Many different laws and regulations are intended to protect American citizens’ lives, health, and property. Among them, it is worth mentioning speed limits, which constitute a rather debatable topic for many. Although they are applied worldwide, a substantial number of drivers view them not as a safety tool but as a way to collect fines. A recent survey in Great Britain indicated that about forty percent of drivers believed cameras were installed only to make money (Road Safety GB, 2020). Therefore, it is necessary to understand the true significance of speed limits in the overall traffic regulation.
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The application of speed limits provides several critical benefits for the community. First, they ensure road safety by decreasing both the number of accidents and their fatality rate. As the laws of physics dictate, a higher speed results in an exponential rise in the collision energy and, therefore, in the severity of possible injuries. Research indicates that even a five-mile-per-hour increase of the state-wide maximum speed leads to an eight-percent growth in fatality rates on freeways (Farmer, 2016). Second, such limitations also play an essential role in conserving natural resources as they imply engine operation in its most efficient power range. This was even admitted by the Congress, which in 1974 set the National Maximum Speed Limit for the purpose of countering the depletion of oil supplies (Farmer, 2016). Finally, speed limits reduce the loads applied to various car parts, therefore increasing their durability. Combined, these aspects indicate the comprehensive advantages of defining and enforcing strict speed limits.
As the discussion above shows, speed limits provide a number of benefits both for individual drivers and for society in general. They reduce the fatality rate constituting a powerful tool in ensuring road safety. Besides, they mitigate the environmental impact of vehicles, which is very important with the continually growing number of cars. All this outweighs the slightly increased journey times due to the need to follow the set rules. Therefore, speed limits form a valuable part of the overall road traffic regulation.
Farmer, C. M. (2016). Relationship of traffic fatality rates to maximum state speed limits. Traffic Injury Prevention, 18(4), 375–380. Web.
Road Safety GB. (2020). Survey reveals attitudes towards road safety. Web.