Does “Speed” Really “Kill”?

By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist

Yesterday I took one of my motorcycles out and rode it three times faster than the posted speed limit. According to the Clovers of this earth (read more about them here) I shouldn’t be sitting here at my keyboard typing this. I should be dead — since “speed kills.”

Yet, I did not die — or even scratch the paint. I have done this — “speed” — numerous times over several decades, without once dying. Or causing anyone else to die, either.

Logically — and despite what we’re constantly told — “speed” apparently does not “kill.” At least, it did not kill me.

Well, why not?

The Clovers of this earth will inevitably retort with their usual control freak authoritarian jibber-jabber about the increased risk that attends “speeding.” But, take note. They have conceded the point, much as they will recoil once they realize it.

I “speed” — and live. Therefore, “speed” doesn’t kill.

It might — but that’s an altogether different argument.

Clover is now in the position of the woman in Winston Churchill’s story who has agreed to have sex with a guy who has offered her $1 million dollars to do the deed . . . but takes umbrage at his reduced offer of $10.

They’re haggling over price — not the principle of the thing.

In Clover’s case, it’s “speed” we’re arguing about. It’s clear that it does not always or necessarily “kill.” If it did kill, literally millions of people would get killed today.

Because millions of people will “speed.” As they do every day. As cops do, routinely.

Of course, millions will not die.

The vast majority will get to their destination without incident. I speed every time I drive — or ride. You probably do, too. Almost everyone does — even Clovers. We’re still alive, most of us.

Therefore, “speed” does not “kill.”

At least, not always — or even often.

Much less necessarily.

Which means we can throw Clover’s axiom — “speed kills!” — in the woods.

Clover will fall back on “increased risk.” You might lose control and wreck — and cause harm.

But this is an intangible, something that cannot be definitively quantified. I ride my motorcycle at three times the posted speed limit — and nothing happens. Later that day, a driver doing 5 MPH below the posted speed limit loses control of his vehicle — for any of several possible reasons — crashes and is killed.

Did “speed” kill him?

Or was it because he wasn’t paying attention, then overcorrected after his right wheel dipped off the road?

If it is “speed” that’s the universal, all-explanatory problem, then — logically — the “safest” speed is no speed at all. All movement should cease. Or at least — for safety’s sake — a national maximum speed limit of 25 MPH ought to be imposed. Especially on highways. That would “save lives” — cue the familiar Onager refrain from the Clover chorus.

But, a 25 MPH maximum would be inconvenient.

So, we’re allowed to travel at a “speed” deemed to be “safe” . . . by the Clovers — the bureaucrats who impose these arbitrary velocity maximums, the people who support these arbitrary maximums and, of course, the cops and courts that enforce them.

They are comfortable with 65 or 70 on the highway — and 35 or 40 in town. So those “speeds” are decreed “safe” — and anointed as lawful. On the other hand, they feel 25 MPH on the highway is too slow — even though (using their logic against them) 25 is surely “safer” than 65 or 70.

Remember: “Speed kills.” The slower, the safer. So let’s all go really slow.


But because they’d like to get where they’re going, too — just like us “speeders” — they scoff at the prospect of a 25 MPH national maximum speed limit. They don’t want their commute to work to take an hour rather than half an hour — no matter “the children” or “safety.”

If a 25 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit were imposed, they’d ignore it — and “speed” — just like us. And they’d resent it — just like us — when they got waylaid for this “offense” by an armed costumed, lectured about “safety” by a judge, fleeced of a couple hundred bucks in fines, then hit with a “surcharge” by their insurance company on the basis of their “unsafe” driving record.

But they’re not comfortable with 75 or 80.

That’s “too fast” . . . slow down! What’s your hurry?

Because they’re not comfortable driving 75 or 80 — because they feel it’s “too fast” — you aren’t permitted to drive that fast.

It does not matter that you’re comfortable driving at higher-than-Clover speeds. Nor that you haven’t lost control of your vehicle — or in any tangible, objective way given reason to worry that you might. You may be able to point to decades of “safe” driving; you’ve never lost control of your vehicle, never harmed anyone . . . even though you were “speeding” pretty much the entire time.

It does not matter. It carries no weight.

Clover feels that driving 75 or 80 — or whatever the arbitrary number happens to be — is “too fast.” Therefore, it is too fast — under the law.

It becomes “speeding.”

Which, technically, it is.

Anytime one drives in excess of a posted maximum, one is by definition “speeding.”

Whether it’s unsafe to “speed” — that’s another question.

And the answer to that question is one that the Clovers of this earth are not interested in hearing.


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Leave a Comment

7 Responses to “Does “Speed” Really “Kill”?”

  1. Josh Hotto says:

    I wish more people would read this article. Speeding does not kill. Motorist and the public need to be more educated in that speeding does not kill. I will share this on facebook.

    Thanks for publishing such a great article.

  2. John says:

    Our nation could learn a few things from Europe regarding speed limits and limited access highway driving. Many divided highway roads outside of cities in Europe are posted at 130 or 140 kilometers per hour which translates into 80 to 87 mph, and many portions of the German autobahns have no speed limits at all. Yet, both US limited access highways and Europe's have comparable safety statistics which strongly suggests that our dramatically lower speed limits do not contribute to highway safety at all.

  3. Clair Oppriecht says:

    I agree. You neglected to mention that speed never killed anyone; it's the sudden stop that gets you. I built my first car in High School and have had "fast" cars ever since. I too speed whenever I deem it safe to do so and I feel like it. I've never caused an accident in my life (now 50 years of driving). My current BMW 850 CSi is built to go 189 and there are several Youtube videos of CSis doing just that on the Autobahn. Driver skill and a mechanically sound vehicle are what make any "speed" safe; not a law that you or I didn't get a vote on. I've never been ticketed for really speeding, for I know where and when to do it; mainly a deserted stretch of back road with no witnesses, especially cops. When in traffic I know I must play the game along with everyone else.

  4. seenmuch says:

    Unfortunately in Florida the speed kills lobby liers, insurance companies have won the day protecting their revenue stream with them saying it over & over.

    The gov came out a few minutes ago saying that he will veto the limit increase bill when it reaches his desk, angery! angery! angery!

    If you live in Florida call the governors office telling him to sign the bill!!!

  5. James says:

    Let’s pretend you are talking about smoking… so you could say the following: I am 90 years old, I have smoked 5 packs of cigarettes every day for the past 70 years, and I am strong as an ox, have a perfectly clean bill of health and can run 100 metres in 15 seconds. Therefore smoking does not kill. furthermore you might try to justify saying that “smoking kills” is inaccurate and incorrect.

    Of course, we both know that the evidence in the smoking example is anecdotal (as is yours), and we also both know that smoking kills.
    Plain and simple: Speed kills.

    Oh, and with regard to the “speed never kills anyone, it’s the sudden stop that gets you” that speedsters love to use, let’s do like this: I’ll get in my car, and drive at 5 kilometers per hour into a brick wall, if you get into yours and drive at 200 kilometers per hour into a brick wall. The reason the “sudden stop” didn’t “get me” was that I was driving slowly – ie not speeding.

  6. Kevin Shea says:

    People who argue against the “speed kills” slogan always seem to think the slogan is “speed causes accidents” The risk isn’t that we’re more likely to have an accident at higher speed. The risk is that at higher speed if something goes wrong it’s more likely to be fatal.

  7. Shane C Turner says:

    True, it is likely that wrecking at a higher speed could be more devastating or deadly. However even crashing at certain speeds can vary the severity of a car accident. Montana for instance, had a daytime speed sign that said reasonable and prudent from December of 1995 till late May of 1999. I think the 85th-95th percentile speeds ranged from 85 to 110 mph. There were fewer fatalities on these roads during this time period and when a posted 75 speed limit was set traffic fatalities doubled. So to say a lower or faster speed kills is hard to say for sure. There have been some interstates that are large and flat I wanted to drive around 100 mph on. To say whether 70 or 100 mph is safer is gonna vary from person to person.