Costs and benefits of Slow Zones

In your editorial on Slow Zones, you state you are “in favor of anything that reduces death.” This sounds noble, but it’s impractical as a general philosophy: if you followed it to its logical conclusion, you’d be in favor of banning automobiles altogether. It may seem callous to try to put a value on human life, but society couldn’t function if we didn’t accept some risks as necessary.

A more practical approach on slow zones or anything similar is “Let’s try it and see how many lives it saves and how much trouble it causes.” This weighing of costs and benefits is actually the way society has been making decisions about almost everything since civilization was invented. My personal guess is that the 5 mph speed limit reductions will have little effect on either safety or on the functioning of the city, but let’s see what happens.

Harvey Wachtel

Kew Gardens, NY

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