Road traffic and environment

Today, for a bit of local idiotic thinking, we have the government declare a “Smog Alert”. That means all traffic must slow down, highway in particular to 90 km/h. The intended result is to reduce the amount of hard particles in the air, the “smog”.

Now, the radio gave a fairly good summary of facts about the whole affair today:

  • The smog is caused by particles drifting with the wind from far abroad, not by local pollution.
  • The number of traffic jams was extraordinary, roughly 400 km compared to the usual 100 km.
  • The number of traffic accidents was quite extraordinary as well, although they did not give any numbers to compare.
  • The traffic jams happened in places where usually no traffic jams were ever seen, without any observable cause (no road works, no accidents).

The radio then asked someone at the government about whether all this mayhem was caused by the reduced speed. The answer was roughly “well, the smog usually comes together with bad road conditions, slippery and wet roads and so on, so no wonder there are accidents but it is just a coincidence.

Hmm… Let me just peek outside… Right, +4 C, completely dry, sunshine.

So how the fuck does it help? Well, it does not. The government makes again an appearance of doing something tangible about some problem and the result is usual. They get awards and money. We get traffic jams, accidents, bad humor and pollution. Government is cool, we are all idiots. Welcome to reality.