Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Texas Considers New Assisted Suicide Law

Texas considers highest speed limit in nation

Photo of typical Texas pick-up after suicidal crash.

April 12, 2001

The state of Texas. long considered a bastion of Neanderthal, conservative public policy is poised to become the assisted suicide capital of the nation.

The Texas House of Representatives has approved a bill that would raise the speed limit to 85 mph on some highways. The bill now goes to the state Senate, the Austin Statesman reports.

Texas currently has more than 520 miles of interstate highways where the speed limit is 80 mph, according to the Associated Press. The bill would allow the Texas Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit on certain roads or lanes after engineering and traffic studies are conducted. The 85-mph maximum would likely be permitted on rural roads with long sightlines.

Some insurers, however, oppose the bill:

They point out that auto insurance rates would rise sharply due to a pronounced increase in vehicular crashes. At the same time life insurance companies would be impacted by the larger number of payouts for the families of dead former customers.

"Think of it as killing the 'Texas' goose that laid the golden egg," said one Texas insurer, who declined to be identified on grounds of anonymity and parsimony. The Texas insurance board now permits Texas insurance companies to charge exorbitant rates while minimizing payouts. "We are making a killing in Texas (no pun intended), and we don't want this cash cow to disappear," according to another unnamed source barely familiar with the plan. "More dead people is not the answer. Once they are dead they are never going to be insurance company customers again," said another former insurance agency owner.

"We have been hit badly enough by the repeal of the motorcycle helmet law," said another source. "Claims for brain injuries represent some of our largest costs. We don't need brain damaged individuals hanging on for decades, unable to work and support themselves, living off of insurance payouts. It hurts everyone, in the pocketbook."

The new 85 MPH speed limit will allow more suicidal Texans to kill themselves more easily, with a minimum of preparation an no need to waste valuable time finding a cooperating doctor. All they need is a fast car, which they can borrow from a friend or simply take a used car for a test drive.

This law will make Texas one of more progressive states in the U.S., by allowing for assisted (by car, motorcycle, or truck) suicide.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, high speeds were a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes in 2009. The faster you're traveling, the greater the distance needed to bring your vehicle to a complete stop and the longer it takes a driver to react to emergency situations, according to IIHS. If an accident does occur at a higher speed, there is a strong likelihood that the crash impact will exceed the protection available to vehicle occupants. This means DEATH.

What more evidence is needed to prove this is a good measure for Texas/

One downside of the measure it that speeding increases fuel consumption. Every 5 mph over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Supporters of the new law point out that the increased speeds will be short lived (no pun intended) as the assisted suicide'rs flame out quickly

In the mid-1990s, the federal government deregulated national highway speed-limit standards, allowing states to set their own speed limits. Before the reform, all states had adopted a 55-mph speed limit by 1974 to keep federal highway funding, with some rural areas able to travel up to 65 mph since 1987. This decreased gas consumption but it left too many people alive, off-setting most of the gains in gas consumption.

"70 MPH is just too slow in today's world of warp speed internet and instant hot wings," according to an unidentified rider of a high powered Harley-Davidson motorcycle. "I can hit 85 mph between my home and Starbucks if I don't have to worry constantly about some cop pulling me over."

Texas and Utah have the highest speed limits of 80 mph on specified segments of rural interstates, according to IIHS. Texas law makers want to take the lead and make the state the suicide (by car, truck, or motorcycle) leader of the U.S.

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