The California Highway Patrol announced Thursday that it is stepping up enforcement of speed limits on the Waldo Grade in Marin as well as at the bridge and toll plaza. The reason is that in the days since the more secure movable median barrier was installed, the average speed of drivers on the approach from the north has jumped even though the speed limit was lowered from 55 to 45 miles per hour.
“We’re really seeing unreasonable speeds on the bridge, much faster than before,” said Priya David Clemens, a representative for the Golden Gate Bridge District. For whatever reason, including the possibility that drivers feel safer knowing a car won’t come barreling at them from the opposite direction, “we’ve noticed speeds going up,” Clemens said. “That’s why we asked the CHP to help us.”Known to economists as the Peltzman Effect after economist Sam Peltzman, who published an article in the Journal of Political Economy in 1975; The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation. In which he, after noting that the increased interference by the Federal Government in auto safety standards--padded dashboards, mandatory seat belts--had shown no effect in greater safety, posited that the driving public had probably compensated for their safer cars, by increasing the speed at which they drove.
Which led the late Gordon Tulloch to remark that then, the best way to reduce auto accidents would be to install a sharpened steel spike on the steering wheels of all auto, pointed at the drivers' hearts.
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