From guest writer Joe Cadillic of the MassPrivatel Blog
All across the country, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is hard at work convincing cities to lower their speed limits to 25 MPH.
The national effort to lower speed limits in cities is a fundamental tenet of a movement known as “Vision Zero.”
Last month the IIHS published a controversial report titled “Lowering the speed limit from 30 to 25 mph in Boston: effects on vehicle speeds.” (To learn more about Boston’s Vision Zero program, click here.)
Why is it controversial? NMA President Gary Biller said recently:
“By lowering the posted limit from 30 to 25 mph which resulted in no discernible change to actual traffic speeds or safety statistics, the City of Boston succeeded only in making many more safe drivers “violators” to be fined as involuntary contributors to the city’s coffers.”
TheNewspaper.com pointed out how the IIHS cherry-picked data to convince the public that lowering the speed limit 5 MPH saves lives.
“IIHS researchers produced the figures after gathering off-peak speed data from October through December 2016 to serve as “before” data. This was compared with data from September through November 2017, the “after” period. In Boston, the mean speed of traffic when the speed limit signs read 30 MPH was 24.8 MPH. After Boston installed 25 MPH signs, mean speeds remained 24.8 MPH. Likewise, the 85th percentile speed (the speed that the vast majority, 85 percent were traveling), remained 31 MPH. Mean speeds increased by just 0.1 MPH in the “after” period in Providence, Rhode Island, that IIHS used as a control group because the speed limits did not change in that city.”
In the report the IIHS admits that the “average and 85th percentile speeds did not change meaningfully.”
If lowering the speed limit 5 MPH doesn’t change the 85th percentile meaningfully then why do it?
As NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker said “Only the IIHS could take those facts and claim that anything meaningful happened relative to safety or anything else.”
Why is the mainstream media silent, as cities find new ways to scam the public? Because cities and towns are cash-strapped and need to come up with novel ways to increase revenue.
Vision Zero increases ticket revenue by 47%
Cities like Boston who have lowered their speed limit 5 MPH have seen a huge increase in speeding ticket revenue.
According to TheNewspaper.com article, Boston Police have issued 47% more speeding tickets since lowering the speed limit.
“Because the speed limit was lowered, however, “speeding” increased to 47 percent of traffic, compared to just 18 percent before the change in speed limit.”
Three reasons not to trust the IIHS.
1.) Insurance executives from across the gamut control the IIHS Board of Directors. For example, the current chair, William Windsor, Jr. is Associate VP, office of Consumer Safety for Nationwide Insurance. The chair-elect is Angela Spark, VP for State Farm Insurance Companies. Insurance companies absolutely have a vested interest in the IIHS both financially and any messaging on speed limits and Vision Zero.
2.) The IIHS staff regularly write and promote pro-insurance company reports and IIHS officials testify before Congress to further the nonprofit’s goals of reducing speed to increase tickets and points on licenses.
3.) In 2016, the IIHS admitted to secretly using facial recognition cameras to spy on motorists and passengers for three years.
“Why precisely the insurance industry advocates felt the need to capture facial images of drivers and compare that to personal data in DMV records is a mystery,” NMA president Gary Biller told TheNewspaper.com. “Identifying drivers isn’t germane to the horsepower versus speed question.”
Vision Zero appears to be nothing more than a scam to pad city budgets and increase auto insurance companies’ profits by raising customers’ rates for anyone caught speeding.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the author.