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What Difference Does 5 MPH Make?

For my money, the U.K. Department for Transport’s Think campaign is the most thought-provoking road safety campaign in the world today (not that there’s much competition in the U.S., which long ago lost its lead as the world’s safest driving nation). This video shows how a small difference in speed, barely perceived by the driver of a large well-insulated modern car, can make all the difference to someone outside the car — not just reaction time but impact speed.

Of course, PSAs and “raising awareness,” by themselves, for all the good intentions, have been shown in the field of road safety, and various other public health campaigns, to be vastly ineffective. You need enforcement (not continued slaps on the wrist for people like this), negative financial incentives, the changing of social norms, etc. etc.

(via Streetsblog)

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 2:56 pm and is filed under Traffic Culture, Traffic Enforcement, Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “What Difference Does 5 MPH Make?”

  1. Matt Says:

    This one still makes me shiver when I see it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCScKhoGeXQ (another UK Think! one).

  2. Sean Says:

    This is great advertising, but driving slower does not make you a better driver, nor does it increase your attention span. Stop talking on your cell phones, eating food, and playing with yourselves while driving. Drivers training is probably the greatest factor in our inability to drive safe (especially in America). A 2 week crash course in traffic lights and signs and a 15 minute drivers test is pathetic. We basically just give drivers licenses away for the annoyance of sitting in long DMV lines and the struggle with incompetent DMV workers. Slowing down is great for urban areas and I am all for it, but it is not a solution and should not be praised as the save all for pedestrians and/or other bad drivers. There are many other factors and issues that need and should be addressed.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

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