White Paper-runnerd4

Working Hypothesis

1b Increasing the speed limit on long, straight sections of all major U.S. highways and freeways would substantially decrease the number of accidents.

1c. Implementing gps speed limiting would substantially decrease the number of accidents in all areas of the United States


1. https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/19514

Garber, N., Ehrhart, A., & Virginia Transportation Research Council. (1970, January 01). The effect of speed, flow, and geometric characteristics on crash rates for different types of Virginia highways. Retrieved September 25, 2020, from https://rosap.ntl.bts.gov/view/dot/19514

This essay is about a study conducted on how many aspects affect the crash rates for Virginia Highways. It was found that speed limits above 68 mph substantially increase the amount of crashes. Figure 6 “shows that at a relatively high flow per lane, the crash rate decreases as the standard deviation of speed increases”. This study shows that highways need to be relatively clear for the increase of speed limit to be able to decrease accidents

2. http://www.safespeed.org.uk/speedo.html

Temp. (2004). The Speedo. Retrieved September 25, 2020, from http://www.safespeed.org.uk/speedo.html

This study gave me a lot of important information. The first fact is that it takes the on average .91 seconds to check your speedometer and refocus your eyes on the road. 0.91 seconds is a lot considering how much can happen in just a split second when driving.

It also included this chart about driving in a 50 mph zone for 8.2 seconds. Just one speedometer check reduces your percent of road observation by 13%!! If someone, like I do, checks the speedometer very often like I do, the amount of observation lost can be extremely dangerous, especially when driving on a highway.

number of speedo checkspercentage of road observation lost

3. https://www.who.int/health-topics/road-safety#tab=tab_2

This article seemed to be pretty opposite of what I was originally trying to prove, but I found some interesting information to keep in mind. I found out that “For every 1% increase in mean speed there is a 4% increase in fatal crash risk.” That is very important to keep in mind. I wonder what type of test they did to find this out. Was it just on average with all traffic volumes or just on one highway?

Something else I did not think about is pedestrians. Pedestrians are 4.5 times more likely to die when being struck by a car going 65 km/h than one going 50 km/h. There are also many significant factors of being injured when getting into an accident such as distractions, us of seatbelts, unsafe road infrastructure, inadequate enforcement of traffic laws.

4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457502000118

Navon, D. (2002, January 30). The paradox of driving speed: Two adverse effects on highway accident rate. Retrieved September 25, 2020, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457502000118

This was a great study. It showed that how the idea of “speed kills” isn’t entirely true. The thing that kills is when two vehicles enter what is called an accident prone interaction, or an API. APIs include ” (a) when cars moving on intersecting roads come at about the same time to an intersection, (b) when cars moving in opposite directions on the same undivided road pass each other, (c) when cars moving in the same direction on different lanes of the same road momentarily drive next to each other, and (d) when a car coming from the rear of another one switches lanes next to the other one (either by switching to an adjacent lane to overtake it, or by returning to the original lane).”

In the study it showed that traveling at higher rates of speed actually significantly reduced the amount of APIs a driver encounters. It really makes sense when you think about it, the faster you’re going, the less time you spend near other cars. The less time you spend near other cars, the risk of accidents is greatly decreased. It also mentioned how speed limitless roads such as parts of the German autobahns had extremely low accident rates. When the traffic levels are high on those roads, the drivers naturally reduce their speeds to avoid accidents, which seems like common sense.

5. https://www.motorbiscuit.com/the-jeep-wrangler-392-concept-blows-the-ford-bronco-away/

Houghlen, M. (2019, October 29). Is the Autobahn Safer Than U.S. Highways? Retrieved September 25, 2020, from https://www.motorbiscuit.com/is-the-autobahn-safer-than-u-s-highways/

There are less vehicle related fatalities on the autobahn system than on the US highway system. This may be due to the fact that Germany takes great care of their highways and it is much more difficult and expensive to obtain a license in Germany than in the United States, costing up to $2000 and up to 6 months to complete. Germany also strictly enforces many traffic laws like no tailgating and the left lane is only for passing.

Although the autobahn is not completely speed limitless, about 65% of the highway system is unrestricted.

6. https://www.idrivesafely.com/defensive-driving/trending/it-time-american-autobahn

Drive Safely. (2011). Is it Time for an American Autobahn? Retrieved September 25, 2020, from https://www.idrivesafely.com/defensive-driving/trending/it-time-american-autobahn

The fatality rate on the German autobahn is 1.98 deaths per billion miles travelled compared to America’s rate of 3.62

7. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/speedmgt/data_facts/docs/rd_func_class_1_42.pdf

U.S Department of Transportation. (2000, November). Road Function Classifications. Retrieved October 9, 2020, from https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/speedmgt/data_facts/docs/rd_func_class_1_42.pdf

Local roads: slow rate of speed, limited mobility, average street

collectors: connect local roads and arterials, high fatality rate, slightly higher speed limit

other arterials: “connect, as directly as practicable, the Nationís principal urbanized areas, cities, and industrial centers. Land access is limited. Posted speed limits on arterials usually range between 50 and 70 mi/h.”

8. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/other_topics/fhwasa10005/brief_2.cfm

Intersection Safety Issue Briefs. (2009, November). Retrieved October 09, 2020, from https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/other_topics/fhwasa10005/brief_2.cfm

Approximately 40% of all accidents occur at intersections.

Topics for Smaller Papers

Definiton/Classification Essay on the German Autobahn

Rebuttal essay on gps speed limiting

Current State of the Research Paper

I am currently not too confident on my topic. My last few sources did make me feel a bit more confident that I could actually find some data that supports my hypothesis. I definitely have much much more research to do before I can be sure of my final hypothesis.

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1 Response to White Paper-runnerd4

  1. davidbdale says:

    Runner, the best response to “My last few sources did make me feel a bit more confident that I could actually find some data that supports my hypothesis” is to follow the lead suggested by the sources you have found. No hypothesis is final. We research not to demonstrate that we were right in our first thinking, but to find out what’s true. Stay open to surprise.

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