By Indri Schaelicke | United States
Our lives are full of constant reminders of the great control the government has over them. Laws regulate what we can consume, listen to, and do with our own property. Government has eroded our personal liberties systematically over the past hundreds of years through the erection of massive bureaucracy that nullifies liberties with a stroke of a pen, and one of the heaviest restrictions is on the speed at which we drive.
Local and state government executive branches have arbitrarily set limitations on the legal speed at which one may drive on certain roads or portions of roads. This clearly violates our right to use our own property as we wish, so long as we do not harm others.
Government, enforces every law at the threat of violence. By setting speed limits, the state indicates that they will use aggressive force to enforce it. And, if the people don’t comply, the situation will only escalate. Police may first give tickets or minor arrests. However, if you resist them, which they have every right to, they may add a felony charge of resisting arrest. Ultimately, if you continue to attempt to live your life freely, the state may kill you, in an extreme case. Yes, that’s right. The state is willing to kill you over how fast you drive.
Without a doubt, then, the speed limit is highly immoral. But speed limits, in addition to being immoral, are also ineffective. Police give out about 41 million speeding and traffic tickets each year. Of course, far more people than that speed in any given year, as well. Speed limits, thus, do not fully accomplish their goal of causing drivers to slow down. If they did, far fewer people would be speeding, but this is not the case.
Rather than using its coercive power and forcing people to pay fines for minor violations such as speeding, the state should instead remove all speeding laws. No, the streets will not suddenly turn to pure mayhem. Rather, the threat of prosecution by parties that suffer damage caused by a reckless driver will be enough to keep everyone’s speeds at a safe level. People will drive at a speed that they know they can be safe at, which may vary from person to person. If they don’t, and they cause an accident, their wallet will start to hurt after paying damages. One mistake such as this should be enough to teach that lesson.
The state claims to have created speed limits to keep roadway users safe. The truth is, though, that the speed that is safest for each driver to drive at is subjective. Each of our various experiences have influenced our driving skills, and no two people can claim identical experiences. So, no two drivers are going to have the same skill level. Why, then, should the state apply a uniform standard of safe speeds? While some drivers may be able to drive a highway at 80 mph and be safe, other, less experienced and more cautious drivers may only be able to navigate it at 60 mph. It does not make sense to set the limit at 65 mph, because the limit is too high for the skills of the 60 mph driver, and too low for the 80 mph driver.
The truth is, speeding is a victimless crime. Driving at a higher speed than legally permitted does not in fact harm anyone, so it creates no victim. There is only a victim when a person damages somebody else’s person or property. Speeding laws only create revenue and allow the State increased control over our everyday lives. The few alleged benefits of speeding laws, including a weak, overgeneralized argument for safety, simply do not outweigh the great threat that they are to our civil liberties.
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