Auto Liberation Essay
Driving is probably one of the most exhilarating and liberating things to do. It gives a person the control of the wheel and the opportunity to become the master of the car. However, due to speed limits, people’s experience with driving becomes limited. Although speed limit is necessary to avoid accidents, it also restraints people of their capabilities as drivers. This is clearly indicated in Knutson’s essay entitled Auto Liberation.
The author compares the highways of Germany with that of the United States as he tries to “examine whether national speed limits in the United States are necessary” (Axelrod, Cooper, & Warriner 619). He indicates that “not only American speed limits unnecessarily restrictive, but they infringe on the personal freedoms of American citizens” (Axelrod, Cooper, & Warriner 619). This is very different from German highways wherein there are no speed limits and the drivers are allowed to drive as fast as they want to. Speed limits requires a driver to submit to this limitation and lets the car and the speed limit to use him or her instead of him or her using the car to maximize his or her experience with the car and in driving. The purpose of driving a car, aside from being able to travel from one place to another, is therefore defeated due to the speed limits.
Another important note that the author includes is the fact that “modern automobiles are capable of traveling safely at high speeds” (Axelrod, Cooper, & Warriner 619). Technology has allowed people to create machines that are capable of standing within the test of the worst situations. These latest automobiles are also built to feature the safest equipments to protect the owners in case accidents do occur. “With the advent of independent suspension, electronic-management systems, passive restraints, and other technological improvements, modern automobiles are more capable than ever of traveling at high speeds safely” (Axelrod, Cooper, & Warriner 621). If these modern cars are put together with a properly trained and responsible driver, it is most likely that automobile accidents will be avoided. It is significant to note that drivers need to be properly trained and educated about automobiles and driving for them to avoid such negative experiences on the road. If the speed limit is raised or completely removed and people do not learn how to drive properly, they will most probably fail as drivers even with the most high-tech and safest automobiles.
The author also states that much of the fear in driving and automobiles come from insurance companies detailing statistical figures that these companies have provided over the years. It is evident that the data are manipulated to appear that raising the speed limits would cause more accidents on the road. Insurance companies are concerned that when the speed limit is raised it would mean “fewer traffic citations issued by the police. Fewer tickets mean fewer points assessed on American’s driving records, which would remove the insurance industry’s primary tool for raising premium” (Axelrod, Cooper, & Warriner 622). They are concerned about the losses that they will incur when the speed limit is raised and not about the safety of their clients.
Knutson clearly relates why he believes speed limits should be raised. This will greatly improve the skills and capabilities of Americans as drivers. It will also release them from the limits that they are currently experiencing on the American roads.