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General Road and Highway Discussion
(05-08-2019, 06:19 AM)SammyOES Wrote: Accidents and traffic deaths are investigated.  All the time. And studies are done (you linked one!).  And improvements to cars and roads and regulations are constantly made.  But it’s entirely obvious that the model for bridge investigations or plane crashes is prohibitively expensive for individual car accidents.

It’s the same thing with healthcare.  We don’t investigate every death or mistake made in healthcare.  That would be an insane waste of resources with very fast diminishing returns.

Tainted water isn’t always prevented or investigated either.  It’s not just about limits of contaminants but about things like how often water systems need to be inspected.  Rules around private wells.  When boil water advisories are needed. Etc.

Aircraft accidents are still the same.  It’s much easier to investigate individual commercial plane crashes because there are way fewer of them than car crashes and the cost per crash is significantly higher. But the recommendations that come out are just more trade offs.  Never does anyone think their report is the one that will stop people from dying ever again.

And you still seem to think that there’s way more certainty in these things than there actually is.  If you really believe that a bridge collapse results in that type of failure never happening again, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Traffic collisions (as they are collisions not accidents) are NOT investigated in this way.  The police investigate with only one purpose, to assign fault under the law for the purposes of adjusting insurance claims.  There is no investigation what factors led to a collision or how it may be prevented in the future.  There is ONLY what the law says about insurance fault and nothing more.  Don't for a second believe the police or anyone is concerned with anything more than that.

Now there are other agencies that occasionally investigate collisions in aggregate, safety agencies in the US have investigated unsafe cars, but they concern themselves exclusively with the car, and no other aspect of our roads.  Our region investigates collisions but only when those collisions (and resulting injuries) are in excess of the "expected" number of deaths for that intersection.

Suggesting that investigating every crash as we do for an airplane (not what I suggested) is prohibitively expensive is kind of proving my point. There used to be many more plane crashes too, are you saying that we should have given up then as too expensive and not tried to make flying safer?

You claim there are trade offs, no, there aren't, yes, when we investigate a crash, the investigators and engineers must decide what they feel will make it safe to fly and that answer isn't "never fly a plane again"...that doesn't mean it isn't a trade off.  This absolutist view that the only way to be safe is to never fly isn't true. Sure, it's the only way to be sure you will not crash in an unforeseeable crash, but it doesn't mean that's the only way to avoid foreseeable and seen crashes.

No investigator or engineer will fly a plane that they think "ahh, we know it will crash an average of once a year"...that. never. happens.  Except in traffic engineering--that is literally the actual excepted standards--x people will die in crashes per year....it's fine...we designed ti that way.  Would you get in a plane that is designed to crash x times per year.
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(05-08-2019, 07:16 AM)SammyOES Wrote: We’re talking about changes the Provincial Government is making.  They can change the HTA.

My change above is explicitly NOT introducing any new forms of enforcement.

Lemme be clear then, the speed limit is not enforced in a meaningful way today.

They have very occasional blitzes usually on long weekends in the summer, but 99 days out of 100 you can go 40 over the limit with no consequences whatsoever.
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I would take 120kph speed limits on expressways if it meant strict photo radar enforcement of speed limits on *all* streets and roadways at their current levels. In lieu of that, I don't really see the benefit in bumping up the speed limit. Most people would likely continue at a similar speeds to today due to congestion on roads, slower trucks etc., but the really aggressive drivers would bump up there speed. More variation in speed is a recipe for more collisions.
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I agree that unsafe passing may be a bigger issue than a higher speed limit. At highway speeds (be it 80, 100 or 120) if you're in the passing lane and another driver overtakes you on the right, there is a high probability you were in the wrong lane to begin with. A lot of drivers forget that it's not just the traffic in front of you to be aware of, but traffic all around (including behind you) as well. If you're not actively passing somebody while in the passing lane, move it on over please & thanks.
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(05-08-2019, 09:08 AM)jamincan Wrote: I would take 120kph speed limits on expressways if it meant strict photo radar enforcement of speed limits on *all* streets and roadways at their current levels. In lieu of that, I don't really see the benefit in bumping up the speed limit. Most people would likely continue at a similar speeds to today due to congestion on roads, slower trucks etc., but the really aggressive drivers would bump up there speed. More variation in speed is a recipe for more collisions.

I actually think it’s very likely that variation in speed would decrease moving from 100 to 120 and no other changes.
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(05-08-2019, 07:34 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: Lemme be clear then, the speed limit is not enforced in a meaningful way today.

They have very occasional blitzes usually on long weekends in the summer, but 99 days out of 100 you can go 40 over the limit with no consequences whatsoever.

Agreed. But if doing 150 in a 120 resulted in losing your car the vast majority of people would avoid doing it even though they’re comfortable doing 30 over in other conditions.

The introduction and enforcement of 50 over and you lose your car seems to have been pretty effective.
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People still go 30 over all the time. I'd guess roughly 80% of traffic is going 120 or less and 50% is going 110 or less (the trucks). The status quo is hardly satisfactory.
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(05-08-2019, 10:29 AM)jamincan Wrote: People still go 30 over all the time. I'd guess roughly 80% of traffic is going 120 or less and 50% is going 110 or less (the trucks). The status quo is hardly satisfactory.

I’m not sure what you mean by the 30 over comment. I agree.

It depends on the section and time of day but I definitely don’t think 50% of traffic is going 110 or less. Trucks still make up a relatively small percent of traffic. If I’m doing 110 I’m getting passed way more often then I’m passing other people (which definitely isn’t definitive evidence).
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(05-08-2019, 10:21 AM)SammyOES Wrote: [quote pid='68782' dateline='1557320895']
I actually think it’s very likely that variation in speed would decrease moving from 100 to 120 and no other changes.

[/quote]

You mean that you think the majority of drivers are traveling the speeds they’re traveling with no regard to where the limit is set? And would drive 120 or 130 km/h whether the limit were 100 or 120?I’m not sure if I agree with that or not.
 
I really wonder why most people are driving the speeds they are on the 400-series. I’ve asked a few when the topic as come up, and the answer is usually a variation of “everyone drives about that; it’s safest when everyone goes the same speed.” Which is true, but then who is deciding that “everyone” should drive 120? Someone must be choosing to drive these excessive (in relation to limits) speeds, and setting that speed as the one for everyone else to follow.
 
I agree with your other points about enforcement and changes to the definition of stunt driving so we don’t suddenly experience motorists driving 169km/h at risk of only a modest fine. Most commenters here seem to be in favour of robust enforcement, as unlikely as it will be to happen. The most interesting part to me is whether you’re right about the actual speed of travel changing or not. I think it will, but I’m not sure by how much. The pilot the province is proposing will be interesting to see.
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(05-08-2019, 10:38 AM)SammyOES Wrote:
(05-08-2019, 10:29 AM)jamincan Wrote: People still go 30 over all the time. I'd guess roughly 80% of traffic is going 120 or less and 50% is going 110 or less (the trucks). The status quo is hardly satisfactory.

I’m not sure what you mean by the 30 over comment. I agree.

It depends on the section and time of day but I definitely don’t think 50% of traffic is going 110 or less.  Trucks still make up a relatively small percent of traffic.  If I’m doing 110 I’m getting passed way more often then I’m passing other people (which definitely isn’t definitive evidence).

I guess maybe not 50% in numbers, but certainly in space on the road. The point is that a >20kph speed differential between lanes is the norm on the highway and >30kph is very common. I don't think increasing the limit will change that and will likely make it worse as the traffic that's going 130 now is likely to go 140+ afterward. Trucks, meanwhile, will likely go a bit faster, but the right lane is still going to be stuck at ~100kph regardless.
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(05-08-2019, 11:00 AM)MidTowner Wrote: You mean that you think the majority of drivers are traveling the speeds they’re traveling with no regard to where the limit is set? And would drive 120 or 130 km/h whether the limit were 100 or 120?I’m not sure if I agree with that or not.
 
I really wonder why most people are driving the speeds they are on the 400-series. I’ve asked a few when the topic as come up, and the answer is usually a variation of “everyone drives about that; it’s safest when everyone goes the same speed.” Which is true, but then who is deciding that “everyone” should drive 120? Someone must be choosing to drive these excessive (in relation to limits) speeds, and setting that speed as the one for everyone else to follow.
 
I agree with your other points about enforcement and changes to the definition of stunt driving so we don’t suddenly experience motorists driving 169km/h at risk of only a modest fine. Most commenters here seem to be in favour of robust enforcement, as unlikely as it will be to happen. The most interesting part to me is whether you’re right about the actual speed of travel changing or not. I think it will, but I’m not sure by how much. The pilot the province is proposing will be interesting to see.

Here’s my thinking. If we accept that going less than 135km/h is very unlikely to get a ticket and that the majority of people are doing less than 135km/h for reasons other than the speed limit (like you say).

It’s likely that a part of it is personal comfort and road design. People are comfortable driving different speeds. Lots of people would choose to drive less than 150km/h even if they were told they could on an open road.

Part of it is probably related to that and a certain herding aspect that happens around the speeds that a large enough people choose to drive.

And part of it is probably anchored by the speed limit. If you have a group of cars and trucks at the speed limit than most people will be inclined to pass them at an incremental speed that they’re comfortable with (and not blow by them).

The first two factors won’t be affected by a speed limit increase. The last factor would be. So there are obviously a ton of factors at play here and it’s not clear how they all interact with each other and the set speed limit.
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(05-08-2019, 10:48 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: since you've decided you're right, and that if you cannot eliminate all risk, then we have nothing to learn and there's no point in prioritizing reducing harm at all...

Lol, this was never even close to the argument I was making. And of course you were the one arguing the absolute.

(05-08-2019, 10:48 AM)danbrotherston Wrote: Lemme know though, which of your family members you think are worth sacrificing to get somewhere slightly faster?

I can’t roll my eyes enough at this. This is why probability and things like expected value need to be taught more in schools.

Let me put it this way, I happily drive my family on the 401 instead of taking slower backroads because even though the backroads would be safer I value the convenience more than the extra safety the backroads would give me.

Sometimes though, I might forgo driving in the 401 or other expressways in favour of safer but slower alternatives. Like if it’s freezing rain or blowing heavy snow at night I’d prefer risking slower accidents on city streets than taking the expressway.
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(05-08-2019, 09:25 AM)embe Wrote: I agree that unsafe passing may be a bigger issue than a higher speed limit.  At highway speeds (be it 80, 100 or 120) if you're in the passing lane and another driver overtakes you on the right, there is a high probability you were in the wrong lane to begin with.  A lot of drivers forget that it's not just the traffic in front of you to be aware of, but traffic all around (including behind you) as well.  If you're not actively passing somebody while in the passing lane, move it on over please & thanks.

100% agreed, well said.
...K
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(05-08-2019, 10:38 AM)SammyOES Wrote: It depends on the section and time of day but I definitely don’t think 50% of traffic is going 110 or less.  Trucks still make up a relatively small percent of traffic.  If I’m doing 110 I’m getting passed way more often then I’m passing other people (which definitely isn’t definitive evidence).

Definitely not. I usually set my cruise at 115, and I would guess that I am easily in the slowest third of traffic, unless there is congestion. Most trucks are driving about 110 km/h, but few cars are at that speed or slower.
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