Sometimes I drive a car. I know. Accordingly, I think about car driving and issues concerning car driving in the city and try to see things occasionally from the perspective of a "car driver." After all, empathy is one of the more humanistic traits and trying to get a view of issues from multiple perspectives is a worthwhile and illuminating experience. I've learned a few things about car driving in my thinking about car driving and in my analysis of car driving in the local region:
1. Cars (at least the good ones) are capable of going really fast thanks to internal combustion and whatnot.
2. Big government, through a ludicrous regulatory regime, prevents the exercise of the citizenry's freedom to go fast through the imposition of speed limits and then the enforcement (either through automated surveillance [aka speed cameras] or through the deployment of the state security apparatus [aka police]) of those limits.
Obviously, being a circumspect individual, I'm skeptical of big government, over-regulation, "Big Brother"-style surveillance and anything involvement state security apparatus, especially insofar as these impact my individual liberty to exercise my freedom of movement within my purchased private property. This is, of course, in addition to the licensing regime mandated for the operation of my vehicle, the addition of my name and vehicle's information to a state-run registry database, the imposition that I must purchase into a redistributive insurance product that I will most likely never use, and the assignment of an identification code that must be attached to my vehicle which allows the state security services or their automated surveillance to track my movements. But I digress. The real issue, to my mind, is the inhibition of my travel speed. Not, mind you the inhibition caused by others looking to exercise their rights to free movement, but rather the regulatory imposition imposed by bureaucrats and technocrats- the speed limit.
I think we should ban speed limits.
After all, if cars were meant to have speed limits, wouldn't they be built into the mechanism of the car itself? The street speed limit is the equivalent of imposing a height limit on a basketball player or a gluttony limit on a patron at an all-you-can-eat buffet. It's unnatural and it's anti-freedom.
My modest proposal is the following:
1. Ban speed limits.
But, you might ask, don't speed limits serve a valuable safety function and help all road users by ensuring safe travel? To that, my rejoinder: don't a lot of people crash while driving under the speed limit? What benefit are they then? Exactly. Additionally, does the speed limit really serve as a motivator for you not to crash your car into someone else? I would argue that self-preservation, of both life and property, would serve as an effective deterrent to crashes. After all, you don't want to crash into someone or something. You might get hurt or you might hurt your car. Naturally, you would only drive at the speed at which you feel you can safely do so. For more adept drivers, maybe this is 100 mph. For less adept drivers, maybe this is only 85 mph. You will be able to assess your current state and the conditions the situation calls for rather than rely on the top-down, one-size-fits-all approach of a speed limit. In all cases, it should be the responsibility of the individual rather than the government to determine the correct speed of travel. Think of it this way: the government doesn't tell you how much you should eat for lunch. They don't impose a 'one sandwich, one apple and some chips' limit. Rather, you decide how much you want to eat. Maybe you want two sandwiches, no apples and a big bag of chips, whereas the person next to you wants half a sandwich, some apple slices and will skip the chips. How can we be allowed freedom with our lunches and not freedom with our driving? It makes no sense.
But, you might ask, what about accidents? What about drivers who incorrectly estimate their abilities and cause me or my vehicle harm? While this is highly unlikely (wouldn't people drive in such a way as to not want to cause harm? Who wants to cause other people harm [especially if it would damage one's own vehicle]?), I understand the concern about this slim possibility and I think I've stumbled upon a fairly elegant solution: lifetime imprisonment for those offending. After all, there must be consequences for failing to live up to the newly extended freedom of speed limit-free driving. Lifetime imprisonment for offending drivers will:
1. Provide an incentive to correctly estimate one's own driving abilities thereby encouraging compliance with the new freedom regime.
2. Take bad drivers off the road, leaving only the good drivers who are capable of driving crash-free.
3. Reduce traffic congestion, freeing up valuable road space and allowing even greater speeds.
Simply put, the benefits to the good drivers easily outweigh the harm to the bad ones. Right now, even with the speed limit regulatory regime, Big Government does little to take crashing drivers off the road. Lifetime imprisonment for drivers who crash into people or things due to their inability to correct handle their vehicles will ensure that only the most capable drivers remain on the road. This will invariably improve safety and reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities.
In conclusion, the current speed limit regime is untenable and ultimately unsuccessful. It imposes unreasonable restrictions on those of us who are capable of handling our cars at the speeds those cars were built to travel. Additionally, it fails to incent good driving and does little to discourage bad driving. It's time to try something new.