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  (Source: Wallpaper Den)
Bye bye autobahn

Europe has been known as the birthplace of some of the world's fastest cars with luxury-minded speed-demons from Italian brands like Volkswagen AG's (ETR:VOW) Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., German brands like Daimler AG's (ETR:DAI) Mercedes-Benz, or the UK's Bentley Motor Group Ltd. (also a Volkswagen property).  Indeed, perhaps no highway system is as famous as Germany's autobahns, where there is no enforced speed limit.

But all of that could soon be changing.

The European Union's Mobility and Transport Department -- a branch of the EU's market regulatory body, the European Commission (EC) -- is preparing an extreme proposal to counter auto fatalities in the region.  UK newspaper Telegraphcites the office of Patrick McLoughlin, the UK's Transport Secretary as warning of the controversial proposal.

EU speeding
The EU is looking to pull the plug on drivers travelling over 70 mph. [Image Source: Porsche]

Reportedly the EC approached Mr. McLoughlin with a pending proposal that sought to use an Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) scheme to prevent any new vehicles sold in the EU from going over 70 miles per hour.  The EC officials argued that the proposal was necessary to curb the over 30,000 drivers who die each year on Europe's streets.

But Mr. McLoughlin blasted the proposal; with a "government source" close his office commenting:

This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people's backs up about Brussels.  The Commission wanted [Mr. McLoughin's] views ahead of plans to publish the proposals this autumn. He made it very clear what those views were.

An EC spokesperson confirmed that talks about new speed regulation are pending, remarking:

There is a currently consultation focusing on speed-limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses.  Taking account of the results, the Commission will publish in the autumn a document by its technical experts which will no doubt refer to ISA among many other things

Aside from the more basic free market and cost issues, another problem with the proposal arguably is the fact the EU member states vary greatly in traffic fatalities.  Out of Britain's thirty eight million motorists, there are only 1,754 fatalities in 2012 -- a 0.0046 percent death rate.  By contrast Germany's forty-five million motorists in 2012 got in 3,657 fatalities -- a 0.0081 percent death rate (almost twice as high).

This controversy may be laid to rest -- or further ignited -- when self-driving (autonomous or semi-autonomous) cars hit the market.  Google, Inc. (GOOG), General Motors Comp. (GM), and Nissan Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7201) are among the companies working to bring self-driving car technology to the market.

Source: Telegraph



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RE: More accidents to come
By CaedenV on 9/3/2013 9:08:15 PM , Rating: 2
conversely, can we somehow enforce a minimum speed limit? I live out in the midwest and we have some old-timers out here who insist on sitting in the right land going 40mph on the highway. Going 40 in a 65 zone is even more dangerous than going 90 in a 65.


RE: More accidents to come
By bodar on 9/3/2013 11:04:23 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, the minimum is usually 45-55 MPH (10 under the limit), if it's enforced.


RE: More accidents to come
By Omega215D on 9/3/2013 11:53:07 PM , Rating: 2
My favorite is the idiot who gets too scared to get up to speed on the on-ramp and forces everyone behind to slow down and a smooth merge cannot be done by anyone.

Then there's the idiots who maintain below limit in all lanes and end up almost side to side with each other creating a barrier preventing motorists from passing.

Also, I wonder how this will play out for those who like to do track days with their cars. I never push my motorcycle beyond 85 mph but on the track it exceeds 140 mph.


RE: More accidents to come
By ritualm on 9/4/2013 4:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
Trucks in Germany can go faster on highways, however their center of gravity is higher relative to smaller cars and SUVs, so an accident involving one of these at 150mph will get ugly in a hurry.
quote:
Then there's the idiots who maintain below limit in all lanes and end up almost side to side with each other creating a barrier preventing motorists from passing.

I like playing this game in city roads. Many of the drivers who routinely drive at highway speeds on local roads are hugely impatient types, and those people are actually making the roads more dangerous for the rest of us. This is before we start including distractions i.e. alcohol, texting, etc.

On highways I generally go at limit on slower lanes, but 10-20% above limit on others (my car can't go faster than 100mph without problems, unfortunately). No higher. I value my safety and getting to the destination in one piece more than potentially ending up in a coffin, thanks.

Imposing an universal speed limit like that is awful, and the only reason that is even being raised is the nanny state mentality - speed cameras on roads to increase government revenues.


RE: More accidents to come
By The Von Matrices on 9/4/2013 12:49:38 AM , Rating: 2
I completely disagree about your equating going slower as somehow being more dangerous as going the same differential faster. Can you explain to me your logic? Slow drivers can cause rear end collisions due to drivers not anticipating how slow the car in front of them is going. But in order to maintain their speed fast drivers have to weave throughout the roadway. I don't see why one is better than the other.

I personally don't support the law just because it's not comprehensive enough. It's really a stopgap solution until automated vehicles come around. The lawmakers should just do nothing now then a few years after automated cars become affordable just ban all manual vehicle control on public roadways. Both problems are solved - the vehicles still can go very fast but they will also be very safe, which is what the lawmakers want.


RE: More accidents to come
By Azethoth on 9/4/2013 5:49:05 AM , Rating: 2
It is rather obvious why going 20 over is less dangerous than going 20 under. When you are going 20 over existing traffic flow it is up to you to deal with the slower traffic. If you run into a dense plug of slow traffic you slow down. Nothing bad happens. If you can weave through you do it. This is as dangerous as changing lanes. Assuming it is not rush hour you can zip through traffic and nobody else has to slow down or take evasive action or anything to react to you.

If you are going 20 below it is a whole other story. Every single other car on the road now has to deal with your stupid ass: slowing down, passing. The chaos around you is a massive danger zone. And you don't even have your brake lights on to warn people that you are driving while retarded. And holy god, imagine your shitty slow car changing lanes. Everyone in your new lane suddenly has to break for the useless obstacle that is your car.

Get a clue and ask a cop. They want to see smooth traffic flow with each inner lane going slightly faster. They will even tolerate 10-15 mph over the limit here as long as everyone is driving calmly.


By The Von Matrices on 9/4/2013 1:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree that everyone going the same speed as the rest of the traffic is the best solution.

I don't know what cops you have been talking to, but where I live (Philadelphia) I have been ticketed not once but on two occasions for going 65 in a 50mph work zone even though both times I was one of the slower cars on the interstate at that point (the average speed was about 70). When I asked the cop "why pick me" when so many other cars were going faster than I, the cop told me "well, everyone was breaking the law and I had had to pick someone to ticket." Interpreting the law directly, I should be going slower to avoid another infraction, but that would be more hazardous. So I have a choice - break the law by driving faster and get ticketed again or drive slower and be a danger on the road. Do you really think the cop is going to say "drive faster and you won't be ticketed?" Laws need to change; as long as there are cops enforcing unrealistically low speed limits I am forced to drive at them and have people like you complain about me.

The other thing I didn't mention and should have is that I have no problem with people going fast; it's the aggressive drivers who go fast and have no clue about vehicle dynamics that bother me, and from my experience that seems to be most of the fast drivers on the road. These aggressive drivers leave no space between cars for emergency situations; when a fast driver weaves right in front of me leaving one car length between us, I have to slow down to increase the space between me and him, and of course that slows down traffic behind me. You can drive as fast as you want; just don't do it dangerously and realize when it might not be prudent.


RE: More accidents to come
By Monkey's Uncle on 9/4/2013 10:48:21 AM , Rating: 2
Driving too slow is every bit or more dangerous than driving too fast - not necessarily for you, but for those around you.

Scenario: You are pooting along at just under the speed limit on a 2 lane highway thinking you are the safest driver on the road. There is lots of traffic on the other opposing side. You don't give a crap that the people behind you are getting impatient and swearing their heads off at you.

The more impatient they get, the more likely they will do something reckless to get to get around your lame ass (and possibly flipping you off as they go by). If there is a small hole in the oncoming traffic, they are dodging around you and may just well force you off the road as they try to avoid that very likely head-on collision - particularly when the nanny state has installed a speed limiter on their car.

Slow drivers piss off the folks behind them - that is a very real fact. Pissed off drivers do stupid and reckless things.


RE: More accidents to come
By Schrag4 on 9/4/2013 12:48:50 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, you had me going right up until you said the law isn't comprehensive enough. So you think since automated vehicles can go fast, people will be happy? I really doubt those that enjoy driving will care how fast they're going if they're basically just riding a roller coaster without any control. I don't fall into this category but I still understand.

Of course the EU is the ultimate nanny state expiriment so the people will go along with it, "for the children" and "for the greater good." Sadly, the US isn't far behind. I suppose this is the natural progression once you eradicate any semblance of personal responsibility or critical thinking.


RE: More accidents to come
By The Von Matrices on 9/4/2013 1:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
Is it really possible to enjoy driving on a crowded freeway or stuck in traffic on city streets? That is where most driving is done, not on winding mountain roads where people enjoy a sports car. The reason people text and drive or do any other number of distracting activities while driving is because they would rather be doing something other than the monotony that is driving. Even when the drive would be interesting, I'd much rather be able to focus my attention looking out the windows at the scenery than have to keep my eyes on the road.


RE: More accidents to come
By Schrag4 on 9/4/2013 5:29:03 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, since you don't enjoy driving then nobody should even have the opportunity? Again, I don't particularly enjoy driving but I don't think we should legislate it away. I do happen to enjoy some other activies which others would love to legislate away so I understand what driving enthusiasts are potentially facing from people like you.

quote:
The reason people text and drive or do any other number of distracting activities while driving is because they would rather be doing something other than the monotony that is driving. Even when the drive would be interesting, I'd much rather be able to focus my attention looking out the windows at the scenery than have to keep my eyes on the road.


Not to be disrespectful, but boo-f'ing-hoo at the whining that you can't be entertained 24/7. The reason people text and drive is because they're irresponsible, plain and simple. They're addicted to instant electronic communication and can't focus on anything else even for an hour at a time. It's a problem for driving, but it impacts all of their waking hours.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPW8xmI4w6U&noredir...


RE: More accidents to come
By The Von Matrices on 9/6/2013 2:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
I hope you can at least agree with me that driving in congested traffic is not enjoyable. The problem is that most of us live in cities and have to deal with traffic on a daily basis, and because of this there is very rarely an enjoyable city drive. Automated vehicles will drastically increase road capacity. So this leads to two choices - either drive manually in traffic and try to enjoy it, or let the car drive for you and get to your destination faster with little or no traffic. [I]There is no third option to drive manually with no traffic[/I]. I don't think there are many people who would choose the traffic over the automated car.

I'm not asking to make manual control of a vehicle illegal; I'm asking to make manual control of a vehicle on [I]public roads[/I] illegal. I still support private tracks and even designated public areas for this (driving parks?), but only in locations where they don't interfere with others' ability to get where they want to go. The reality is that the primary purpose of roads are not for enjoyment; they are for transportation and economic benefit. The laws need to advocate for the benefits of the many over the desires of a few - the benefits of the many in this case being the ability to get to a destination faster and the desires of a few being the desire to drive a car. You could even compare this to other legislation that has passed such as laws banning smoking in public spaces - a practice that puts the health benefits of the many over the wants of the few who desire to smoke. And similarly to this legislation, the desired activity will be still be allowed in other places; in this case it would even be better because anti smoking laws still apply to public spaces on private property (e.g. restaurants) whereas automated car laws wouldn't apply to private property.

Whether you like it or not, automated cars are the future. This is how it will work: The increased safety of automated vehicles will change the prices of automotive insurance policies. Manually controlling a car will become an expensive insurance option (just like a sports car is today), and because of that most people will opt for the cheaper to insure automated car. This savings will be drastic enough that existing manually controlled automobiles will be either retired sooner to replace with automated cars or retrofitted. Governments will realize that they can achieve the same effect of increasing road capacity through legislation banning manual driving rather than spending inordinate amounts of money to widen roads. After enough of the fleet has converted to automated driving through the insurance incentives, then alienating the few remaining holdouts through this legislation will be an acceptable political consequence and the law will pass. At that point manual driving will be all but extinct.


RE: More accidents to come
By Schrag4 on 9/6/2013 4:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The laws need to advocate for the benefits of the many over the desires of a few


This is where we fundamentally disagree. The constitution, where I live, was initially meant to prevent the passage of laws that benefit the many at the expense of the few. For a long time we stood for individual liberty, but that's going away, sadly.

quote:
You could even compare this to other legislation that has passed such as laws banning smoking in public spaces - a practice that puts the health benefits of the many over the wants of the few who desire to smoke.


This is a perfect example. Yes, smoking, and to a lesser degree, second hand smoke are harmful to one's health, but I disagree that we need laws banning smoking except for designated areas. If some store or restaurant wants to allow smoking, why should I care? I don't have to shop there, and I don't have to work there. I can get on board with a smoking ban in places where people do not go willfully, such as schools, hospitals, government buildings, but banning smoking in some place like a biker's bar? That's idiotic. DISCLAIMER: I don't smoke. Do I enjoy the clean air? Of course. And if there are enough people like me, who enjoy clean air, then we'll frequent the establishments that don't allow smoking.

What's that you say? Your small town doesn't have a grocery store that doesn't ban smoking? That right there is what is called an opportunity, a void that a free market will eventually fill, and it doesn't require government regulation to tell people what they can and can't do.


RE: More accidents to come
By Reclaimer77 on 9/4/2013 5:47:21 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The lawmakers should just do nothing now then a few years after automated cars become affordable just ban all manual vehicle control on public roadways.


Can we ban assholes from Philadelphia while we're at it? Come on buddy, compromise!


RE: More accidents to come
By FITCamaro on 9/4/2013 7:54:22 AM , Rating: 2
Florida has. If you're doing the speed limit or less in the fast lane and don't move over for people trying to pass you can be ticketed.


RE: More accidents to come
By fic2 on 9/4/2013 11:31:25 AM , Rating: 2
A lot of states have this and you "can" (in theory) be ticketed but I don't think I have ever heard of someone being ticketed. They have the same in CO but it is never enforced.


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