A new article publishing in the latest issue of Review of Policy Research examines the evolution and devolution of speed limit laws and their effects on fatality rates. The author did not find a significant increase in fatalities per miles driven after speed limit laws ceased to be national and states could, and some did, increase their highway limit to more than fifty-five miles per hour. "Automobile safety features and enforcement emerge as important factors in increasing highway safety; speed limits are far less important," author Robert O. Yowell explains.
Although speed limits bring to mind the notion of public safety, they were formed in the 1970s to combat a gasoline shortage. In the 1980s the focus shifted to public safety while some speed limit regulation devolved back to states; the maximum speed on rural interstates could be raised to 65 mph. In 1995 and involving some controversy, Congress returned all speed limit authority back to the states. Analysis of the highway deaths per mile driven after the 1974 nationalization of the maximum highway speed indicates an initial greater decline in deaths than had been the trend, but the long-term decreasing trend reemerged following the shock. Dr. Yowells research finds others reasons besides speed for the long-term trend of increased highway safety. (From 1968 to 1991, the fatality rate per 100 million declined by 63.2%.) Technical progress in car manufacturing, increased use of seat belts by drivers and passengers, an increase in the minimum legal drinking age, and the general maintenance of roads all affect this rate.
Jill Yablonski | EurekAlert!
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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