|Speed||May. 6th, 2004 02:18 pm|
The ethics of speeding
Speeding is a unique crime of our time; not only is it socially accepted, but in many cases it seems to be socially mandated; those sticking to the limit are frequently intimidated by those trying to speed - often in dangerous and aggressive fashions. Speeding, despite major campaigns to counter it, is the norm in locations where it is possible to speed.
Leaving aside the aggresive methods of those wishing to support speeding, what's wrong with it?
1) Well, bottom line is, it kills. Over 1000 people a year in the UK directly in accidents - and many thousands more are injured.
The general excuse for speeding is "it won't hurt anyone". Generally this only consiers risk 1) above, but even then it is flawed. Primarily in that the claim that excess speed produces *no* extra risk can never be true, but more generally in the wider social implications of the decision to speed.
In deciding to speed, in any situation, you give your implicit permission to anyone else to speed, in any situation.
The natural reaction to this statement is "of course I don't". Well no, you may not be doing it intentionally. But, in deciding that either 1) you know better than the law or 2) you know better than anyone else (both attitudes prevalent in many advanced driving instructors, correctly or otherwise), you create an instance in which it's OK for someone "better than most" to speed.
Of course, everyone thinks they're better than most. So everyone thinks that means you're happy for them to speed.
But, comes the invariable rejoinder, it was safe (or even 'appropriate') for me to speed *in that instance*.
Yes, maybe - for example - there's no pedestrians on or near that road. Ever wondered why?
Consider also the fact that your use of speed in places you consider "safe" will invariably skew your speed perception for other locations.
And the claim of "appropriate speed" on public roads is another strange one. "Appropriate speed" means keeping it down, keeping it safe. Using higher speeds is only ever "appropriate" in combat or properly controlled racing (generally, for motorsports, away from the public highway). Your wish to get somewhere quicker, or an andrenaline buzz, is not an overriding concern of the rest of society.
Genuinely appropriate behaviour on the roads is that of consideration and care, rather than the selfishness, even arrogance, of speed; of awareness of the risks and impacts you cause and an understanding of how you can mitigate them.
14th June 2003