Don’t Bother Me with Facts!

Some idiotarian has decided to push for reform after fatal wreck of his son by being rear ended by a semi. Being an idiotarian, as soon as he finished mourning, he went into knee-jerk mode.

Owings persuaded a state senator to introduce a bill next year to slow trucks down in Georgia to 55 miles per hour. He also met with Congressional leaders in a trip to Washington and is expected to be a witness in hearings next year as Congress looks at a sweeping transportation bill.

I’m sure that this reaction has everything to do with the ideas that sleepiness or other factors had nothing to do with his son being rear-ended, and is rooted in the well-known scientific fact that having traffic running at two different speeds is inherently safer, right? Umm…

Nicholas Garber, a civil engineering professor of at the University of Virginia, perhaps has studied differential speed limits more than anyone. He recently completed his fourth study. He says it is hard to tell who is right.

“There’s really not a definite conclusion one way or another,” he said. “There’s no difference in crashes [between] highways with differential speed limits and [those with] uniform speed limits.”

In fact, he said, creating two speed classifications can cause other types of accidents, especially cars rear-ending trucks.

Owings remains undeterred. “It’s our mission,” he says with certainty. “We’re going to stick with it because we’re right.”

How do you like them apples? “To hell with the facts! We’ve got to do something!”

Driving is dangerous, okay? It is tragic that you lost a son. I don’t wish that on anyone. But that doesn’t mean that the right thing to do is to slap some happy-legislative salve on your soul and cost some hundred other fathers thier sons when they slam into semis because your law increased the number of accidents on a road.

This little gem amused me (hold onto your hat — there is some spin here:)

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: “Loaded tractor-trailers take 20 to 40 percent farther than cars to stop, and the discrepancy is greater when trailers are empty.” And in a sample of truck inspections in 1996, “29 percent were ordered off the road because of serious vehicle defects, more than half of which were brake defects.”

Yep. My father drove a truck in that time period and dealt with the DOT. Being “ordered off the road” is called being red-tagged. (They put a red sticker on the window.) Most of the time, the tagging lasted all of five minutes. The regulations on how airbrakes are adjusted are very, very stringent. I don’t oppose that. The reality of it is, however, that sometimes trucks are a little out of adjustment, it gets discovered (sometimes having worked out of adjustment that day), the driver gets tagged, fixes them right there at the stop, and gets the tag removed.

This is like having a theme-park ride that requires you to, among things like not being pregnant and being 50 inches tall, to have your shoes tied. In this case, they are counting the people who have to stop in line and tie thier shoes as being “disqualified to ride”.

Ed Crowell, president of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association, says slower trucks would create “rolling roadblocks.”

“People will change lanes, make sudden stops and make all kinds of decisions they wouldn’t have if traffic was flowing at the same speed,” said Crowell, who knew Owings before his son’s death and who has used the same self-help coach.

Crowell said slowing trucks down would “certainly” hurt the industry. But he immediately changed the subject back to safety. “There are examples where changes can improve safety; differential speed limits isn’t that animal,” he said. “You shouldn’t go out and experiment with laws. We’ll oppose it until we find other evidence.”


(Via Boortz)

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