As is to be expected - a lot of different opinions and recommendations! Unfortunately most of the respondents base their comments on raw emotion and very little fact or logic. Many respondents are more concerned with playing with words and arguing about the meaning of words rather than addressing the questions and basics of the topic, still more hate the "crimp" placed on their "freedom" to speed in shared public space so they will always be anti speed limit and anti enforcement - nothing wrong with any of this as it makes the dabate more interresting. Herewith my penny's worth:
The argument about speed seems to revolve mainly around four aspects: (1) speed as a cause of road traffic collisions: (2) "speed kills", (3) speed limits, and (4) enforcement of speed limits.
(1) Speed as a cause of crashes: The first problem here is that people seems to have a widely different interpretation of the word "speed" when it is used in the context of road traffic crases. Let us define it a little so everyone attach the same meaning to it.
"a collision (road traffic crash) is the forceful impact (contact) between two or more objects of which at least one is MOVING in relation to the other". The essential element here is "MOVEMENT" (motion) as there can be no collision if there is no movement - except of course if your belief in motionless crashes!). Movement require time, distance, direction and rate of movement in relation between two or more bodies to exist. "Speed" in the context of road traffic crashes means the "the rate of movement between two or more objects when they make contact". The test for determining whether a factor (speed) is the CAUSE of a result (collision) is to take away the factor and see if the result still follow. Clearly the collision (result) wont occur if speed (movement) is not present - so speed must be the first requirement (cause) for a collision to occur.
Touching without impact is not considered a road traffic crash (collision) in the context of traffic safety. "Impact" in the context of road traffic crashes means "force with the potential to cause damage, injury or death". Impact can only be present in a crash if a measure of speed is involved at the time of the crash (just as there can be no crash without motion, there can be no impact without motion - unless you belief in motionless impacts of course!). The test to determine if speed (movement) is indeed the cause of impact is to take away the element speed and see if the impact still follow. Speed cause impact.
Please note: I don't say that speed is the ONLY cause of road traffic collisions (it requires two or more factors to cause a collision) - I only say that speed (movement) is ONE of the factors causing collisions AND the one factor without which no road traffic crash can occur. (remember: no movement/speed no contact/impact).
(2) "Speed kills": Nobody will dispute that it requires some measure of impact (force) to bring about any damage, injury or death in a road crash (unless of course if you belief that impact don't cause damage, injury or death!). Impact is the product of (caused by) movement/speed. The test to determine whether impact is being caused by speed is to take away the speed and see if the impact still follow (remember the cause/effect principle). If speed is not the originator and therefore the cause of your death in a road crash please tell me what it is that cause your death.
Speed kills - unless you belief that motionlessness kills of course)
(3) Speed limits: It seems that a lot of respondents only hates the enforcement of speed limits more than they hate the speed limits itself!
Drivers can obviously NOT be allowed to go faster,
In the first place, than they are able to perceive a potential situation, recognise it as a threat, properly decide what would be the best way of reacting to it, react to it and allow enough time for the remedy, like stopping or swerwing in time, to take effect - in the road traffic contexts this is called the typical reaction time of a driver. In order to determine the safest speed limit the EFFECTIVE average reaction time of the majority of road users must be used (effective reaction time = average human reaction time + a reasonable extra margin of time for safety reasons). The probable distance at which the average driver will usually first see a potential threat is also important in calculating the safest speed limit for the area as this will determine the time available to effective react before the driver reach the spot where the threat's at. The probable distances to threat keeps getting shorter as traffic congestion is increasing leaving less and less effective reaction time for drivers - so speed limits should be lowered instead of increased for safety sake.
In the second place, drivers cannot be allowed to go faster than other road users expect them to go. Virtually ALL driving decisions are based on what one expect other road users to do and one's previous experience of what other road users usually do. Example: When a driver wants to cross a road he looks out for approaching vehicles. If the approaching vehicle is, based on his previous experiences (like people is usually driving within the speed limits) far enough away he will start to cross. Imaginge what will happen if the approaching vehicle is moving at 130 miles per hour instead of the 30 miles per hour it is expected to do in this case.
One respodent stated that since cars are so much better than the old cars when speed limits were set, he should be allowed to drive faster. He miss the point - his car may have got better but HE did not as the average reaction times of the human species has not changed that much since then. Collisions are caused much more by human reaction than vehicle specs.
Speed limits can never be higher than the required effective reaction time of the average human, or so fast that the point of threat is reached in a period shorter than the average reaction time, or higher than what other road users expect people to go on specific sections of the road, or which is unsuitable for the local traffic density or road conditions. Unfortumately we can never allow public roads with no speed limits as too many Americans are completely irresponsible and incompetent for that - and please don't refer to the Autobahn as The average American is nowhere like the average german so its useless to do so. Speed limits must be set according to the competense of the average (lower) road user and not to that of the gewiz driver with his supercar in order to cater for everyone's overall safety. So speed limits must be there - and of the conservative rather than liberal kind. If you must speed go to a racing track but stay of the shared public spaces for that.
(4) Enforcement of speed limits: Actually nothing to say about this - either you are a sober, adult responsible law abiding citizen who obeys the laws of the majority and respect public safety and shared public space rules (even the ones you dont like or agree with) or you are a criminal (law breaker). Much more people agree with speed limits and enforcement of speed limits than the few who moans about it so deal with your dislike for it.
Moaning about the fact that government/police/insurance is "making money" out of speed limits and the enforcement of speed limits make only sense to those (the speedsters)who have to pay that money - law abiding citizens dont moan as they dont have to pay that money.
I belief that "crime must pay". It cost a tremendous amount of money to provide for the safekeeping (law enforcement) of our public roads and somebody must pay for it. I much more prefer that the criminal rather than the innocent law abiding tax paying citizen bear that cost. In fact I would like that the criminal pay very much more (by way of fines how else?) than they do now so that they can also cover all of the costs for the pain and suffering, deaths, damages, medical treatment, loss and stress they cause by their bad behavior. Dont regard or hold up speedsters as poor innocent victims - they are not, they dont give a rats ass for the safety rules of society or the safety of you and me or our loved ones. All the bad things happening to them are of their own doing (and most bad things happening to us on the roads are also of their doing!).