Truths and lies about speed

Medieval "chums" have found their way into the future in digitalisation. Thus, the internet and social networks collect all kinds of opinions and information, but also hoaxes, "fake news" and half-truths. And road safety is not an exception. From the magazine of the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), detail that, therefore, with the approval of the reduction of the speed limit on conventional roads to 90 km / h, have reappeared many "false myths" major.

1. Higher speed, higher risk of injury: true mean

Current cars are safer than those of a few years ago. In fact, its ability to absorb energy in the event of impact multiplies by far that of a vehicle ten years ago.

However, in a collision the energy to be dissipated by the structures of the intervening automobiles would be the sum of the kinetic energies of both, which depend on their masses and the square of the velocities. For example, the kinetic energy that a vehicle that circulates at 100 km / h accumulates is 23% higher than that accumulated if it circulates at 90 km / h.

2. Only by speed criteria: false

«The measure of reducing speed only has a fundraising motive». The reduction of the speed limit on conventional roads to 90 km / h responds exclusively to safety criteria and is supported by recommendations of the main entities dedicated to road safety in Europe. For example, the report "Speed ​​and Accident Risk", carried out in 2018 by the OECD and the International Transport Forum (ITF), states textually that "with higher driving speeds, the number of accidents and their severity grows disproportionately" and In addition, the accepted Nilsson model explains that a 1% increase in average speed implies a 2% increase in the frequency of accidents with victims, 3% in serious accidents and 4% in fatal accidents. Likewise, this report confirms that a reduction of the average speed of 5 km / h on interurban roads reduces fatal accidents by 28%.

In fact, the same report recommends a limit of 70 km / h for roads without separation of the senses. In addition, according to data from the Department of Transport of the United Kingdom, with real accidents, while at 48 km / h there is a 3% risk of dying at 80 km / h the irrigation rises to 65% and to 96 km / h, at 92%

3. No official of the DGT intervenes in the recording of the data: false

«The DGT manipulates the figures so that it seems that speed influences more». According to Álvaro Gómez, director of the National Road Safety Observatory, the DGT uses two types of figures to analyze the impact of speed on the accident rate: speed as a concurrent factor in accidents and data from unbiased scientific studies.

The information about the presence of excessive or inadequate speed in accidents is obtained "directly from the statistical parts transmitted by the traffic police".

4. Less necessary overtaking: false

"By reducing the speed limit there will be more traffic density and more danger in overtaking." Traffic intensity depends on the number of vehicles trying to access a road per unit of time. A change in speed would only influence the intensity to the extent that a number of users can base their decision to use that route, or take an alternative, by the speed limit. A reduction as small as 100 km / h to 90 km / h – which only adds 12 minutes of travel in a 200-kilometer route – does not seem to justify such a change.

5. 4 out of 10 accidents, straight and lonely: false

«If I go alone and the road is straight, there is no risk to go faster». According to data from the DGT, in 2017, 39% of the deceased (398) on conventional roads were involved in accidents without any other vehicle or pedestrian. And most of these accidents were due to road exits (367 deaths).

6. Higher speed, greater fatigue: no evidence

Although it is a commonplace that, when driving at a slower speed, the number of distractions increases due to the monotony of the trip, there is no evidence to support this claim. Yes, there is, however, scientific evidence that driving at excessive speeds, as demonstrated by Luis Montoro in 1993, psychophysiological changes that result in the enhancement of fatigue and increase the likelihood of distraction.

7. Individual risk versus collective risk: false perception

We all tend to judge reality by what happens in our environment and that, sometimes, leads to wrong conclusions. In this sense, statistics, which account for all available data, offer a cooler, but more real, vision. For example, as a good driver who has never suffered an accident we can think that there is no risk difference between driving at 100 km / h or 90 km / h. But when we add the hundreds of billions of kilometers that are traveled every year in Spain, and the risks of all the drivers are added, the difference of circulating at one speed or another means dozens of lives … (tagsToTranslate) truths (t) lies (t) over (t) speed

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