Environmentally, these vehicles offer an improvement over gas-powered cars but not public or active transit. Even so, 85 to 90 percent of toxic vehicle emissions in traffic come from tire wear and other non-tailpipe sources , which electric and hybrid cars still produce. They also still contribute to traffic, and can still kill or maim the people they hit. Drivers are subject to traffic regulations and vehicles to crashworthiness tests. The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that speed is a top risk factor in motor-vehicle crashes.
Yet the most prominent way of setting and adjusting speed limits, known as the operating-speed method, actually encourages faster driving. It calls for setting speed limits that 85 percent of drivers will obey. As a matter of law, the operating-speed method is exceptional. It enables those who violate the law—speeding motorists—to rewrite it: Speed limits ratchet higher until no more than 15 percent of motorists violate them.
The perverse incentives are obvious. Imagine a rule saying that, once 15 percent of Americans acquired an illegal type of machine gun, that weapon would automatically become legal. Other legislation amplifies the harm from this method. In California, for example, cities are sometimes obligated by law to raise speed limits against their will , and local governments are barred from lowering them even for safety reasons.
This occurs against a backdrop of radical under-enforcement of the speed limit nationally, and the widespread banning of proven but unpopular lifesaving technologies such as automated speed cameras. Just as telling as what activities the law regulates is whose interests it seeks to protect. Dozens of our peer nations require carmakers to mitigate harm to pedestrians caused by their products. Just as SUVs are becoming taller, heavier, and more prevalent—and pedestrian fatalities are surging —U. A number of states also employ no-fault systems associated with increased fatality risks.
This all lowers the up-front cost of driving, but those who lack the protection of a vehicle suffer disproportionately. Tort law is supposed to allow victims to recover for harms caused by others. Yet the standard of liability that applies to car crashes—ordinary negligence—establishes low expectations of how safe a driver must be. Courts have held that a higher standard—strict liability, which forces more careful risk taking—does not apply to driving. In other words, the very fact that car crashes cause so much social damage makes it hard for those who are injured or killed by reckless drivers to receive justice.
In a similar spirit, criminal law has carved out a lesser category uniquely for vehicular manslaughter. Deep down, all of us who drive are afraid of accidentally killing someone and going to jail; this lesser charge was originally envisioned to persuade juries to convict reckless drivers. Yet this accommodation reflects a pattern. Even when a motorist kills someone and is found to have been violating the law while doing so for example, by running a red light , criminal charges are rarely brought and judges go light.
So often do police officers in New York fail to enforce road-safety rules—and illegally park their own vehicles on sidewalks and bike facilities—that specific Twitter accounts are dedicated to each type of misbehavior. Since the dawn of the automobile, governments have been slow to address its downsides.
We make no effective laws against its misuse. In the years since, American government at all levels crossed a line.
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To page through the law books today is to stumble again and again upon evidence of automobile supremacy. The range and depth of legal supports for driving is bewildering. But these laws, which are everywhere we look, are also opportunities. All of these laws can be reversed directly by the legislative bodies responsible for passing them in the first place.
However, a growing body of academic research suggests that, even when most people favor less restrictive zoning, local officials will side with wealthy homeowners who favor the status quo. In these cases, state legislators can be called upon to help. Reformers have succeeded in doing so in Oregon and have shown promise in California.
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Far less attention has been paid, however, at the federal level. Recently, several Democratic candidates for president have released federal plans to prod states and cities to relax their zoning. Congress could condition a small share say, 5 percent of federal funds on the adoption by states of housing-production goals or Vision Zero design standards calibrated for safety. Conditional appropriations, which are how Congress goaded states into raising the drinking age, are already in use for numerous transportation programs.
Litigation for dangerous street design is another promising way to hold public entities accountable. So far, plaintiffs have mostly sought money damages, but they can also seek design changes through injunctive relief, including by class action. This has the potential to move not only laws and budgets but the entire discourse around street safety. Which means, in reality, the Jones act has damaged US shipbuilders more than it has helped them.
The few ships that remain in our fleet are older and more costly—not the high quality vessels our navy would want to call upon in times of emergency. Unfortunately, the goal of the build requirement has failed. After looking at economic scenarios like these, our minds often race to one main question: How am I affected?
How do I fit into this story? If this describes you right now, fear not, for both you and I play a part in this story. We are the consumer. There are actually two ways that the everyday consumer is affected by this troublesome law. The first is through higher fuel prices. But just how much is this cost? You read that right. Using more expensive ships to transport oil raising the cost of gasoline at the pump. While it may seem like just a few cents, taken as a whole this is a huge cost.
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And this number 4. This calculation only includes the east coast and west coast excluding the many island territories and the inland rivers and lakes , it uses data stating that US ships are times more expensive the most recent data says that number is closer to times more expensive , and most importantly, this equation only mentions oil! Think about all the other products we transport! You'd be correct in thinking that the cost of these items would also be raised if transported by US ships domestically. A seemingly distant maritime issue has found its way into our everyday lives.
As aggravating as this is, there's another way this law negatively affects the average joe: Increased traffic. Keeping in mind that the US build requirement inevitably increases the cost of shipping cargo, it should be no surprise that the companies that can, will often try to avoid this situation by shifting their goods onto trucks. While this does bring the cost of products down, it also creates problem for the rest of the driving public. Just in case you haven't heard, US roads and highways are in a terrible state already.
By disincentivizing shipping, we aren't doing ourselves any favors. There are few things as frustrating as being stuck for hours in traffic, but what makes this even more frustrating is that there are ways to decrease this! Once again a seemingly simple issue is discouraged by none other than the US build requirement which detracts companies from using ships, and punishes the companies that do choose that route. This is the lose-lose situation that we find ourselves in today. The most surprising fact about this irritating dilemma, is that this law has been in place for just about years. How could something so obviously harmful still be in existence for that long, you ask?
One simple answer: Dedicated Lobbyists. In the first ten months of alone, "47 different groups have lobbied Congress on the Jones Act Thus, it is far easier to organize voices in favor of the Jones Act than against it. That doesn't mean the situation is hopeless. I'm convinced that the more people understand and familiarize themselves with the factors in this situation, the easier it will be to organize a voice against such frustrations. Until that time, however, the free market will continue to be stifled, the high cost of products will continue to rise, and US infrastructure will continue to disappoint.
Let's hope that in the next years, our lawmakers will put aside the lobbyists demands and provide the market with the freedom it needs.
Politics and research are two of my many interests, and I look forward to learning more about how our world runs. I know that there are many comparisons of Hitler and Trump out there, with them promoting mass deportations, using racism to come to power, and can't handle being told no or even the reality of critic The arrival of has the nation at a crucial position in politics as issues from have yet to be resolved. Additionally, an opportunity has arisen for Americans to flex their power of the vote In teaching us about their chosen subjects, documentaries prompt us to look within and draw conclusions about ourselves.
This current election has brought the idea of fake news from the dusty racks along supermarkets to the mainstream. For many growing up in the 80s and 90s, when one heard "fake news," they thought of t Three to five million illegal votes and Jeff Sessions our new attorney general, the voter fraud issue is going on full alert in the Trump Administration. But the concern amounts to nothing more than t The Jones Act enacted as part of the Merchant Marine Act of is a piece of federal legislation which imposes four primary requirements on vessels carrying goods between United States ports: Owned by U.
Registered in the U. Once again Thomas Greenes offers an answer: "A recent study by a group at Southampton University analyzed shipping data for the last 15 years. The Government Accountability Office explains: "Fuel is one of the largest vessel operating cost for the Jones Act carriers Furthermore, older vessels require more maintenance and repair expenses than newer vessels.
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As mentioned, on average, foreign-flag vessels are newer, and as such will generally benefit from lower overall fuel and ongoing maintenance costs. The difference in the building costs represents about 3. Using Census data, If each vehicle travels 12, miles per year and averages one gallon for every 15 miles traveled it consumes gallons per year making the total for the million vehicles Trucks account for just 10 percent of vehicle miles traveled on US highways, but they cause over 75 percent of the total maintenance costs, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
Olsen elaborates: "American commuters spend an extra 6. Shipping is vastly more efficient, safer and less polluting than transport by trucks.