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Traffic Calming

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  • Simon Norton
    Some belated comments on the Susanna Jennings article. When I first read the article I wondered whether she might be satirising its viewpoint. I am sure that
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 1, 2004
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      Some belated comments on the Susanna Jennings article.

      When I first read the article I wondered whether she might be satirising its
      viewpoint. I am sure that many of us could have written an ironic article on
      such lines. But my eventual conclusion was that she meant what she said.

      As has been pointed out, the quotation she was referring to covers life as well
      as liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Allowing cars to speed through
      residential areas is surely an infringement of this freedom.

      She seems to be assuming both that speed limits are low enough for safety and
      that drivers have the right to drive up to them at all times, and that drivers
      can be trusted to drive no faster than is safe in the circumstances. The first
      two are sometimes true but sometimes false, the last always false because for
      every driver who can be trusted there must be many who can't.

      As there is no question of jailing or criminalizing drivers (at least until the
      same level of opprobrium applies to motoring offenders as to other criminals)
      the "beyond reasonable doubt" safeguards cannot be held to be necessary. I
      believe that it is fair, when necessary, to deprive people of driving privileges
      on at least a "balance of probability" basis, if not a "precautionary principle"
      basis. However, from the point of view of safety, this may not be necessary: in
      many cases all that's necessary is to install governors on cars that prevent
      motorists from exceeding the prevailing speed limit.

      Where is Freedom, California ? I assume that the author deliberately chose to
      use it as a dateline. I know of a Liberty on Route 17 in New York State.

      I understand that Hitler deliberately chose the title National Socialist for hisparty so as to encourage socialists to support him.

      I also understand that it was Hitler who copied the US in building motorways,
      not vice versa. See Bill Bryson's "Made in America".

      Simon Norton
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