Rebuttal- runnerd4

False Crash Rate Predictions by Opponents

Opponents of increasing the speed limit are quick to jump to the conclusion that increasing the speed limit would simply lead to an increase in crash rates. While this may be true for certain types of roads such as local roads, this is untrue for major highways. It has been found that increasing the speed on major highways does not increase accident rate, but it might actually decrease accident rate. Increasing the speed limit on major highways would also come with some positive effects such as an increased flow of traffic, quicker travel times, and a higher level of concentration. 

In the article “Dangers of Increasing Highway Speed Limits,” the author quoted Russ Rader from USA Today who stated, “Higher speeds mean more crashes and more severe ones.” Although it is true that crashes that occur at higher rates of speeds result in higher fatality rates, it is not true that increasing the speed limit on highways leads to higher crash rates. The author of this article provides no evidence to prove that crash rates increase from a higher speed limit. He/she only cited that the increase in speed limit increased the fatality rate. Based on the article “The paradox of driving speed: Two adverse effects on highway accident rate,” it has been proven that an increase of speed limit on highways actually leads to a lower API rate, which in turn leads to a lower crash rate. The faster two cars travel past each other, the less time they are next to each other. This is true for all types of API interactions. It is simple, the lower the amount of time two vehicles spend next to each other, the lower the crash rate. 

Critics of increasing the speed limit also like to ignore the multiple advantages that would come along with increasing the speed limit on major highways. One main advantage would be increased traffic flow. In the report from MDPI titled “The Effect of Posted Speed Limit on the Dispersion of Traffic Flow Speed,” they found that an increase in speed limit is directly related to the increase of the speed of traffic flow. Their study found that an increase of posted speed limit by 20 km/h increased the speed of traffic flow by 18 km/h. The increased traffic flow would reduce if not eliminate the hassle from standstill traffic. Increased traffic flow leads to the next advantage of increasing the speed limit: quicker travel times.

It seems to be obvious that an increase in speed limit would lead to a decrease in the amount of time that is spent on the road. Long commutes have been proven to increase stress levels. In an article published by the City Clock Magazine titled “Think driving stress is ruining your life? Apparently it is,” they found that driving leads to people experiencing many indicators of stress like anxiety, high heart rate, and high blood pressure and those who drive more take more sick days and end up in the hospital more often. Each of these effects could lead to more detrimental effects if they continue. The same article also explained that “It has also been found that the longer you spend driving results in lower productivity for your employer.” Low level of productivity could lead to someone losing their job and could be detrimental to their workplace. Driving clearly takes a toll on people and decreasing the amount of time they are driving can lead to many positive effects. Spending less time on the road gives people more time to complete their work and most importantly, more time to spend with their family and friends. The higher level of efficiency, more time spent with loved ones, and lower stress levels would allow people to be happier and even more financially stable. 

Increasing the speed limit would also lead drivers to concentrate more on the road. Multiple distractions would be cut out of their commute such as constantly checking the speedometer and surveying the area for police cars. If the driver does not constantly take their eyes off the road to check the speedometer, they are able to be more vigilant to the area around them, instead of having to constantly worry about the speed that they are traveling at. The same effect occurs when drivers are no longer constantly checking all around them for police. Checking for police takes an even greater toll on the concentration of the driver on the road. Drivers check behind themselves, in front of themselves, within the trees, and on the side of the road just in case they catch a glimpse of a Ford Explorer or a Dodge Charger. 

Having a speed limit that is higher and more comparable to the speed at which people already drive on the highway would also make people take the speed limit more seriously. For example, the speed limit on the New Jersey Turnpike is 65 miles per hour, but everyone knows that if they go below 80 to 85 miles an hour they are likely to get ran off the road. If the speed limit was 80, maybe people would actually take it seriously. Taking the law seriously also improves the relationship between the people and law enforcement. There would be much less arguing with police officers over tickets if the speed limit actually represented the speed at which most people are actually driving.

The critics of the concept of increasing the speed limit on major highways like to believe that the only effect that would come from doing so would be an increase in accident rate. Not only is that refutation false, they also ignore all of the positive effects that would come from increasing the speed limit. Increasing the speed limit would increase the flow of traffic leading the less stand-still traffic. A higher flow of traffic would lead to quicker commute times. Spending less time on the road is important considering that longer commutes lead to stress and lower productivity. Finally increasing the speed limit would lead to less distractions for the driver, which leads to a higher level of concentration. Critics should consider these points before making the decision of whether or not to support the increase of speed limits on major highways

References

Dangers of Increasing Highway Speed Limits. (2015, April 02). Retrieved November 03, 2020, from https://drivingschool.net/dangers-increasing-highway-speed-limits/

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

Gao, C., Li, Q., & Yang, J. (2019). The Effect of Posted Speed Limit on the Dispersion of Traffic Flow Speed (Rep.). MDPI.

Think driving stress is ruining your life? Apparently it is. (2014, August 22). Retrieved November 03, 2020, from http://www.cityclock.org/driving-stress/

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3 Responses to Rebuttal- runnerd4

  1. davidbdale says:

    With your permission, RunnerD4, I’d like to spend too much time on your first paragraph. I will relax a bit after that, but I’ll feel better if I lavish my attention here before continuing. Thank you.

    Opponents of increasing the speed limit are quick to jump to the conclusion that increasing the speed limit would simply lead to an increase in crash rates.

    —You name them once, then use their name to say what they do, so I wonder if there’s a better name for the people who oppose increasing the speed limit than Opponents of Increasing the Speed Limit. Come up with one, and I’ll be very impressed.
    —When you say “simply” lead to an increase in crash rates, I believe you mean “inevitably” lead to an increase in crash rates. Big difference.
    —Who cares about crash “rates”? Isn’t it the number of crashes that OOITSL should care about? I can reduce the crash rate by under-reporting crashes.

    While this may be true for certain types of roads such as local roads, this is untrue for major highways.

    —Never use “may be” if you mean “is.” Here the likelihood is that increasing the speed limit on local roads WOULD undoubtedly result in more crashes. So acknowledge that if it’s true.
    —”certain types of roads such as local roads” means “local roads,” right? If there in fact ARE several types of road that might suffer more crashes with higher-speed traffic, you might need to distinguish between TYPES OF ROADS. But are there SO MANY road types that you need to eliminate all but a few? You make us think there are MANY road types that are not good candidates for higher speed limits, which weakens your claim. The way to MINIMIZE the power of your opponent is to ALLOW that her objection applies to a VERY FEW cases. A possible rephrasing: “While we certainly DO NOT FAVOR raising limits on local residential streets, the benefits of higher speed limits on major highways are obvious.”

    It has been found that increasing the speed on major highways does not increase accident rate, but it might actually decrease accident rate.

    —After acknowledging the value of the objection, go back on the offensive. “Increasing the speed limit on major highways would increase traffic flow, reduce travel times, and contribute to driver concentration, ALL WHILE REDUCING the number of crashes per mile driven.
    —”Per mile driven” is a subtle way to describe crash “rates” while sounding as if you’re claiming a reduction in the number of crashes.

    I feel better. Was that useful?
    I can’t find the time to do that for every paragraph, but maybe there are pointers there that apply universally.

    Like

  2. davidbdale says:

    In the article “Dangers of Increasing Highway Speed Limits,” the author quoted Russ Rader from USA Today who stated, “Higher speeds mean more crashes and more severe ones.” Although it is true that crashes that occur at higher rates of speeds result in higher fatality rates, it is not true that increasing the speed limit on highways leads to higher crash rates.

    —Ideally, you’d be refuting someone with stronger evidence and greater authority than someone who quoted someone who said something vague in USA Today, Runner.
    —In fact, it shouldn’t be hard to find plenty of authorities who would verify that higher-speed crashes are more likely fatal.
    —But I applaud your strategy of acknowledging PART OF the claim, then disputing the rest, thereby undermining the conclusion.
    —Is there no data that demonstrates increased speed limits result in more crashes?

    The author of this article provides no evidence to prove that crash rates increase from a higher speed limit.

    That SOUNDS convincing, but you’re quoting such a tiny bit of evidence that skeptical readers will not feel compelled to believe you’re telling them the whole story. It’s a newspaper article that doesn’t require overwhelming evidence. That doesn’t mean there is no such evidence.

    He/she only cited that the increase in speed limit increased the fatality rate.

    What you say here is crucial, of course. IF the increase in speed limit REDUCES the NUMBER of crashes, then even with an increase in fatality RATE, the increased speed might REDUCE the NUMBER of fatalities. Let’s hope you’re about to demonstrate that!

    Based on the article “The paradox of driving speed: Two adverse effects on highway accident rate,” it has been proven that an increase of speed limit on highways actually leads to a lower API rate, which in turn leads to a lower crash rate.

    —Well, we don’t know, do we? Because at the critical moment, when we’re waiting for a REDUCTION in the number of crashes, you substitute an “API rate” without telling us what that means and a “lower crash rate” without telling us whether that results in fewer crashes (or just fewer crashes PER mile driven or PER hours on the road.
    —One way or another, you need to demonstrate that raising the speed limit REDUCES crashes or REDUCES fatalities. We’re not there yet.

    The faster two cars travel past each other, the less time they are next to each other. This is true for all types of API interactions. It is simple, the lower the amount of time two vehicles spend next to each other, the lower the crash rate.

    —Intriguing, but not “simple.”
    —On a two-lane highway with one lane in each direction, two cars pass each other in less time at 100mph, but the resulting crash if there were one would MUCH more likely be fatal than at 40mph.
    —On a divided highway with two or three lanes traveling the same direction on each side of the divider, two cars both traveling 100mph in the same direction could spent several minutes next to each other. How does raising the speed limit on such a highway reduce the amount of time the cars are adjacent, the number of times they crash, or the number of fatalities?

    Like

  3. davidbdale says:

    I have less to say about the rest of your argument, Runner, since the claims it makes are less arguable (not impossible to argue, but less so). They also don’t amount to a Refutation, exactly, just additional evidence for the value of your own thesis.

    Like

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