Non-regulatory warning signs

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Lyle
Participant
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an essay by Traffic author Tom Vanderbilt about “Slow: Children” signs, for your consideration.

http://www.slate.com/id/2293460/pagenum/2


salty
Participant
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excellent article, per usual


dwillen
Participant
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Maybe you made the callous jokes about “slow children” playing.

Busted.


Mick
Participant
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I ahve to do a numbers geek thing here. Sorry. I can’t help- myself.

The article says:

Research by the Transport Research Laboratory has found, among other things, a 60 percent crash reduction during the “after” period in 20 mph zones.

This seems impausible to me. Am I the only one?

Aside from anything else, If they reduce the speed limit from 35 to 20, the average speed might change from 44 to 42.

Or not.

Maybe they are talking about installing speed bumps? I dunno.


edmonds59
Participant
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Yeah Mick, I got a bit mentally held up on that point as well. Intuitively I would think there would be a temporary increase in crashes from the 10% of drivers who would observe the speed reduction intersecting with the 90% who would blow right through it.

edit: unless of course there would be draconian law enforcement at the time of the speed reduction, which in turn would completely foul any validity to the statistical result attributing the reduction in crashes to the reduction in speed.


Lyle
Participant
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It’s a fair question. I could believe it, but please, go research the research and let us know.


sloaps
Participant
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How well was the zone enforced prior to the new 20 MPH zone?

Signs like “slow children at play”, “hidden driveway”, “dangerous intersection”, etc. are all installed because of a phone call from a concerned citizen to a weak bureaucrat or politician. The sign gets installed, but nothing changes other than the concerned citizen not complaining everyday for a week or two.


gimpPAC
Participant
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<slightly OT philosophical ramble>

I know there are many physical road infrastructure things we can do to calm traffic, signage we can post and such, and more importantly, enforcement of these measures, but it occurs to me that this is almost an indirect approach to the problem…subtly affecting a driver’s mind to Slow the Eff Down. So really it’s all a psychological effect.

I guess the “Kids at Play” signage is trying to put a face behind the consequences of speeding. Dude, you could hurt or kill someone’s child.

But why don’t we automatically think of this every time? I know it fails to affect me too, when I get into the driver’s seat…until I get into a close shave that is.

Is it because we feel so cut off in the frame of our vehicle that we forget the rest of the world exists outside of those walls? Have we grown too comfortable with our car as a tool in the same way when construction workers grow too comfortable with their power tools and then overlook a simple safety measure?

I remember when I first started driving. I was terrified. The power and size of the car was something I had ridden in passively, but never before had the responsibility of controlling. I could sense the idea that I could kill someone with this tool.

I don’t mean that people should freak out every time they get in a car, but how do we always keep in our minds that this is a dangerous tool we must operate with care? That’s why we have rules, and signs, and signals, and (hopefully) enforcement. But how I wish I could keep a little bit of that initial feeling of trepidation when I first started to drive.

Maybe a consistent speed limit zone is better implemented than the scattered “watch out there’s a human/animal/tractor who can be harmed here” signage, but it kills me that we are more worried about being caught doing something wrong or being fined than thinking ahead about the actual consequences of our brainless driving.

SIGH. Human nature.

</slightly OT philosophical ramble>


Lyle
Participant
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it kills me that we are more worried about being caught doing something wrong or being fined than thinking ahead about the actual consequences of our brainless driving.

I totally agree. There needs to be more consequences.


edmonds59
Participant
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“…but how do we always keep in our minds that this is a dangerous tool we must operate with care?”

If the nightly news doesn’t do it for people, I have no idea what will.


salty
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Steering wheel mounted spikes.


dwillen
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If the nightly news doesn’t do it for people, I have no idea what will.

Living in tivo land, I hardly ever watch the evening news. On the rare occasion I do, I can’t help notice that half the program is dedicated to covering the multitude of cars driving into buildings, each other, and over people. If I had just moved to civilization, I would assume it is the most important and largest problem/issue facing humanity, yet most people don’t give it a second thought. Must be all the car commercials interleaved in the insouciant reports of carnage.


Steven
Participant
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Maybe in England, when they post a lower speed limit, drivers actually slow down?

Over here, I wonder if there are studies on which consequences are effective. Does the possibility of a longer jail sentence change people’s behavior significantly? It wouldn’t surprise me if it doesn’t help that much. If “I shouldn’t speed here because I might kill someone’s child” isn’t effective, “I shouldn’t speed here because I might go to jail if caught” isn’t necessarily going to be better. Narrow lanes threaten speeders with a scratched-up paint job; maybe that works better.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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If I had just moved to civilization, I would assume it is the most important and largest problem/issue facing humanity, yet most people don’t give it a second thought.

if the news is anything like commercials for it, i would assume the greatest threat to humanity is the multitude of every day things in your house that are secretly deadly.


Lyle
Participant
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I would have guessed it was yellow teeth.

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