Do you think cars should be electronically limited to a set top speed? Do you think it would save lives on our highways? Or, perhaps you think our speed limits should be lowered on highways?
At least one person would agree with you. Kent A. Sepkowitz, vice chairman of medicine at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center believes that since most cars are capable of doing over 100 mph, they should be electronically stopped at 75 mph.
We can tell Mr. Sepkowitz is not a car guy. So, we’d like to inform him so he can rethink his plan. The first thing that comes to mind is that the National Highway Traffic Administration’s last study from 2003 shows the flaw in his thinking. In the study, the NHTSA found that 50% of the speed related traffic fatalities occured on roads with a posted speed limit of 50 mph. Another 25% occured on roads with posted speed limit of 35 mph or less.
It’s estimated that up to 70% of the drivers on roads with a posted speed limit of 50 mph or less exceed the speed limit. When the posted speed limit is 75 mph, the number drops to single digits. Add to this the fact that most airbags go off at around 40 mph, and most government crash tests are done at 35 mph or less.
Now does it seem like speed is a problem; or the inept, careless, cell-phone using, drunken, or drugged drivers?
Even if the Big 3 automakers get a bailout, we expect some changes. One that surprised us is that the Camaro convertible has been put on hold, and the fact that there will be no Challenger convertible. Another is that once again people in the know are hearing the death rattle of the V-8 again.
This is due in part to AB1493. That’s a California bill that’s gaining acceptance in 13 other states. It would further reduce CO2 emissions and make the CAFE 43 mpg in 2016. It would look to reach 50 mpg in 2020. This bill could affect up to 30% of the car buying market, and the bill would need a waiver from the EPA. If this happens, full-size cars and pickup trucks wouldn’t make the cut.
I’m going to do my best to help. I’m looking at a new ride with these facts in mind. One I’m leaning towards is huge, has a loud V-8, has a 140 mph speedometer, and should pass anything but a gas station. It’s the least I can do.
Comments on this, or any other subject are always welcome