GRE Argument Essay 170
The following appeared in a newspaper published in the state of Celera.
“Speed limits on our state’s highways should be eliminated in order to increase our state’s prosperity. Because greater speed means more efficient travel, commercial deliveries will be faster, increasing business profits. Elimination of speed limits will also make driving more attractive to motorists, so that more people will use the highways, providing more highway toll revenues for the state. At the same time, safety on our highways will not be affected: daytime speed limits were eliminated last year in the western states of our country, and no significant increase in the number of accidents in these states has been reported.”
The given argument highlights certain assumptions to recommend that the speed limits on the highways in the state of Celera should be eliminated. The arguer contends that these actions would lead to prosperity for the state. The first assumption made by the arguer is that elimination of speed limits would lead to greater speeds on the highways which would result in faster commercial deliveries leading to an increase in business profits. The second assumption is that motorists would be more attracted to driving on highways leading to higher highway toll revenues for the state. The last assumption is that it is unlikely that the elimination of speed limits would lead to accidents as has been seen in the western states of the country where similar elimination of speed limits was implemented. As it stands, the argument is fallacious in several respects as the assumptions made by the arguer fail to lend any support to the recommendation made.
Firstly, the contention that elimination of speed limits will prompt people to drive faster on the highways for quicker deliveries is by and large unconvincing as the arguer makes no mention of the present speed limits. Generally, the speed limits on highways are already quite high and so the vehicles move very fast on highways. Even if these speed limits are lifted, it is unlikely that the people would like to drive faster, as they would also be concerned about their safety. More than the delivery reaching before time, the business owners would be interested in the safety of their goods which are being transported. Therefore, in all likelihood, even if the speed limits are eliminated, the business owners will brief the drivers of the vehicles to drive slowly to avoid damage to the goods being transported.
Even if we assume that the drivers do succeed in making faster deliveries, one cannot be convinced that these faster deliveries would lead to business profits. It is a commonly known fact that business profits depend on various things other than the speed of deliveries. Moreover, the arguer has not provided information related to the length and breadth of the state of Celera. Therefore, it is quite possible that the distances in the state are not much and either driving slow or fast is unlikely to have a major effect on the traveling time. Hence, the first assumption made by the arguer does little to substantiate the recommendation made by him.
Secondly, the arguer makes no mention of alternate routes available to the motorists for traveling through the state. Hence, it is highly possible that the motorists would be using the highways irrespective of the enforcement of the speed limits. The argument could have been strengthened if the arguer had provided information about some alternate routes that are being taken by the motorists because of the speed limits that have been enforced on the state highways.
Lastly, the arguer makes an unfair assumption that an insignificant increase in the number of accidents in the western states after they lifted the speed limits, reflects that eliminating speed limits in Celera will have similar results. The reader needs to be informed about the similarities between the terrain and population of the western states and Celera before he can be convinced that Celera can expect a similar effect on the rate of accidents. It is likely that the western states have desert terrains or vast inhospitable moor-lands and therefore, the human population is scanty leading to a less number of accidents on the highways despite the elimination of speed limits. On the other hand, it is likely that Celera consists of mountainous terrain, is situated in the center of the country and is densely populated leading to a lot of traffic on its highways. Therefore, eliminating the speed limits on its highways may lead to a much higher number of accidents.
In conclusion, it can be seen that none of the assumptions presented by the arguer has succeeded in substantiating the recommendation made by the arguer and therefore, the argument is rendered unsound and fallacious.