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Speed is directly responsible for about 1/3 of traffic deaths, alcohol 1/3 and remaining 1/3 other factors such as texting.

This spring #MoCo attempted to modify MD transportation statute so the county could optionally lower a residential road speed limit to 20mph. The Maryland General Assembly let the bill die.

I'd have popped Chris Core right about then.

I do not think suggesting that one option for Vision Zero would be to reduce speeds on limited access roads to 25MPH is a good idea. A. I doubt that is cost benefit positive B. It does zilch for cyclists and pedestrians who are not on such roads (other than folks whose cars break down, etc) While I understand that many VZ plans are mode neutral, IMO the main point of VZ is reducing the danger to those using the active travel modes. C. I think its pretty clearly correct, that in making our joint political decisions, we as a society will not find that tradeoff worth it (NL hasn't have they?) It will only add to war on cars rhetoric, and distract from what we can realistically achieve (which is lowering speed limits to 25MPH on suburban arterials, and to 20 or below on residential streets)

I didn't mean to suggest that, but in Ms. McArdle's post she suggests that people have decided how slow they're willing to go to save lives and it's the speed they're going now. So, they aren't interested in going slower to save lives - otherwise they'd already be doing that. [And that furthermore what individual drivers decide is equal to what everyone would decide to do if we acted together as though there is no such thing as the tragedy of the commons]

The 25mph thing is hers and I just decided not to contest it. The real speed is irrelevant except that in a lot of cases it would be best if the travel speed were x-y, where x is the current average speed and y is a non-zero positive number. That might be 25mph in some places, but usually it will not be.

The line you emphasize is the crux of it. At a basic level, we're just okay with a certain level of violence because we aren't willing to change our lifestyles otherwise (this is also what I believe about our current gun control debate).

Vision zero is certainly ambitious and who knows if it will actually succeed but the point is that we haven't actually tried yet. And yes, changing the culture is hard but it can be done.

I agree with you, that the decisions we make as individual drives is not the decision we would make collectively. But Ms McArdle, confusingly, mentions both "Government sets much higher speed limits -- speeds that are still quite deadly! -- and most drivers opt for even deadlier speeds". It is not clear if all the other references she makes are to individual decisions, or to the collective decision.

Clearly, obviously we A. Make collective decisions different from our individual differences unconstrained by law B. Have changed our collective minds on many safety regulations - including speed limits (where local street limits in many places are lower than a few years, and on interstates in many places are higher).

My main point though, is we are allowing Ms McArdle to set up the counterfactual, and its a giant straw man - a 25MPH max speed everywhere. Whatever point she wishes to make about fire regulations, its a terrible straw man from the POV of advocating for Vision Zero. I would simply not touch it, or if I had to, would make sure to point out that this is NOT what any is proposing as an implementation of Vision Zero.

Again, Ms McArdle seems unaware that in select locations VZ has led to limits below 25, or that it involves more extensive enforcement, or that it can involve infra changes. I doubt she is thinking about bulb outs for example. Frankly I don't think she is thinking about VZ at all. She is just trying to come up with a dramatic example to justify doing benefit cost analysis where safety is involved, and the image of people driving at 25MPH on an interstate works for that.

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