Research- runnerd4

Let’s Increase the Speed Limit!

Imagine an America in which the speed limits on the highways are even higher, maybe something comparable to the German Autobahn. As that concept may seem concerning to some, it should not be. Although it may seem counterintuitive, through intense research, the conclusion can be drawn that increasing the speed limit does not increase the crash rate. There are actually numerous possible positive effects that could result from an increase of the speed limit.

It is important to have a strong understanding of the characteristics of a highway before considering increasing the speed limit on them across the nation. In America, we have interstate highways and other arterials. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation in their article “Road Function Classifications,” the interstate system is made up of arterial roads that “provide the highest level of mobility and the highest speeds over the longest interrupted distance.” Interstate highways pass through several states. An example of an interstate highway is I-95 which begins near the Canadian border in Maine and ends in Miami Florida. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation in their article “Road Function Classifications,” the category of other arterials “include freeways, multilane highways, and other important roadways that supplement the interstate system,” and connect busy areas like cities and industrialized areas. An example of these arterials is NJ- Route 55. The interstate system and other arterial roads fit in the category of roads in which the speed limits should be increased. 

Next, it is important to understand some of the main factors involved in the causation of accidents. Accident-prone interactions, or APIs, are arguably the most important concept to understand. According to David Navone in his study “The Paradox of Driving Speed,” APIs are instances in which two vehicles come in close proximity of each other. There are multiple types of APIs. According to Navone, the four types are “(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).”  It is a very simple concept; when two vehicles come near each other, an API occurs. Increasing the speed limit on highways would decrease the amount of time that each API takes to occur, decreasing the likelihood of the occurrence of an accident.

The next main factor is distractions. There are many different types of distractions that a driver experiences in their commute. Anything that makes it so the driver does not give their full attention to the road is a distraction. According to the CDC in the article “Distracted Driving,” there are three main categories of distractions; visual, cognitive, and manual. An example of a visual distraction is looking at something in the car, such as the radio. A cognitive distraction would be doing anything that takes the driver’s mind off of driving and onto another subject. Manual distractions include distractions that have the driver’s hands off the wheel such as phone usage or eating. One very common distraction nowadays is drivers selecting music to play in the car from their phone. Apps such as Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Youtube put millions of songs in the driver’s hands and cause a new distraction every few minutes when the driver chooses a new song. 

There was also a good point made in the article from the NHTSA called “Distractions in and Out of the Vehicle” when the author explained that there are also distractions outside of the vehicle including “crash scenes, road construction, and people, places, or things of interest alongside the road.” Paying attention to these distractions causes the driver to no longer have their full attention on the road, even though these distractions are on the road. The driver becomes more focused on that view than on the cars around them.

Finally, there is the concept of critical driving decisions. Critical driving decisions are the decisions made by drivers that either cause or avoid accidents. Many of these decisions occur at intersections. One example is when a driver needs to time their left turn at a green light or a stop sign based on the incoming traffic. If the driver times their turn incorrectly, there could be a few results. The driver could end up hitting or getting hit by the car coming straight through in the intersection, causing a head-on or t-bone style accident. Next, the driver could force the incoming traffic to slam on their brakes, setting up the scene for a possible rear-end accident for the oncoming drivers. Finally, the driver could go into the turn at a speed unfit for the turn and have a whole different type of accident by losing control of their vehicle. Timing the turn correctly would allow the driver to avoid each of these possible accident situations. An example of a critical driving decision not at an intersection is deciding when to change lanes on a highway. If the driver decides to change lanes too early, they could get rear-ended by the vehicle traveling in another lane, which could lead to a multiple car accident as everyone slams on their breaks. These critical driving decisions are exactly what their name describes them as, critical. Making the right decision allows the driver to go on with their day and commute, but making the wrong decision could very easily lead to an accident with serious injury or death involved for any of the drivers. 

Having a strong understanding of the category of roads being considered to increase the speed limit is very important. This category is arterial roads which include major highways and the interstate system. It is also important to understand the contributors to the causation of accidents such as API rates, distractions, and critical driving decisions. Without understanding these topics, it is easy to be falsely led into believing that speeding is what causes accidents. Considering the other contributors makes it simple to see that increasing the speed limit is not as dangerous as one would initially believe. There are many other more prevalent contributors than speeding in the causation of accidents.

The popular belief among the general population is that speeding causes accidents, and while on the surface that statement may be true, it is not the full truth. The truth is that many other key factors are involved in the causation of an accident, not just speeding. A few examples of these key factors include accident-prone interactions, distractions, and critical driving decisions. These factors must be considered instead of simply placing the blame on speeding. 

One main circumstance in the risk of causation of accidents is the amount of time that two cars spend next to each other. In a 2002 study conducted by David Nanon, he called these “accident-prone interactions” (API), which previously described are simply situations where two cars come near to each other. It is a very simple concept, the more time two cars spend next to each other, the greater risk of an accident. The study showed that while APIs have a direct relationship with the number of accidents, speed has an inverse relationship with the number of APIs.

In his study, he found that each type of API was either unaffected or reduced by greater speeds. For type-A APIs, the number of encounters was unaffected by greater speeds, but in the write up for the study, Nanon explained that this type of situation was more or less irrelevant to highway driving because it was considering interactions at intersections. A higher frequency of type-A APIs would increase the rate of accidents substantially due to the critical driving decisions made at an intersection. The frequency of type-B APIs was reduced at greater speeds. Nanon explained that driving at higher speeds decreases the time that drivers spend on the road and decrease the number of cars that they come in contact with. Decreasing the number of cars that they come in contact with traveling in the opposite direction definitely would help decrease the rates of accidents on highways. On the other hand, an increase in the number of cars traveling in the opposite direction going past each other would cause an increase in the rate of accidents on a road. Next, the frequency of type-C APIs was also greatly reduced at higher driving speeds. Nanon explained that the main reason for this is because since the two cars would be traveling past each other in the same direction at such a fast rate, the amount of time they spend next to each other would be minimal. The less time two cars spend next to each other, the lower risk of accidents. Finally, the number of type-D APIs would also be decreased when traveling at a higher rate of speed. Like all of the other situations, the less time two cars spend next to each other, the lower the chance of an accident. 

Next, another key factor in the causation of accidents is distractions. In a study conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, “Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event.” This evidence shows that distractions play a huge role in the causation of accidents. When a driver is distracted, they usually take their eyes off of the road, which leads them to not be able to see any cars or pedestrians in front of them. Distractions put the driver and other drivers at risk. 

The main form of distraction seen all over today is texting and driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “ Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.” This is a serious issue, especially at high speeds. If a driver travels the distance of a football field without paying attention to the road, that would greatly increase the risk of an accident, just like any other form of distraction.

Another common form of distraction while driving is checking the speedometer. Most drivers constantly check the speedometer to ensure that they are not going above the speed limit to avoid being ticketed. In a study conducted by Safe Speed, it was found that it takes the human eyes 0.91 seconds on average to check the speedometer and refocus on the road. That fact is concerning considering that an accident can occur just in a split second. 

Next, another key factor in the causation of accidents is the critical driving decisions made on the road. These critical driving decisions most commonly occur at intersections and occur before the majority of accidents. When the driver makes the wrong decision, there is a much higher risk of an accident occurring than if the driver made the correct decision. For example, if a driver timed their left turn at an intersection with oncoming traffic incorrectly, it could very well likely lead to an accident. According to Choi from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “In the case of 22.2 percent of crashes, the critical event was turning left…” Making the wrong decision leads to an accident occurring. Although making these decisions at a higher speed could be more difficult, most of these decisions are not commonly made on highways because highways generally do not have intersections.

It is extremely important to understand that speed is not the only factor in accidents. Many other factors are just as important if not more important than speed, and ignoring these factors does a disservice to your understanding of the role that speed plays in accidents. The APIs are arguably the most important in the causation of accidents, and it shows that higher speed either has no effect or reduces the frequency of APIs. A lower number of APIs would lead to a lower number of accidents. Next, distractions are a huge factor in the causation of accidents. One of these distractions is checking the speedometer and without having to worry about speeding, that distraction could be eliminated on highways altogether. Highways are also designed to decrease the number of distractions through strategies such as cutting the number of billboards. Finally, critical driving decisions are another key factor in the causation of accidents. Making the wrong decision increases the rate of accidents. Although it is difficult to make these decisions at higher speeds, the majority of these decisions are rarely made on highways.

10. The popular belief among the general population is that speeding causes accidents, and while on the surface that statement may be true, it is not the full truth. The truth is that many other key factors are involved in the causation of an accident, not just speeding. A few examples of these key factors include accident-prone interactions, distractions, and critical driving decisions. These factors must be considered instead of simply placing the blame on speeding. 

11. One main circumstance in the risk of causation of accidents is the amount of time that two cars spend next to each other. In a 2002 study conducted by David Nanon, he called these “accident-prone interactions” (API), which previously described are simply situations where two cars come near to each other. It is a very simple concept, the more time two cars spend next to each other, the greater risk of an accident. The study showed that while APIs have a direct relationship with the number of accidents, speed has an inverse relationship with the number of APIs.

12. In his study, he found that each type of API was either unaffected or reduced by greater speeds. For type-A APIs, the number of encounters was unaffected by greater speeds, but in the write up for the study, Nanon explained that this type of situation was more or less irrelevant to highway driving because it was considering interactions at intersections. A higher frequency of type-A APIs would increase the rate of accidents substantially due to the critical driving decisions made at an intersection. The frequency of type-B APIs was reduced at greater speeds. Nanon explained that driving at higher speeds decreases the time that drivers spend on the road and decrease the number of cars that they come in contact with. Decreasing the number of cars that they come in contact with traveling in the opposite direction definitely would help decrease the rates of accidents on highways. On the other hand, an increase in the number of cars traveling in the opposite direction going past each other would cause an increase in the rate of accidents on a road. Next, the frequency of type-C APIs was also greatly reduced at higher driving speeds. Nanon explained that the main reason for this is because since the two cars would be traveling past each other in the same direction at such a fast rate, the amount of time they spend next to each other would be minimal. The less time two cars spend next to each other, the lower risk of accidents. Finally, the number of type-D APIs would also be decreased when traveling at a higher rate of speed. Like all of the other situations, the less time two cars spend next to each other, the lower the chance of an accident. 

13. Next, another key factor in the causation of accidents is distractions. Distractions come in many forms such as phone usage, radio usage, eating, smoking, talking with passengers, checking the speedometer and reading billboards, or anything else that causes the driver to no longer is fully attentive to driving. In a study conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, “Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event.” This evidence shows that distractions play a huge role in the causation of accidents. When a driver is distracted, they usually take their eyes off of the road, which leads them to not be able to see any cars or pedestrians in front of them. Distractions put the driver and other drivers at risk. 

14. The main form of distraction seen all over today is texting and driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “ Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.” This is a serious issue, especially at high speeds. If a driver travels the distance of a football field without paying attention to the road, that would greatly increase the risk of an accident, just like any other form of distraction.

15. Another common form of distraction while driving is checking the speedometer. Most drivers constantly check the speedometer to ensure that they are not going above the speed limit to avoid being ticketed. In a study conducted by Safe Speed, it was found that it takes the human eyes 0.91 seconds on average to check the speedometer and refocus on the road. That fact is concerning considering that an accident can occur just in a split second. 

16. Next, another key factor in the causation of accidents is the critical driving decisions made on the road. These critical driving decisions most commonly occur at intersections and occur before the majority of accidents. When the driver makes the wrong decision, there is a much higher risk of an accident occurring than if the driver made the correct decision. For example, if a driver timed their left turn at an intersection with oncoming traffic incorrectly, it could very well likely lead to an accident. According to Choi from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “In the case of 22.2 percent of crashes, the critical event was turning left…” Making the wrong decision leads to an accident occurring. Although making these decisions at a higher speed could be more difficult, most of these decisions are not commonly made on highways because highways generally do not have intersections.

17. It is extremely important to understand that speed is not the only factor in accidents. Many other factors are just as important if not more important than speed, and ignoring these factors does a disservice to your understanding of the role that speed plays in accidents. The APIs are arguably the most important in the causation of accidents, and it shows that higher speed either has no effect or reduces the frequency of APIs. A lower number of APIs would lead to a lower number of accidents. Next, distractions are a huge factor in the causation of accidents. One of these distractions is checking the speedometer and without having to worry about speeding, that distraction could be eliminated on highways altogether. Highways are also designed to decrease the number of distractions through strategies such as cutting the number of billboards. Finally, critical driving decisions are another key factor in the causation of accidents. Making the wrong decision increases the rate of accidents. Although it is difficult to make these decisions at higher speeds, the majority of these decisions are rarely made on highways.

18. All in all, after deep evaluation of statistics and evidence, it is clear that the positive effects of increasing the speed limit on highways actually outweigh the negative effects. Although the fatality rate is higher in high speed accidents, the accident rate is reduced at higher speeds. Some of the numerous positive effects include decreased crash rates, higher traffic flow, and shorter commute times. It is time for highway departments to take increasing the speed limits into serious consideration.

References

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

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

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

VTTI and NHTSA. (2006, April 21). Findings Released On Real-world Driver Behavior, Distraction, Crash Factors. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060420233031.htm

Currin, A. (2020, October 05). U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

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

Choi, E. (2010, September). Crash Factors in Intersection-Related Crashes: An On-Scene Perspective. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from Crash Factors in Intersection-Related Crashes: An On-Scene Perspective

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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4 Responses to Research- runnerd4

  1. runnerd4 says:

    Hi Professor Hodges. I have a substantial amount of rewriting to do, especially for my definition portion of my argument. With that said, I am asking for a fails for grammar evaluation from paragraph 10 on. I am not asking for the evaluation before the 10th paragraph because I am completely re-writing my definition portion. Thanks.

  2. davidbdale says:

    I like the work you’re doing, runner, and I’m very impressed that you’re planning to radically revise even after posting your Research paper. I see no FFG issues in P10, and I won’t repeat this exercise for other paragraphs (I promise!), but before I check the rest of your paragraphs (which I numbered in case I need to refer to them), I want to offer a style recommendation that may help globally. Your sentences often start with a repetition of what’s just been said, which is a sure sign of wordiness. As an example:

    10. The popular belief among the general population is that speeding causes accidents, and while on the surface that statement may be true, it is not the full truth. The truth is that many other key factors are involved in the causation of an accident, not just speeding. A few examples of these key factors include accident-prone interactions, distractions, and critical driving decisions. These factors must be considered instead of simply placing the blame on speeding.

    Once repetitions are eliminated:

    The popular belief, that speeding causes accidents, is not the full truth. Distractions, critical driving decisions, and accident-prone intersections also contribute to accidents.

  3. davidbdale says:

    11. This is not a FFG situation, but you have written a comma splice, not a legal sentence. Your first sentence ends after concept.

    It is a very simple concept, the more time two cars spend next to each other, the greater risk of an accident.

    12. No grammar or punctuation issues.

    13. Something wrong with this.

    anything else that causes the driver to no longer is fully attentive to driving.

    There’s no “said language” here.

    In a study conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, “Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event.”

    FFG Rule 4B.

    When a driver is distracted, they usually take their eyes off of the road, which leads them to not be able to see any cars or pedestrians in front of them.

    14. No grammar or punctuation issues.

    15. Not illegal, but a misplaced modifier.

    Most drivers constantly check the speedometer to ensure that they are not going above the speed limit to avoid being ticketed.

    Nobody goes above the speed limit to avoid being ticketed, but your sentence says that they do.

    To avoid being ticketed, most drivers constantly check the speedometer to ensure that they are not going above the speed limit.

    16. I’ll bet you can figure out how to eliminate the repetition in this next set:

    Next, another key factor in the causation of accidents is the critical driving decisions made on the road. These critical driving decisions most commonly occur at intersections and occur before the majority of accidents.

    FFG Rule 4B:

    For example, if a driver timed their left turn at an intersection with oncoming traffic incorrectly, it could very well likely lead to an accident.

    This is not a FFG rule, but it’s still a punctuation error. When a sentence ENDS with an ellipsis, use 4 periods, three to indicate that something has been ellided, one to end the sentence.

    According to Choi from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “In the case of 22.2 percent of crashes, the critical event was turning left…”

    17. FFG Rule 12.

    ignoring these factors does a disservice to your understanding of the role that speed plays in accidents.

    What’s “it”?

    The APIs are arguably the most important in the causation of accidents, and it shows that higher speed either has no effect or reduces the frequency of APIs.

    18. No grammar or punctuation issues.

    Very clean work overall, Runner. Wordy as all get-out, but clean.

  4. Pingback: Reflective- runnnerd4 | Counterintuitivity

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