Governors Highway Safety Association: Deaths Don't Matter, Only Safety Regs

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Earlier this week the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued a relatively uncontroversial report saying that urban roads are safer than rural roads in terms of traffic fatalities, since urban roads generally have slower speeds and better access to hospitals.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (last spotted blaming pedestrian fatalities on Michelle Obama), however, begs to differ:

Many traffic safety groups such as the Governors Highway Safety Association argue that such comparisons don't accurately reflect how safe a state's roads are. A better measure, they say, is whether states have enacted proven safety enhancements such as motorcycle helmet laws and primary seat belt laws, which allow police to stop motorists solely for being unbuckled. […]

Judith Stone, president of Washington, D.C.-based Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety, says the group does not consider fatalities when issuing its annual report card on states. "We look at laws and whether they've been passed," Stone says. 

Advocates of stronger laws say it's difficult to persuade a state such as New Hampshire, which has no seat belt or motorcycle helmet laws, to enact such rules when its death rate is below the U.S. average. "States like … New Hampshire could certainly save more lives by passing stronger laws," says governors safety association spokesman Jonathan Adkins. "Legislators note these states have relatively low fatality rates and tend not to see the benefit in passing stronger laws."

In other words, deaths don't matter—only how hard the government tries to save you from yourself.

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  1. That is right out of Gulliver’s travels. You can’t satire these people anymore. We are living in the dark ages.

    1. I think it was one of the editors here that introduced the term “post-reductio America”. I liked that.

  2. A link would help.

  3. More silly people thinking they have any real control over anything beyond peeing their own pants. Which they likely don’t.

  4. If they hadn’t passed the Law of Gravity, people would be flying off the earth everywhere.

    1. Without the law of gravity, we would be like Somalia.

      1. ROOAAAAADDSDSSS!@!@#$

      2. Whoa. Well done. 🙂

  5. Are you sure this isn’t an article from The Onion?

    1. Actually, PJ O’Rourke, National Lampoon, ca 1975.

  6. Magical thinking. Safety is achieved by passing laws, therefor, safety is measured by laws passed. The actions taken by people, and their consequences, are irrelevant to the achievement of a Safe Society.

    1. Think of all the people that could be saved by passing laws making murder illegal.

  7. That’s also why the US is really safe as far as incidents of Hep C and deaths by drug overdose; we’ve got all those drug laws at work.

    1. We won’t be totally safe from Hep C until tattoo parlors are all closed, and mandatory condom laws go into effect.

      1. The only real safe sex is abstinence

        1. No, castration.

          1. No, emasculation.

            1. At least we finally have a President who leads by example!

            2. So no sex outside of marriage?

              1. So no sex outside of marriage?

                So, that’d be no sex at all then….

  8. Many traffic safety groups such as the Governors Highway Safety Association argue that such comparisons don’t accurately reflect how safe a state’s roads are. A better measure, they say, is whether states have enacted proven safety enhancements such as motorcycle helmet laws and primary seat belt laws, which allow police to stop motorists solely for being unbuckled.

    Safety in numbers!!!!

    Uh, in numbers of regulations…

    Advocates of stronger laws say it’s difficult to persuade a state such as New Hampshire, which has no seat belt or motorcycle helmet laws, to enact such rules when its death rate is below the U.S. average.

    How can we convince these dimwitted rubes that these rules are meant to protect THEM from a problem that doesn’t exist?

    Why, who the hell are they to think they know better than us?

  9. Many traffic safety groups such as the Governors Highway Safety Association argue that such comparisons don’t accurately reflect how safe a state’s roads are. A better measure, they say, is whether states have enacted proven safety enhancements such as motorcycle helmet laws and primary seat belt laws, which allow police to stop motorists solely for being unbuckled. […]

    Down the rabbit hole we go.

  10. Some drivers on rural roads are so safety conscious that they weld the doors on their cars shut. I’ve seen documentaries where the drivers and passengers actually crawl through the windows to get into their orange 1969 Dodge Chargers because the doors are fixed.

    Granted, there are often bridges washed out and roads covered in loose dirt that lead to rampant fishtailing, but drivers make up for it cautioning other drivers of the hazards by sounding their loud “Dixie” horns.

    1. I’ve seen those too and jumping a creek via half of a broken down bridge is actually a lot easier than you would think.

      1. Cooters make the world safer.

        1. My guess is that when Cooter was in congress, he was all for the safety laws.

    2. So they didn’t have any guns because they were on parole, right? But for some reason parole doesn’t restrict their access to dynamite to make explosive arrows? WTF Hazzard Co.?

      1. This was a bygone era, SF, before the ATF received their terminal E. Dynamite was not particularly difficult to get back in the day, I’m told.

        As someone who was once a named person on my organization’s BATFE explosives license, I view statements like that with more than a bit of envy and sadness.

        1. OK, I get that. I mean, I figured Uncle Jesse was trading moonshine to local miners for it anyway.

          I did in fact tape an M-80 to an arrow in an attempt to recreate the effect. That I have my eyes and fingers is amazing in retrospect.

          1. Worry not, I’ll have them soon enough. I suggest you worry more about your toes.

      2. Back when this was a more civilized country, you could buy dynamite at any backwoods hardware store. My dad has lots of stories about the good times he had blowing shit up with his grandad in rural PA in the 60s.

        1. You should have been a kid in the 70’s. you could actually hurt yourself (and others!) with the chemistry sets they sold then.

          1. I had an Army improvised demolitions manual from the late-60s. I made homebrew napalm.

            1. “I can smell the Benzene!”

  11. the group does not consider fatalities when issuing its annual report card on states. “We look at laws and whether they’ve been passed,” Stone says.

    Godammit.

  12. Fuck you Jonathan Adkins. Maybe some people don’t want to have their lives saved.

  13. I have NOTHING at all to do with the relative danger of rural roads.

    1. Are you both running away from a shaven rape-mad sasquatch with his own twitter account?

      1. Why do you ask? And what is this “twitter account” of which you speak?

        1. The STEVE SMITH twitter account, the third most popular twitter account written by a shaven rape-mad sasquatch.

  14. Meanwhile, every fucking newspaper in Montana, as far as I can tell, is running editorials clamoring for a primary seat belt law, because the nannytarian classes simply cannot bear the thought of not being able to punish the unwashed masses for not doing as they say.

    1. Given that only Wyoming and Mississippi are worse than Montana in terms of safety, Montana newspapers look reasonable compared to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

  15. Safety is achieved by passing laws

    Magical incantations. Works every time.

  16. Fuckin’ A. These people have their own buttocks firmly seated upon their shoulders.

    1. Wow. Really? Were they in a car accident?

      1. There are no “accidents” – only “collisions”.

        I still remember that from driver’s ed – hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

  17. Having lived a 30 minute drive from nowhere for a good chunk of my childhood, the dangerousness of rural roads is all about boredom. You get bored driving on mostly deserted roads with no shoulders and you speed to make it more exciting/get it over with. And you go in a ditch, hit a telephone pole, hit a deer, or explode a chicken while going fast enough to kill you. And even if you don’t die, you’re about an hour away from a hospital, and it’s probably a pretty shitty hospital.

    I’d like to get some grant money to study the obvious.

    1. This.

      I also grew up in a pretty rural area. We were always hearing about some teenage boy killed in a single-vehicle accident. Typically driving his POS pickup truck way too fast and left the road, rolled the truck and was “ejected from the vehicle.” Either a pickup truck or a Mustang. Kid gets overconfident and goes down the 2-lane, windy blacktop road at 80 mph and finds himself face-planting the giant oak tree on that off-camber curve.

      Given how I used to drive my 1977 Chevy Caprice Classic on those roads, I can’t believe I didn’t end up like that. Only went off the road once – just ended up in a ditch.

      1. My father-in-laws, who still lives in BFE, terrifies me. He’s an excellent driver and has never had a wreck, but 80 on pitch-black winding roads in the middle of nowhere with no dividing line where people always top hills in the middle of the narrow-ass road triggers my imagination’s consummate skill in conjuring gory death scenarios.

      2. Let me joing the chorus here. Thinking back on how I drove my first car (a Chevy Nova!) around West Texas, its a miracle I’m alive.

        1. East Texas is worse, RC. There’s nothing out there, and no earthly reason not to drive past it at 100+.

      3. God, this all sounds familiar. When you’re driving in the oncoming lane so you can make the turn doing eighty in your pickup, how can you see around the corner to see if another car just might, for some reason, be coming the other way?

        Even as a teenager, this scared me.

    2. High speed rail?

      (ducks)

      1. As one of the house liberals can I just jump in quickly and say the high speed rail thing is quite certainly one of the dumbest things I’ve seen come from Obama recently? People are mad about spending, pretty much everyone hates public transportation, and he suggests a massive high speed rail program? WTF dude?

        1. Red meat to shore up the base.

          1. Geez, I guess it’s been a while since I went to the Big Liberal Conspiracy Meeting of the Week (always on Sundays during church time at the local Stabucks or other fair trade coffee vendor), but high speed rail is red meat for us now? What a diet…

            1. So there’s not a sizable group of people on the left who seem obsessed with mass transit being the solution to the extinction-level threat of global warming? Interesting.

              1. Utilitarians worship at the altar of Big Government and boondoggles are their manna. The red meat is just pining for the days before the Eco-theologists co-opted the movement with wheat germ and grass juice.

        2. Because someone convinced him that WTF means “Win the Future”, and he missed that it was satire. . .

        3. Theoretically, high speed rail might make sense in a few highly dense places in the US. However, the HSR funding, like all Amtrak funding, is required to support money-losing and net-energy wasting (once you count construction and maintenance) routes in rural areas so that we can have a “national train network.”

          My preferred solution would be:
          Block grants to the states from the Highway Trust Fund.
          Those states can spend the money however they want, including on transit if they want.

          1. (Well, preferred solution aside from just privatizing it all.)

          2. HSR makes sense between any pair of cities that are close enough together to make the time spent on the trip competitive with air travel.

            For example, Portland and Seattle are about 170 miles apart. A train going 90 mph would take about 2 hours. A plane takes about 45 minutes, but you have to be at the airport early, wait for your bags, can’t take any liquids, security, &c.

            Not to mention, for most people the airport is farther away than the train station (especially in Seattle, where the airport is 13 miles away from downtown).

            The same is true of a lot of city pairs all over the country. Whenever there is a market for commercial air travel on flights that are under 90 minutes, there is a market for HSR.

            1. A train going 90 mph would take about 2 hours. A plane takes about 45 minutes, but you have to be at the airport early, wait for your bags, can’t take any liquids, security, &c

              Want to hear our plan for making airline travel competitive with HSR?

            2. You say that as though they wouldn’t install TSA at the train stations. Can you imagine what a bomb on a leading car of a train going 90 would do? It would be… very not good.

              And it’s not like the TSA union bosses are going to let rail out of their piggy little grasp if it become a viable alternative to flying.

    3. A lot of the suburban kids found the rural roads an excellent place to go party while on a long slow drive. So they were just moving their statistics from one place to another.

  18. The people’s safety is measured by the state’s power.

    WAR IS PEACE

    1. Let us forge our socialist future by buckling our government designed inertia canceling mechanism.

  19. “because the nannytarian classes simply cannot bear the thought of not being able to punish the unwashed masses for not doing as they say.”

    Regarding newspaper editorial boards:

    Unlike cops and other civil servants, most editorial board members are not captive to a fetishistic craving for punishin’ the disobedient. Instead, they’re motivited by a promethius/messiah sensitivity – they want to be the heroic savior.

    When they urge legislatures to pass laws of this type, it’s a psychological win-win. If the laws are enacted, the editorialist can feel wonderful about all the lives his heroic editorial saved. They can offer self-congratulatory toasts to each other about their selfless quest to build a better world. If the legislature refuses to pass the laws, whenever someone dies in a car crash, the editorialists can rage, RAGE against the thick-headed mortals who ignored their finely-crafted words of life-saving wisdom. “Why WHY couldn’t those fools have listen to me? A poor innocent child need not have perished…”

    1. most editorial board members are not captive to a fetishistic craving for punishin’ the disobedient. Instead, they’re motivited by a promethius/messiah sensitivity – they want to be the heroic savior.

      A distinction, as my Torts professor would say, without a difference.

  20. For teh chilluns

  21. “”We look at laws and whether they’ve been passed,” Stone says.”

    Unless they are working on some kind of assumption about controlling for other differences in the state (meaning that fatalaties will of course happen due to other factors in which states differ despite laws ‘assumed’ to promote safety), that is pretty fucking retarded.

    1. “”We look at laws and whether they’ve been passed,” Stone says.”

      Unless they are working on some kind of assumption about controlling for other differences in the state (meaning that fatalaties will of course happen due to other factors in which states differ despite laws ‘assumed’ to promote safety), that is pretty fucking retarded.

      Brevity, MNG.

  22. So are Vermonters just better drivers?

    1. Well, yeah, till they drop their beers.

    2. Yes, except for my sister. She once totaled two cars in 8 days. One of the accidents involved running into a dead moose.

  23. This blog leaves me baffled. You’re laughing at two groups that are arguing over the way in which to determine which roads are safer – but both involve government regulation.

    Thanks for pointing out that your contribution to the debate is “make em dangerous.”

    1. Please don’t be his porn.

      1. You’re right. It’s like arguing with any bleever; a waste of time.
        Nice day, out, isn’t it?

        1. No here, but tomorrow it’s supposed to be 56. That’s 15 degrees warmer than our recorded average. Wow!

    2. This blog leaves me baffled.

      Apparently. Too many big words?

    3. I was fascinated by what you said and would like to subscribe to your newsletter, which I presume is titled, “Rants about s**t where I totally don’t understand the obvious.”

    4. Dude, you know what’s not baffling? Nash equilibria. Just think about game theory and it’ll all make sense, smart guy.

    5. Sugarfree, I respond not for his sake but for the sake of others who may happen upon this comment thread.

      SM, Walter Block has written about the libertarian theory of roads a great deal. If you are actually interested I refer you to the following links:

      http://mises.org/journals/jls/3_2/3_2_7.pdf

      http://mises.org/journals/jls/4_3/4_3_6.pdf

      That is, if you are actually intersted.

      1. No need for links, he knows it all already, PIRS. He knows more about libertarianism than 98% of us!

      2. That is, if you are actually intersted.

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      3. I understand that impulse and indulge in it myself. It’s the arguing with the bad faith troll that I consider such a waste of time. It’s not here to engage our ideas in honest debate, it just wants to be an annoying turd in the punchbowl. It can only be that if we play along.

        And, as always, it’s just a suggestion. This is The Land of Do As You Please.

        1. “It’s not here to engage our ideas in honest debate”

          Well, as longtime dissenter ’round these parts I think one problem here is that many of you think “engage in honest debate”=”be convinced by us and be polite while it happens”

          To me the criteria for trollship is just, is there an actual idea put forward to discuss? So Max (‘suck Paul’s c*ck) qualifies but most of SM’s stuff I’ve seen would not.

          1. It’s like the thread the other day on teenage prostitution. SM’s point was “libertarians seem to have no solution to this problem.” He said it in a smartass way, sure, but that was his point and I actually was interested in the answers. But no one gave them, they were just “oh you leftist partisan, you’re dishonest, etc”).

            Likewise here his point seems to be that libertarians seem to have no way to promote highway safety*

            * Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying his point is correct, and I’m also ignoring that he’s kinda missing the point of the post (which is to mock the kind of thinking that finds laws passed superior than actual lives saved)

            1. “But no one gave them, they were just “oh you leftist partisan, you’re dishonest, etc”).”

              I don’t know when you stopped looking at that thread but later on there were some interesting topics discussed relating to “the catholic priest problem” and the relavance of physical adult charactersitics etc. You may want to check it out again.

            2. It’s like the thread the other day on teenage prostitution. SM’s point was “libertarians seem to have no solution to this problem.”

              Here’s why this is a question asked in bad faith: As long as it still occurs, then no one has a solution to it. The statement: “liberals/leftists/ Marxists/Republicans/conservatives/Christians/Muslims/Buddhists/ Mormons/Nazis etc etc etc seem to have no solution to this problem” is also correct.

              He tries to hold what we believe to an impossible standard while not really offering any solutions himself or taking a stance. It’s no different than Creationists playing “God in the Gaps.” Ever seen a half man/half money fossil, stupid? HURR DURR!”

              1. See, I’m not sure it is bad faith, just perhaps bad reasoning. I think it totally honest for someone to say “well you guys don’t have any program to do anything about the problem” and then for one of you to say “well, perhaps, but even with the programs others put forward you still have it and at least we don’t have the messed up unintended consequences of their porgrams.”

                1. Also he may have an honest belief that doing something is usually better than doing nothing. Maybe he is wrong about that, but it’s likely a common belief. As a minority in a democracy I think it would be best for you guys to answer that kind of thing, within reason of course…

                  1. “well, perhaps, but even with the programs others put forward you still have it and at least we don’t have the messed up unintended consequences of their porgrams.”

                    The bad faith is the lack of questioning whether new laws, not to mention the ones already on the books, and programs are necessary in the first place. Particularly when the existing stuff has proven ineffective and impotent.

                  2. MNG, here’s another thing… if you are on a board that allows filtering (of has it due to someone else’s largesse like H&R) and you change your name constantly in order to post same the same dumb shit that they filtered you for in the first place, you are a goddamn troll or griefer or shitstick or whatever you want to call it.

                    If people want to filter me, bully for them. I’m not going to change my name to deceive them into listening to me.

                    (Please note, this is not pointed at you. You changed your name with plenty of warning and no subterfuge in the continuity of your board identity.)

              2. Except i did have solutions to the problem…and took a stance…but anyways…

            3. Re: MNG,

              It’s like the thread the other day on teenage prostitution. SM’s point was “libertarians seem to have no solution to this problem.” He said it in a smartass way, sure, but that was his point and I actually was interested in the answers. But no one gave them, they were just “oh you leftist partisan, you’re dishonest, etc”).

              That’s because he’s already biasing the discussion by saying that teenage prostitution is a “problem.”

              A problem for whom? SM? That’s HIS opinion. If it’s someone’s “problem”, it should be the prostitutes’ or their parents. Period.

              That is why his question was dishonest from the beginning. The proper reply to that is “I don’t answer loaded questions – sorry, you Statist Fuck.”

              1. You answer could be, “as a libertarian i don’t think teenage prostitution is a problem.”

                And as you can see, i thank the libertarian for their honesty and move along.

                I just want to be sure that anyone who comes here realizes what libertarians actually believe about teenage prostitution, pollution, education, etc…hell, the existence of humans as a species.

                Just be honest with us. Thank you.

          2. SM is convinced that he knows what we believe better than we do, and that only he is intelligent enough to comprehend the monstrous implications of it. Combine that with a lot of insults and an annoying inability to use ellipses correctly, and you have a bad-faith troll. Plus, Nash equilibrium.

            1. I’ll grant the Nash Equilibrium invocations are quite goofy, but I’m still not sure it’s a bad faith troll.

              1. What do you think a bad faith troll is, then? Fucking christ.

            2. Except i realize the limitations of calculating the outcomes of complex problems…as i’ve stated…

              Plus, Nash equilibrium….i’m still wondering if anyone here understands what i was alluding to….

          3. The dividing line here is that it is the same person posting under multiple aliases in order to bait people on the board into argument based on ridiculous strawmen. You may be a dissenter and you have your moments of being griefing asshole, but you at least agree with us about some things. And can hold conversations not solely focused on you being annoying.

            Edwin/SM is just Max without the brevity and honesty–here to bitch about us, not debate ideas.

            1. GO SUCK MAX’S COCK!!!

            2. I have no aliases. Why waste the time when you can post anything you want? This is a libertarian blog, no?

      4. I understand what that guy is “hoping” will happen, but i also have seen what markets actually deliver, not the “theoretical” results libertarians hope are achieved.

        His answer was to build bridges over houses when necessary, no answer to people being born into houses with the correct type of “rights” or not having the power to write contracts that are fair, and so on.

        Libertarians just trade the tyranny of the public…for the tyranny of the public, minus a vote. How this goes unseen is beyond me.

        Do you guys ever engage in honest debate about some of the principles you espouse around here? We get bogged down in these issues that, a lot of times, are disagreements over fundemental issues.

        Finally, i really don’t understand why libertarians are even trying to defend WHAT their society will look like – because that’s not the point. The point is your MEANS, not the end.

        For example, if global warming was to destroy all of humanity, so what? Right?

    6. Re: SM,

      This blog leaves me baffled.

      That is because you did not apply the Nash Equilibrium!

      Do you know about the Nash Equilibrium? Do you? DO YOU??

      Heathen!

  24. Advocates of stronger laws say it’s difficult to persuade a state such as New Hampshire, which has no seat belt or motorcycle helmet laws, to enact such rules when its death rate is below the U.S. average.

    How dangerous are retired academic Massholes and lesbians in Subarus anyway?

    1. Seen the make-up of SCOTUS lately?

    2. First, sounds like you might be thinking of VT. Second, if it were not for the north east, Subaru would be bust. Third, I’d be curious to know if there is any significant disparity between southern NH which is more ‘densely’ populated than the rest of the state. Either way, given the shit winters and generally crappy condition of rural roads up here (permament frost heaves) its surprising NH is one of the lowest.

  25. I call for a million person march against this sort of clap trap. We can bus some of them in from Cairo.

  26. I’d like to get some grant money to study the obvious.

    Where do I sign up?

  27. SM is the drunk kid at the party who doesn’t want to admit to himself his girlfriend is upstairs getting gangbanged by the hockey team. He has absolutely nothing to say, so he says it OVER AND OVER AND OVER; louder each time.

  28. I’m still not sure it’s a bad faith troll.

    And that’s why your mom makes you wear that helmet all the time.

  29. Advocates of stronger laws say it’s difficult to persuade a state such as New Hampshire, which has no seat belt or motorcycle helmet laws, to enact such rules when its death rate is below the U.S. average.

    Excuse me? If New Hampshire has a below-average death rate, shouldn’t we be copying what they’re doing, instead of haranguing them about passing laws from states with above-average numbers?

    1. Hey, hey, HEY! Don’t be bringing your “logic” round these parts. It’s “intentions” that matter where the gummint is concerned.

      /governmentthink

    2. The government doesn’t like to use anything even resembling science or logic.

  30. Also, Don Johnson was pretty good in “Nash Equilibrium”

  31. STEVE SMITH SOMETIMES RAPE CRASH VICTIMS IN THE COUNTRY. THIS SLOWS THEM DOWN ON WAY TO THE HOSPITAL.

    1. Correction: STEVE SMITH ALWAYS RAPE CRASH VICTIMS IN THE COUNTRY.

      1. Win.

  32. Safety regulations are certainly important, as are deaths. These guys have a lot of work ahead of them.

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