This Week in Traffic: 16 February 2007

Traffic Calming

Businesses often have objections to traffic calming devices, warranted or not. I have never gone looking for before/after studies dealing with business numbers.

Officer Goes Below and Beyond

A California police officer ejaculates on a driver. “I’m not wearing any pants. Film at eleven.”

Personal Rapid Transit Smackdown

Ken Avidor has bad things to say about Personal Rapid Transit.

More from Santa Cruz

As mentioned in an earlier posting, Santa Cruz, CA has a contentious population. Apparently, however, an advisory panel consisting of 77(!) people is beginning to pall on even those citizens

Stuck in the Snow

Just yesterday, I was telling a friend that it had been 1998 when last I experienced real snowfall. At least, I haven’t had to deal with being stuck on a highway for 24 hours.

Teen Driving Restrictions Save Lives

AAA has released a study indicating that restrictions on teen driving lead to fewer fatal crashes.

States with the nation’s toughest teen driving laws have more than a third fewer crashes causing death or injury involving 16-year-old drivers, according to the study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

I’m in favor; my 15 year old sister is not. I can vote; she can’t

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3 Responses to This Week in Traffic: 16 February 2007

  1. zerj says:

    Those teen driving studies always irked me. The obviousness of it is just boggling. Perhaps its just the dumbed down summary that makes the news but a quote like you mentioned is meaningless. Its along the line of “Taking chainsaws away from men in hockey masks resulted in fewer serial killings involving men in hockey masks using chainsaws”.

    By that same logic we should raise the driving age to 25 or just ban it altogether. If you increase the driving age from 16 to 17 I would predict a spike in traffic accidents involving 17 year olds. The real proof of the study is to see the relative size of the two spikes. If they are the same the law did nothing useful except perhaps re-elect a politician.

    That being said I have no problem with teen driving laws. Personally I would like to see the driving age be legal drinking age + 2. You are much more unlikely to kill me by drinking yourself to death while an auto is a WMD.

  2. Bill says:

    The reason they study teen driving to death is similar to why anthropogenic global warming is studied to death. Not everyone will get on board without definitive fact (not that they do, anyway), and these studies have all shown decreases in fatal and serious collisions from pre-legislative levels, demonstrating the direct effectiveness of the rules.

    It remains that 40,000 people die every year in America due to crashes and the teen portion of that is a very low hanging fruit to pick.

  3. zerj says:

    I have no problem with the studies my problem is probably with the way they are reported. Certainly if you ban anyone under the age of 20 from driving teen driving deaths would equal 0, but if you don’t show that the overall number of driving deaths are lowered more than 40K you haven’t shown that this is useful. For that matter the study really needs to show that the # of driving deaths per 100K drivers has been lowered. By taking licences away from 16 year olds you have lowered the total number of drivers on the road so there has to be fewer driving deaths. Also perhaps there is less overcrowding on the roads as you remove drivers so that may decrease driving deaths.

    It just seems a lot more complicated than any results I have seen published. Which normally state the nonsensical conclusion “Raising the driving age to 17 results in fewer deaths by 16 year old drivers”. Does the relationship between driving deaths correlate better to age or to driving experience? Certainly at a young age it would be the former but at an older age it would be the latter. For that matter how does alcohol come into play? If a significant number of those deaths are alcohol related should those really count as driving related deaths or alcohol related deaths? I think a strong case could be made for the latter. If they are alcohol related deaths then you are fixing a symptom not the disease.

    I have never seen any raw data, so suspect these laws aren’t a bad idea but I’m annoyed that the studies’ conclusions never seem to state anything useful.

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