Ann Arbor Area Community News
The Ann Arbor News today reports that the State Police and MDOT are pushing for increased speed limits in many places, based on the idea that posting speed limits at the speed that drivers are already driving is safest. But safest for whom?
Matching speed limits with actual speeds “is the right thing to do, the fair thing to do,’‘ said [State Police Lt.] Megge, who disagrees with ticketing random drivers for doing what nearly everyone else is also doing.
Ann Arbor officials are quoted as saying that other factors should be considered – such as sight lines – when setting speed limits. The local calculation would put Huron Parkway at 35mph – while the State law would post it at 55mph.
By contrast, the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials’ safety advisories state that, “Speed, however, is always a factor in crashes. . . Speed limits that are set inappropriately high can also contribute to pedestrian crashes and injuries.” (emphasis theirs.) AASHTO notes that higher speeds mean more pedestrians hit, and that a pedestrian hit at 40 mph has an 85-percent chance of being killed; at 30 mph, the likelihood goes down to 45 percent. Pedestrian safety is not mentioned in the News article.
Nice to see that the State Police and MDOT think that decreasing rear-end vehicle accidents is a worthwhile tradeoff for killing more pedestrians.
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