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July 30, 2008

Safety in the Slow Lane

Many people are driving slower to save gas, no doubt about it. I now drive the speed limit and I'm not alone in the slow lane. An optometrist Mary saw said he has gone from tailgater to tailgatee. Some people still speed; some semis are still barreling along at 80 whenever they're reasonably sure there are no cops around. Worse, as the optometrist noticed, impatient would-be speeders including semis are tailgating us slow guys in their frustration to get going again.

I'm not for a repeat of the 55 mph national speed limit from the previous "gas crisis" – although I'm not sure I can make a good argument against it on economic and national security grounds. I am for dramatically stepped up enforcement of the current speed limits, though. It ought to be safe to go slow – especially when slow means AT the speed limit.

Increased enforcement doesn't have to mean a trooper behind every bush; robot cameras with radar'll do fine. They have them in the UK; but, for some reason, there are signs telling people where they are.

Penalties for tailgating – which is really dangerous – need to increase.

See Slow Revenge for how much gas driving slowly can save.

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