Sep 29, 2005

"It would send a message" [LINK]

Another crazy letter in the Globe:

With all the teeth-gnashing and handwringing about gasoline prices, I find it difficult to understand why we haven't yet talked about a solution that is right under our noses: reinstating the 55-m.p.h. speed limit, as was done in the '70s. Not only did it bring gas prices down; it also saved lives. It would be both quick and easy to implement. We are at war, yet where is the sacrifice? I am tired of having people pass me at 75 on the highways with ''Support Our Troops" bumper stickers mocking me as they leave me in their dust. I believe the best thing we can do for ourselves and our troops is to continue to provide a strong economy at home, and driving at 55 would surely help. It would also send a message that we are, indeed, willing to sacrifice a bit.
There are at least three problems here:

  1. This is Boston, for crying out loud. Changing the nominal speed limit has no effect on the actual speed limit. Saying it would be easy to implement is clearly wrong; what's easy to implement is putting up the new signs.

  2. What would happen if people actually obeyed the lower speed limit? The author explicitly identifies this as a sacrifice, but does not specify what that means. It means time wasted on the road when I could be doing better things. How much does that cost the economy? Well, here's a clue: "reinstating the 55-m.p.h. speed limit, as was done in the '70s."

  3. What is the point of sending a message, anyway? Aren't we already sending a message that we are willing to sacrifice our young soldiers, and willing to maintain a massive military presence in the Middle East? Just who are we trying to impress, anyway?

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