Zurich? member.

Better for the future, if they do a big-brother thing (sure all the DH, and wealthy and or corrupt individuals will defeat the systems) and install automatic driving systems, that limit distances between cars, can auto steer, stop/accelerated, for a programed destination...and 'auto-pilot' system that would allow 'backseat' driving....hehe, dark tinted windows. Sure you'd need manual control in some instances, but the more automated you can make driving (taking away all of the bad driving habits of idiot drivers) the safer the roads will be.

Does anyone bother to even do the math? 10yrs 1/2 million deaths, sounds about right, for 50k per year. Ok, then 3months worth of deaths would be ~12.5k deaths, correct? Now we know that 9/11 deaths were atributed to be just under 4k. So where are the links that show 12/3*4k deaths, or in the year following 9/11 that there were an additional 16k deaths, up from ~50k to ~66k? Just silly, silly, silly. Shall I remind FS (hehe) that over 5,000 poor Chinese workers die in the coal mines of China every year...where is the outrage about that?

"perfectly safe" Gilbo? So when your perfectly safe vehicle hits a pothole, and you loose control and a highway that has difficult to notice sand/windblown gravel, and you hit the streetlight pole just to the side of the road... you're saying you won't even get a scratch? Non-sense, you will become just anther 'road kill' statistic. No such thing as perfectly safe (huh, me taking your words out of contextual meaning, why I never ;) ). Damn, how do you guys 'score' all the great drugs that make you say such ridiculous things. Come on HTMK, help me out here, these guys are all a bunch of loonies ;-). Most scientific evidence? What goobledegook! I have seat of the pant evidence that speed has plenty to do with accidents, and so does the Calif. Highway Patrol... damn, I guess we need to bring up ddrueding's thread again then?

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"Exactly. A better solution is to make the requirements for getting a license much stricter, to the point that the worst 25% of current drivers are simply incapable of passing them. Those worst 25% probably cause 99% of all accidents."

What criteria would constitute the worst 25%? If you mean numbers of accidents per thousand drivers then you will be mostly be banning young males under 24. I am not sure of the exact figures, but it is common knowledge that young males are statistically the most likely to have an accident or die in a road traffic accident out of any driver demographic. Then are you advocating a system where the age limit for males is 24 but for females is 16 or whatever it is in your state. And after you have banned the worst 25%, whats to stop you turning around saying... wait... lets ban the worst 25% of the remainder?

I think this part of your arguement is facile and totally unachievable. I am guessing that you consider yourself be in the majority 75%, basing this judgement on something like god given ability or sheer driving talent. I have found myself knowingly in the worst 25% after a particularly bad nights sleep, or because of eating too much and driving home after a dinner buffet where I ate 26 dishes, rendering me incapable of breathing properly etc. etc.

But prehaps I am wrong. Prehaps you have it all figured out. What tests would you implement to ensure only "good drivers" would ever make it onto the roads?

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That when you hit a stationary object at current Calif. 65-70mph freeway speed limits, more than likely you will DIE, you will DIE; how many times do I need to say that?

And you don't think I already know that? When you hit a stationary tree at even 40 mph you'll likely die, too. What's your point? You don't set speed limits based on making crashes into stationary objects surviveable. Those kinds of accidents are exceedingly rare, and more often than not they involve the testoterone-driven idiots you alluded to in your post. As far as I'm concerned, that's Darwin's law in action. Heck, if we're interesting in never having another auto fatality just lower the speed limit to 5 mph and govern all cars to that speed. The 5 mph federally mandated bumpers will give you all the protection you'll need. Of course, why bother to drive at 5 mph when you can walk as fast, or at least I can? And just to make a point, things like lamp posts are designed to give way when a fast moving object hits them. You also have those sand drums in front of any stationary objects that you are likely to hit in the course of a "normal" accident. I really wish we could have 100% safety, but that goal is unattainable so long as humans operate cars.

Where do you get such ridiculous 'facts' that there have never been any operator railway fatalities in Japan or Europe over the last 40yrs.

I'll should have been clearer-there have been zero operationally-related passenger fatalities on high-speed trains running on high-speed lines in over 40 years of operation. Here is a reference to the French TGV. Note in the first paragraph: The safety figures for the TGV system are exceptional; there have been no fatalities in high speed operation, ever since service started in 1981. Today TGV trains accumulate on the order of 10 million passenger-km per year on the high speed lines alone. Japan's Shinkansen has an equally flawless safely record due to their philosophy of "there will be no accidents". Sounds corny, but they actually make it work. Note that there are fatalities with conventional trains running on conventional lines, and also with high-speed trains running on conventional lines, but none involving high-speed trains running on high-speed lines. A high-speed line has no grade crossings and fail-safe cab signaling. An train collision is all but impossible, and a derailment highly unlikely owing to the high state of maintenance of the trains and tracks. Not jtr fantasy, but fact. High-speed rail is as close as we'll ever get to a perfectly safe way to travel. Yes, there have been many suicides on high-speed lines (this seems to be a favorite way to go in Japan especially), and a few deaths from terrorism, but none resulting from train operations.

Plane crashes are not always 100% fatal, geez, turn on you TV, read yahoo news more often, for Christ sakes!

Well, not 100% fatal but let's just say if I was a betting person I wouldn't hedge my bets on surviving a plane crash. The only survivable ones seem to be where the pilot manages to get the thing level before crashing, and even then many who survive the impact burn to death. Most of the rest result in a mess of body parts and tangled wreckage. Not that a car or train wreck is a better way to go, but at least the body is usually identifiable without dental records.

And what pray tell is jtr's ideal of a 'good way to go'?

Probably the way I had planned to go once-throwing myself in front of a Metroliner going 125 mph although the new Acela might be better if you pick the spots between New Haven and Boston where it hits 150 mph. Figure it'll all be over in a hundreth of a second, probably before you feel any pain.

Better for the future, if they do a big-brother thing (sure all the DH, and wealthy and or corrupt individuals will defeat the systems) and install automatic driving systems, that limit distances between cars, can auto steer, stop/accelerated, for a programed destination...and 'auto-pilot' system that would allow 'backseat' driving....hehe, dark tinted windows. Sure you'd need manual control in some instances, but the more automated you can make driving (taking away all of the bad driving habits of idiot drivers) the safer the roads will be.

I can go along with that. In fact, I'd prefer self-driven cars. I personally feel 90% of the population can't competently pilot an automobile anyway. And once they're self-driven you can safely have those 150 mph speeds instead of today's traffic-choked freeways.

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What criteria would constitute the worst 25%?

No criteria-just pass a series of stringent tests similar to what race car drivers do but of course a lot less rigorous. It won't matter if you're 18 or 80. You pass, you get a license. You don't, you try again until you do. I picked 25% as a number I believe would fail to pass such a test even with repeated attempts. These would be the people who lacked the coordination, mental ability, or proper judgement to pilot an automobile. My guess (and it's just that) is if you got this worst 25% off the road for good you would eliminate 99% of accidents. Maybe I'm right, maybe a greater or lesser percentage cause most of the accidents. You could always tweak the test. If it turns out that eliminating 25% causes accidents to drop to virtually zero, then maybe you make the test a little easier so those who almost passed could do so now. On the other hand, if the accident rate was still high, then you make the test harder. A driver's license isn't a right, it's a privilege, and if making the roads safer means even half the population can't drive any more I'm all for it. That might increase the demand for more public transportation, which is something we sorely need anyway, and/or automated cars.

I am guessing that you consider yourself be in the majority 75%, basing this judgement on something like god given ability or sheer driving talent.

I don't even have a license so I really don't know where my driving abilities stand. I do ride a bike very well but then I should after logging some 55,000 miles. I would probably have good control of a car also but that doesn't always translate directly. Living in NYC I've never had need of a license or a car. Honestly, I'd much rather drive a train instead anyway, and probably could given the hours I've logged on MS Train Simulator. Maybe I'll volunteer for motorman duty if the transit workers go on strike December 15 as they're threatening. ;) Gotta keep those trains running. :lol:

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Wrong, wrong, wrong! Have either of you guys (jtr & bfg9000) ever lived in So. Cal. for more than a year or two? Well let me tell you, you've got it all wrong. Raise the speed limit to 200, and friggin gazzillion of the fastest cars in the world, owned by all the wealthy, testosterone driven teenage mentality adult males who all be trying to drive 200+ before they killed themselves. What a load of crap about modern vehicles are now magically defying the laws of physics, sheeesh; go talk to an automotive safety engineering expert before you spout all these falsehoods.

I actually did live there and have to say that the idea of natural selection at 200mph appeals to me. Sure they'll take out a few innocents but what better way to rid the gene pool of those with extremely bad judgement? My question was why highways deemed safe for Model Ts with wooden wheels are suddenly no longer safe for modern cars without taking extreme measures such as speed controls. That kind of thing doesn't do anything to make driving while tired or drunk or incompetent or talking on the phone any safer. Once again, it is politically easier to blame the object than to take grandma's license away.

If anyone bothered to do the math, 0.8g at 50mph equates to a turning radius of 210 feet. Haven't seen any freeway curves that sharp ;) And last time I checked, 4 planes could not hold 4k people either :unsure: .

I do agree though that a lot of minor plane crashes occur when the plane clips something with a wing while on the ground, or runs off the runway into a ditch.

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Ok I was silent but enough is enough with the model T comparison. Read compare. U = :blush:

"The Interstate freeway system was designed with banking and so that no curve (unless posted with a yellow diamond suggested speed placard) would generate over 0.16G at 70mph... a sharpness deemed safe for the Model T's that roamed the roads at the time."

"My question was why highways deemed safe for Model Ts with wooden wheels are suddenly no longer safe for modern cars without taking extreme measures such as speed controls."

///"The Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie and the Flivver) was an automobile produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company from 1908 through 1927."

///"The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly called the Interstate Highway System, is a network of highways in the United States. The interstate system was authorized by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956. It was lobbied for by major U.S. automobile manufacturers and championed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Although construction on the Interstate Highway system continues, it was officially regarded as complete in 1991 (though 5.6 miles of the original planned route remain either unconstructed, or not yet open [1]). The initial cost estimate for the system was $25 billion over twelve years; it ended up costing $114 billion, taking 35 years to complete. As of 2004, the system contains over 42,700 miles (68,500 km) of roads, all at least four lanes wide. Speed limits vary according to location. By initial planning, the Interstate system was designed to provide reasonable road safety at speeds of 75 to 80 miles per hour (120 to 130 km/h) except in limited stretches (such as steep mountain passes or urban cores) where many vehicles cannot maintain such speeds. Many western states had high speed limits. Kansas, for example, had a posted limit of 80 mph (130 km/h)[2]. Some states, such as Oregon, defined the limit as whatever was "reasonable and proper", which would not be allowed today."

///"The Model T had a front-mounted, 177 in³ (2.9 L) 4 cylinder motor in a block producing 20 horsepower (15 kW) for a top speed of 45 mph (72 km/h). The engine had side valves and 3 main bearings. Recent accounts credit the default-configuration Model T with fuel economy on the order of 25 to 30 miles per gallon."

///"On May 27, 1927, Ford Motor Company stopped manufacturing Model T cars."

Ok so the Model T would have been a 30 year old used car when the first highways started construction and would not even begin to approach the speed capabilities you claim it did. To slow and to early, the highways were not designed with the Model T in mind. :P

///"Model T with fuel economy on the order of 25 to 30 miles per gallon."

Prius owners are way jealous now eh.

Wow 12K9 got a hold of those Q drugs, yes, I thought even "overgrowing" he would beat me to this easy common sense crime. :huh:

Edited by xSTLx

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Come on HTMK, help me out here

Oh my... I feel honored ;)

I don't know what fool thinks 200 mph/320 km/h is safe. Under ideal conditions - dry, no other traffic, competent driver focussed solely on driving - it might be safe. You'll NEVER encounter those conditions on the road. Even if said driver has total control (or what he stupidly believes to be total control) over his car, there's still sane people on the road. What if you're cruising at 120 km/h and some nut overtakes you with a speed difference of 200 km/h? Dangerous to say the least. Excellent technical specs of a car are meaningless if the driver isn't up to it, if the roads aren't in good condition and if you have to take other drivers into account. There's absolutely NO reason to allow such insane speeds anywhere on a public road. Idiots who have to compensate for certain insecurities with a fast cars should go driving on a F1 circuit or something, not on a public road.

I read something about "nanny state". Well, most people need that either to protect them from themself or to protect them from crazy people around them. I don't see what's wrong with reasonable speed limits or even cars with a limited maximum speed. German car manufacturers make a farce of it - limit the top speed to a mere 250 km/h. I wonder who takes them seriously.

Then what could reasonable speed limits be? Depends on time, place, weather and traffic density. 90 km/h should be enough on a typical Belgian highway during rush hour when driving to a city like Brussels but 150 km/h could be perfectly safe with little traffic, good view and dry roads. Variable speed limits could be a solution in such a case and for example near schools. If cars' top speed were limited by law, they should still be a little higher, say 10 km/h, above the absolute maximum allowable speed on a clear highway. Why? Just in case you need that little bit of extra power.

Reasonable speed limits should of course be accompanied by rigirous controls by police. Anyone breaking a reasonable rule should pay for it.

If you wan't some real fun you should get dirty and go off-road (with a real 4x4 or rally car, not thingies like a BMX X5 or Mercedes M) and zip between trees. Now that is fun. Of course if you've got an old Ford Mondeo company car you can do this as well ;)

Mmmm Just one more if I'm not mistaken...

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xSTLx, I cannot fathom where you inferred that I said a Model T could go 70 miles per hour. Read the quotes again. I know darned well it went 45, hence my very careful choice of words (hint: neither "sharpness" nor "safe" mean "70 miles per hour"). My point was always that a modern car is much safer at 90mph on the highway than an old car even at a much lower speed (and yes, including a car from 1956 at 80mph, which even you pointed out was what the interstate was designed for).

The U.S. Highway system was commissioned in 1926 and many of the design tenets developed then were carried over to the Interstate system in 1956.

The Western states resisted the federally imposed (by Jimmy Carter to save gas) 55mph speed limit because it didn't make any sense in places where the highway went arrow straight until it disappeared over the curvature of the earth. But federal highway construction grants were tied to enactment of these limits, so they had no choice but to implement them. After the gas crises were over, the safety nazis latched onto the fact that highway deaths had declined (though they had been declining every year even before federal speed limits) to promote the "speed kills" mantra and keep the 55. Ronald Reagan raised it to 70 and the expected bloodbath did not occur--average highway deaths actually kept declining.

HMTK, I did not see a single person on this thread claim that 200mph was safe, so your argument was?

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There are a couple of other points about the Interstate highway system. Yes, it was indeed designed to allow 75 to 80 mph speeds on most roads with mid-1950s automotive technology. Keep a note of this context in which these roads were designed. On quite a few roads curvature and gradients were laid out with much higher future speeds in mind. Keep this in mind also.

Now what makes this interesting is when you look at the typical performance of a car in the mid-1950s. It was actually a big deal if you had a car which was capable of breaking 100 mph. Few cars then could do it, and tire technology of the time wouldn't let them travel at such a sustained speed anyway. Most cars topped out in the 80s or 90s. This means that highway planners of the time wanted a system which would let the cars of the day cruise at close to their top speeds, let's say for arguments sake at maybe 80% of maximum speed. The roads were for the most part safe when running those cars at those speeds.

Now let's look at today. Automotive technology has improved immensely. Today's cars stop as quickly from 100 mph as the ones of the 1950s did from 70. They are more stable at 100 than the old ones were even at 60 (any older driver here I'm sure can attest that those 1950s cars were a handful even at 70). In short, over a period of 50 years automotive technology and road design allows cruising at 25 to 30 mph faster than was possible in the 1950s on the same roads, and in greater safety. In other words, at speeds in the 100 mph area. The only exception is when speed is limited by the road geometry (i.e. sharp curves in layman's terms). On the present Interstate system this is mostly not a problem until speeds get well past 100 mph (remember that many roads were laid out with far more gradual curves than necessary for 75 to 80 mph travel). Assuming speed limits will eventually be raised to reflect the reality of today's automotive technology, my guess is we'll still be a few decades away from reaching a speed plateau. That will only occur when cars become stable at speeds too high even for the existing very gradual curves. For quite a few roads this won't occur until we have cars capable of stable cruising at 125 to 130 mph. Given the average advance of about 5 mph per decade, reaching the limits of the Interstate highway system is still a good 50 years off. And no, nobody here ever said 200 mph speeds were safe or reasonable, not with today's roads and cars anyway. That would require a new set of roads and vehicles, although I suspect it would be possible to engineer a reasonably safe 200 mph road eventually if that's what we wanted. Of course, by then we'll have all sorts of better options to travel distances faster such as maglevs so who would even want to drive, even at 200 mph.

BTW, I'm surprised the Model T could do even 45 mph. I thought 30 was tops. Regardless, that's only 10 mph less than I can reach on my bike on the level when I'm feeling decent. Of course, I can't sustain it for very long. And interestingly, quite a few passenger trains in the Model T era were going at 80, 90, even 100 mph. Small wonder train travel used to be more popular for long distances.

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I drove a friend from New York around on the Interstate here on the Left Coast, and they had to jump out to take a picture of a suggested speed placard (yes, I stopped first). It had a yellow diamond sign with a gentle curve arrow, and below that was the suggested speed of 70mph. They had never seen such a thing before :rolleyes: . Of course the actual speed limit on that stretch of road was 70 as mandated by the feds, but the DOT engineers obviously knew darned well that nobody drove 70 and wanted to give fair warning.

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Lotsa crap here.

More like BS RJ,

So just off the top of my head ;-) (maybe some more likes about how jtr's favorite mode of transportation is not so safe as he falsely claims...hmm, guess he must be inhaling something nauseating what will those days of the transit strike during frigid cold there in NYC... ah 'Da Weather', should be in the 80's F for the hot spot in the nation here in La La land this Christmas weekend) how bout a few stories on crashes with trains.

Maybe next post some links about how unsafe, autos are at speeds both above 100mph, and even below that. Man is made of flesh and bone (well except some have more silicone air bags installed, hehe P. Anderson ;-) ) for the most part, and no amount of 'safety' technology (except for maybe, fully automated computer controled operation like I said before) can prevent death and severe injury. Or maybe I should just update ddrueding's classic B&G thread!

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/12/21...tion=cnn_latest

Briton dies of Italian train crash injuries 

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So just off the top of my head ;-) (maybe some more likes about how jtr's favorite mode of transportation is not so safe as he falsely claims...

From the first article you linked to: "Following the collision, transport unions raised new concerns about rail safety systems and repeated their calls for new infrastructure and more modern technology."

Train-train collisions can't happen on a state of the art rail system. I never said trains were 100% safe, only that high-speed trains running on high-speed lines haven't had any operational passenger fatalities in over 40 years of operation. And BTW, for every 70 injured on a train as in that article you probably have a few tens of thousands killed worldwide in auto accidents and a few hundred in plane accidents. Just the fact that train accidents always make the news tells you how rare they are.

Maybe next post some links about how unsafe, autos are at speeds both above 100mph, and even below that.

And your point is? So if modern cars on modern highways are so unsafe at 100 mph as you claim what would be a good speed? 80 mph? Still too many deaths for you? 60 mph? Still no good? How about 40 mph? Nah, you can still die if you run off the road into a tree. 15 mph? Nope, still above the design rating of those 5 mph bumpers. 5 mph? Yes, there you go. Perfectly safe.

You and the CHP might want to take a course or two in transportation engineering before sprouting any more "seat of the pants" observations, and while you're at it read a few of the studies I linked to in some of my posts on this subject. To wit, the fatality rate per million miles follows a bathtub shaped curve with the minimum at ~87 mph for today's highways and cars. Going 15 to 20 mph in either direction only increases the fatality rate slightly (i.e. speeds from about 70 up to 100 are reasonably safe). The fatality rate increases dramatically as you go to the outliers of the curve (speeds somewhat above 110 or below about 55 to 60). For urban highways the same curve exists, but the speeds are all somewhat less (I never said urban highways were safe at 100 or designed for it, only interstates). Of course. for some roads in mountainous areas curves and/or gradients set a very hard limit on maximum safe speeds. Most of the rest of the time on interstates, safe speeds are dictated by vehicle design limits and/or weather conditions.

Like I said a few times, if you want really safe forget the autos and go with trains. My only reason for advocating these high speeds is that in most of the US there is really no form of long distance transport other than autos so you need fairly high speeds in the name of efficiency. Frankly, long distance travel is a role cars were force-fitted into back in the 1950s when the US saw the car as the grand solution to every transportation problem. Seeing what the results are today this idea was at best asinine. Cars are great for low-speed, fairly short trips and running errands. That's the role they should be in. They leave a lot to be desired in terms of safety, speed, comfort on long trips. Leave the medium to long distance stuff for commuter rail and high-speed rail. That's the role rail does best.

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Well there are no high speed trains where I live so I'll drive or take a plane.

Lots of people don't pay attention to the other vehicles around them so accidents are innevitable.

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