Kansas Speed Limits
Everyone in this room eats, sleeps, and drinks on a daily basis (and I’m not talking about alcohol.) For most, a second thought is not even given before you go to bed to catch some zzz’s or even before you pick up that bottle of water to quench your thirst. Likewise, how many of you second guess yourself before getting in your car to head down a Kansas highway. Well, I didn’t either until it was brought to my attention that an effort is being made to decrease Kansas highway speed-limits from 70mph to 65mph. The influence of speed limits on roadways has been up for continuous debate and I am here today to discuss with you why lowering the speed limit would be ineffective and what the focus of safer roadways should be. While lowering the speed limit to many seems like an effective way to bring about safer roadways, I too thought the same until I conducted some research and the evidence that I have found will shock you.
Everybody expects that when you increase the speed limit, injuries and the severity of injuries are going to increase, but that hasn't happened on the interstate highway system in Indiana, where speed limits have in fact been raised. According to Robert Yowell, Political scientist at the University of Texas, "Automobile safety features and enforcement emerge as important factors in increasing highway safety,” Yowell contends in the July issue of Review of Policy Research, “speed limits are far less important (LiveScience, 2005)." Research from Kansas State University earlier this year would seem to support Yowell's claim. Civil engineer Sunanda Dissanayake found three factors that were consistently most significant in contributing to fatalities in rural highway crashes: driving under the influence, driving faster than the posted speed limit, and not using a seatbelt (Hassenn, 2000). These factors are imperative when considering driving fatalities and speed limits.
The Research and Development team for the U.S....