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DEADLY ROADS!!! as crap happens

johnboy 20 July 2010 53

The Canberra Times is having kittens over the ACT’s road toll which, due to isolated and unrelated incidents, has risen to 5 per 100,000 people, the second highest in Australia per capita behind the Northern Territory (Note: Also a very small jurisdiction).

With roads and cars ever safer the sad reality is that road tolls are going to fluctuate wildly (but still at historical lows). With a small population isolated events will have large impacts for those who read statistics badly.

So let’s try and keep a sense of perspective.


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53 Responses to DEADLY ROADS!!! as crap happens
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buzz819 buzz819 5:27 pm 28 Jul 10

Wow that is convincing Woody… Some one comes up with a question as to why the speed camera’s have not kept this years road toll at a low number, do you try and answer the question? No. Maybe find something saying that it is an anomaly, which happens with all stats. No. What do you do? You go back to a personal insult, it really does show that you are immature and can’t take it when people have a differing view to your own.

I am in the same corner as Chewy14 and Me no fry. I have never disputed that speed cameras can work, if properly placed.

What us three are saying is quite simple, the ACT Government has not put speed camera’s in areas where there are high fatality rates – they are put where they get the most revenue.

It is simple to see, before the camera’s were placed on the Parkway, that is where you used to see Traffic Cops sitting giving out tickets, same for Hume Highway, Monaro Highway and Hindmarsh Drive. They are the spots where the most fines were given to speeding motorists.

So yes Woody, speed camera’s can reduce fatalities – they just aren’t working in the ACT at the moment.

Unless you can give me data on the sites that speed camera’s are, then show me that is where the fatal crashes are then show me the reduction of these fatal’s well… You wont be able to convince me of anything, besides the fact that your an internet tough man.

Me no fry Me no fry 4:35 pm 28 Jul 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

regression to the mean

real researchers are well aware of RTM issues and control accordingly. See, for example, p33 of this report. Or this paper, which found that ‘The reduction in total crashes was significantly greater than that expected from the effect of regression to the mean in 12 out of 20 sites tested.’

You can go and sit in the corner with chewy14 and play with your common sense. Maybe you could draw a brown cat sitting in a brown field?

In your haste to put together another vituperative response you’ve bitten on another fish-hook (just like a hungry carp you can’t let anything float past). My quote about ignoring regression to mean is a direct quote from the UK Department for Transport website.

By the way, I’ve read the MUARC stuff – it’s a thorough piece of research.

Your constant references to people painting with their own faeces is a bit disturbing and says more about you than you realise.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 3:55 pm 28 Jul 10

We shouldn’t be debating this as if speed cameras have proven to be highly effective at lowering the road toll – because the road toll this year tells a different story.

Sorry, I just want to make sure I understand your claim. Are you really saying that because the road toll for this year stands at 17, speed cameras are not effective at lowering the road toll?

F*ck it, I’m no good at polite. Go back to first year stats, you talentless hack.

(In other news, there was frost in my yard this morning. I have concluded that the sun no longer heats the earth. Anybody who says different is an academic, a government official, or an academic working for the government. I’m highly suspicious when your ‘observations’ match up with ‘reality’.)

regression to the mean

Ah – well, now we know where you’ve been doing your ‘research’. Unfortunately for you and the ar*eclowns who run the websites you’ve been frequenting and casually throw phrases like ‘many proponents’ into Wikipedia articles hoping they won’t be noticed, real researchers are well aware of RTM issues and control accordingly. See, for example, p33 of this report. Or this paper, which found that ‘The reduction in total crashes was significantly greater than that expected from the effect of regression to the mean in 12 out of 20 sites tested.’

You can go and sit in the corner with chewy14 and play with your common sense. Maybe you could draw a brown cat sitting in a brown field?

Me no fry Me no fry 2:43 pm 28 Jul 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Enjoy those point to pointers when they rock up!

On that topic, I would not be surprised to see point to point speed cameras on the Clyde Mountain, where those new huge signs overhanging the road effectively book-end the road.

Just out of curiousity I did some research into the use of speed cameras in the UK. Interesting stuff. The executive summary of a study into the cost/benefit of speed cameras in 1996 presented anecdotal evidence (clearly labelled as such) of the perceived benefit of speed cameras to local communities as being one of a number of benefits that speed cameras would bring.

In 2004, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) did some research that analysed the effectiveness of speed cameras other the preceding 4 years. Their figures are quoted without taking selection effects such as regression to the mean into account (this is clearly labelled). The research claimed that accident rates and injury rates had fallen dramatically, yet the NHS, when it looked at its own statistics for hospital admissions, found that this wasn’t the case.

The DfT had undertaken to do research into the wider effects of speed camera enforcement – but cancelled this in 2007. I wonder what that research might have shown. Independent research was done and it showed that the use of speed cameras had had several unintended consequences which in fact worked together to negate any good effects the speed cameras were having. I seem to recall that the academic who did that research visited Australia, where he and his research was given short shrift – he wasn’t tarred and feathered but you got the impression few people in authority would have been sad to see that happen.

I don’t know about you all, but I tend to be slightly sceptical of government-sponsored research (UK or otherwise) that dovetails so neatly with the government’s desires and expectations.

Anyway, we are having this robust discussion about speed limit enforcement in the context of Canberra’s recent spike in the road toll. We shouldn’t be debating this as if speed cameras have proven to be highly effective at lowering the road toll – because the road toll this year tells a different story.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 10:54 am 28 Jul 10

Settle, darling – you’re starting to foam at the mouth.

When I saw your Monash link I didn’t click it was the NRMA research. I mean, how could you have read the report but still claim we need evidence that speed cameras in the ACT are effective? But you did, and you do. I apologised anyway. Kinda like when some idiot runs into the back of my foot with a trolley and I say ‘Oh, excuse me.’

If you think citing the overall conclusion of a piece of research is ‘selective quoting’, you’re beyong hope. What you’re doing (and note that it’s exactly what I said you’d do) is the epitome of selective quoting – picking and choosing individual points to support your point of view, utterly ignoring that all of those points together reveal ‘a very efficient and effective speed camera program’.

The research is out there, for this jurisdiction, for scores of others, over a period of many years, so maybe now the onus is you to show why it’s false. We’ve done our due diligence. As the NRMA states, speed cameras are “accepted by the community in general as a valuable and valid deterrent to speeding and have become a stable and important element of the ACT’s road safety strategy.” That’s a position accepted by experts all around the world, and put into practice by governments all around the world. It’s like gravity – a generally accepted theory whose principles hold true in a very wide range of circumstances. You’re the nutjob claiming that maybe none of that applies here – a claim you make without any evidence.

Using the results from these sites as justification for reduction in police presence and enforcement on our roads is wrong.

You linked the TAMS strategy. Show me the bit where the ACT government is solely relying on cameras, or reducing police presence on our roads. (Hint – it’s not in the table showing a range of education, enforcement, engineering and encouragement strategies all you speed camera whackjobs like to pretend don’t exist.)

Or you could just admit that no amount of evidence will please you, or any of your peanut friends. You require a standard of proof far above and beyond that which you require for any other government activity, but when it’s pushed under your nose it’s still not enough.

“There’s no evidence anywhere in the world that speed cameras work!”
“Here’s some.”
“There no evidence they work in Australia!”
“Here’s some.”
“There’s no evidence they work in the ACT!”
“Here’s some.”
“ITS ALL A SEEKRIT STANHOPELESS CONSPORASI TO TAKES MY MUNNIEZ I CAN HAZ AUNVA STUDY?!”

I’ll now click my fetching red heels together and return to reality, where public policy experts listen to technical experts and consider the public good rather than the wishes of the individually uninformed. Enjoy those point to pointers when they rock up! Maybe they’ll even install them in Oz!

chewy14 chewy14 9:10 am 28 Jul 10

Ah Woody you’ve outdone yourself.

So I post a link to research and make a comment on it.

Woody then posts a link to the exact same research using it like it a trump card (showing a fantastic inability to read at the same time), continues the name calling and fiddling with the little straw men he’s created yet still has the gall to call me thick?

Nice work dunce.

And Woody surely someone of your intellect wouldn’t use selective quotes from that research? Oh I forgot, you’re Mr Executive Summary. In particular from the link:

“The 36% decrease in fatal and injury crashes at the initial 22 speed camera sites is reasonably statistically robust.
This seems to indicate that the policy of targeting locations with a history of speed-related crashes, for the first
set of cameras, was effective. There is, as yet, insufficient crash data to give statistically significant results from
the second group of camera sites. However, we can probably say that where speed cameras have targeted speed
related crash sites, gains have been made in reducing both extreme speeds and crashes.”

And
ARRB TR has recommended that the evaluation be extended to analyse at least three years crash data, especially
for the ‘second wave’ of camera sites. Also, on-going monitoring of speeds at initial and second round camera
sites, as well as control sites, could be continued to determine whether speed reductions are being maintained.
This should be accompanied by an expended crash analysis to ensure the program is meeting its goal of reducing
road trauma. DUS is sympathetically considering this extension.”

Wait? Isn’t that exactly what i said above? That the study should be completed so we can all be as confident (arrogant) as you Woody?

You ask “What makes you smarter than these guys?”
So you have to be smarter than the writers of a report to comment on it and agree with it’s recommendations?
In return i’ll ask what makes you feel fit to extrapolate their results to findings they don’t have and assume that the results cover areas not in the scope of the research?
Oh silly me, the standards you expect of everyone else don’t apply to your own comments right?

And seeing as you’ve shown a willful inability to read and a propensity to make shit up, i’ll re-clarify my opinion again:

Speed Cameras in well sited high accident zones can reduce crashes and fatalities significantly.
Using the results from these sites as justification for new camera sites at locations with lower crash rates and expecting to have the same results is wrong.
Using the results from these sites as justification for reduction in police presence and enforcement on our roads is wrong.

If the ACT government has completed the linked study they should release the results. I can’t find them and neither can Woody apparently.
If the study hasn’t been completed, the ACT government should use some of the revenue from speed cameras to complete it (at least the crash statistics). In particular I would like to see the study expanded and the following included:
-Expand the after period to the full 8-9 years of crash data between 2001-2010.
-Show the results from individual speed camera sites in the ACT.
-Compare the results with overall crash statistics and the road toll for the rest
of the ACT during the study period.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 6:39 pm 27 Jul 10

Oh, silly me. You did find the NRMA report. You just didn’t read it to the end. Quite unfair of me to call you thick for entirely the wrong reason.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 6:35 pm 27 Jul 10

Do you mean research of his own – or research involving reading the results of research done by others?

Heaven forbid I should rely on expert opinions from…well, experts. But please, put up your own research so we can all see how awesome you are.

The “I reckon” school of thought is not totally without merit…probably right…not sure

Oh well. So much for that.

And look! It’s the scarecrow, taking time off from his hunt for the Yellow Brick 100 Zone. What has he conjured forth from the damp straw in his pants today?

You don’t have the research for the ACT?

Oh, but of course I do, precious.

You could start here, seeing as though you’re either too stupid, too lazy or too disingenuous to Google for it. As I know you’re busy living in a fragile fantasy land, and doing things for yourself is taxing to your limited faculties, I’ll quote the overall conclusion for you:

In conclusion, it seems fair to assert that the ACT speed camera program has taken advantage of new technology and best practice experience in other jurisdictions to implement a very efficient and effective speed camera program over the past two years. The positive outcomes in terms of both speed and crash reduction have confirmed speed camera’s road safety value. Indeed, they are now accepted by the community in general as a valuable and valid deterrent to speeding and have become a stable and important element of the ACT’s road safety strategy.

I’ll leave you to nitpcik over ‘but in this para they say…’ and ‘but what about…’ and ‘…it increased speeding in this bit!’, ignoring that all of that has been factored into the final conclusion, and oblivious to the obvious question I keep asking and you keep ignoring: What makes you smarter than these guys?

Say hi to the Munchkinlanders for me!

Me no fry Me no fry 4:15 pm 27 Jul 10

Jim Jones said :

buzz819 said :

I understand where Woody is coming from, because he can read a website, it makes him feel akin to the boffins that write the report. This makes him feel as though he is superior to others.

The fact that he’s actually undertaken some research on this subject – as opposed to the rest of the posts that are supported by the in-depth work of the ‘I reckon’ institute – actually does make his opinion superior.

Do you mean research of his own – or research involving reading the results of research done by others? WMC obviously has a lot of time to devote to research, but I’m guessing (ooh, that’ll get me into trouble) that thinking up his stinging responses and phrasing his bludgeoning lines of argument also takes up a fair bit of time. How he does it with that fish-hook in his mouth is beyond me.

I’ve read the research as well. The “I reckon” school of thought is not totally without merit. Speed cameras have their place but they are not the silver bullet solution to the road toll that we were promised. And people are probably right to be deeply suspicious of the large amounts of money they bring in – not sure of the total amount but it’s getting close to 1 billion dollars for the whole of Australia.

I can’t help thinking that the focus on speed as a way to cut the road toll is ultimately going to prove far less productive than most people imagine. But that, of course, is just my personal opinion.

Jim Jones Jim Jones 3:53 pm 22 Jul 10

buzz819 said :

I understand where Woody is coming from, because he can read a website, it makes him feel akin to the boffins that write the report. This makes him feel as though he is superior to others.

The fact that he’s actually undertaken some research on this subject – as opposed to the rest of the posts that are supported by the in-depth work of the ‘I reckon’ institute – actually does make his opinion superior.

chewy14 chewy14 9:18 am 22 Jul 10

So Woody,
that’s a no?
You don’t have the research for the ACT?

Look,
as I said before, the speed cameras obviously make a big difference when properly sited in dangerous locations. Mobile cameras are better because they can cause deterrence even when they’re not operating in that exact area as shown in the Queensland study.

My point is, if they are so effective in the ACT, why hasn’t the ACT government paid for a study to prove as much or released the ones they have paid for. I’ve seen one report here:

http://www.monash.edu.au/cemo/roadsafety/abstracts_and_papers/081/edgara11.pdf

but it only looks at the 18months after implementation through to 2001. The paper suggests that the study should be continued to cover at least three years after implementation.

And fig 2 in this report shows the ACT deaths/100000 people:
http://www.tams.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/161338/Strategy_2007-2010_and_Action_Plan_2007-2008.pdf

Take one graduate, the crash statistics, a GIS system and they should be able to produce a report in a few months. Or if they have done the report, release it (or make it more accessible to the public) so everyone can see the difference.

Because as it stands now, there is a lot of cynicism in the community every time Stanhope announces another speed camera initiative.

Palifox Palifox 10:15 pm 21 Jul 10

“When politicians manipulate figures to justify their cause”

They’d never do that, would they?

Pork Hunt Pork Hunt 10:04 pm 21 Jul 10

Judging from comments @#31-33, it is unlikely that research would find that “common sense” chews his or her finger nails…

buzz819 buzz819 9:32 pm 21 Jul 10

You know what? I figured it out, Woody is ranting and raving about speed camera’s working, others are saying they may work, but not the way the ACT Government has implemented them, others are saying they just don’t work.

They should do a study, on the north side of Canberra have every single road with a speed camera on it, at least 1 km apart. In the south side have no speed camera’s. If there are no fatalities on the north side, but some on the south side, we have an answer, if there are some one the north side we get another answer.

I’m gonna go with the whole, an accident is a random thing that occurs at random places at random times. There are hundreds of different factors that cause accidents and fatalities- yes speed camera’s may stop one of the factors, but they do not stop them all.

I understand where Woody is coming from, because he can read a website, it makes him feel akin to the boffins that write the report. This makes him feel as though he is superior to others. As he feels superior he attempts to force his opinions onto other’s while not listening to their opinions. If he did in fact attempt to understand others opinions, and not start attacking them in a personal manner it would show that he wasn’t ignorant, which of course is not going to happen.

But I am able to say –
a) Speed camera’s do reduce accidents and fatalities at sites where they are;
b) The ACT Government has not placed Speed Camera’s in areas where these sites exist;
c) You can never precisely gauge how well a Speed Camera works (A site is selected because it is apparently unsafe, if you don’t put a camera there and people die just to see if it does work, well that’s just plan bad);
d) Accidents are random events that can not be predicted;
e) The ACT is to small of a jurisdiction for the yearly road toll to make any real difference (if it gets above 40 then maybe it’s a time to start thinking about some new ideas);
f) The only way to stop fatalities is to stop people driving;
g) The only way to reduce accidents is to reduce the amount of cars on the road.

In conclusion, accidents happen, they will continue to happen and they will remain around the same number they are now. There is always going to be a street where someone is speeding, someone is not paying attention, there is black ice on the road, someone is unfamiliar with the road, someone is drunk, someone is high etc.

Be happy, live life and don’t drive like a tool.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 8:59 pm 21 Jul 10

You’ve come up with very little substance in your posts

Apart from all those inconvenient studies and their statistics? I guess bolding them wasn’t enough for some.

When politicians manipulate figures to justify their cause

Do they use neuro linguistic programming? Or do you think it’s the flouride? When you walk down the cereal aisle do you think that toucan is mocking you?

You say Buzz819 is wrong.

No – I asked buzz819 a question. I said I should have bolded it, and you’ve confirmed that, because you seem to have missed it as well. I’d ask if you want to answer as well, though as I recall I asked you the exact same question in a previous thread and you ran. Maybe if I could mark it up in Comic Sans, then trace it with crayon…

I love watching everyone bait the Wood.

I love how whenever I post links to actual evidence the best anybody can ever do is try to make it all about me. It’d be sad if it wasn’t so pathetic. Oh wait – it can be both. My bad.

Palifox Palifox 8:54 pm 21 Jul 10

To Woody Mann-Caruso

“What was not reported was the number of vehicles passing the camera in that period.”

It was not reported. I don’t know how many vehicles passed the camera and most likely neither do you. Any reasonable guess at the numbers of vehicles passing must exceed 100,000 given the fact that Barry Drive is an arterial road. That is 3.31 vehicles per minute which would have to be a gross underestimate at some times of day, probably an overestimate between say 11pm and 5am.

This guesstimate gives us about 1.5% of the vehicles exceeding posted limits.

A crude count of speeders places the vehicle travelling at less than 5kph over the posted limit in the same bucket as those travelling at 5kph or far more over the limit. Now while I agree that exceeding speed limits is illegal, I am asking whether exceeding them by less than 5 kph poses as much danger as exceeding tham by 10 or 20 kph. Yes, the laws of physics do apply.

Observations and research recorded in several places around the world at several times which can be found at the Association of British Drivers site (which I will admit is anti-speed camera) and elsewhere shows that the vast majority of traffic travels at about the same speed, give or take a few kph. This is generally near posted limits, as far as my experience shows.

http://www.abd.org.uk/

I surmise from this that the majority of traffic was travelling less than 5kph above the posted limit. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, and there was none available in Canberra Times article to which I referred, I feel that that is a reasonable estimate.

In other words, a large minority of the 1450 speeders detected, perhaps even a majority were probably travelling at less than 5kph over posted limits.

The fact remains that the general public of the ACT was not informed of any breakdown of the data gathered. This I regarded as suspicious and still do.

I will put my hand up and confess to running red lights quite deliberately. On the four or five times I have done this, it was either after 11pm or just before 6am and there was no traffic on the cross roads. That entailed slowing to a halt or near halt and looking either way. On seeing nothing, I proceeded without regard to the signal. Now if I have done it, just perhaps some others have done it too under similar conditions.

Three weeks is 21 days. Presuming the detector was operating at night when there was very little traffic on the roads, it would have detected such an action. If that happened once per night in the three weeks, then 21 of the approximately 45 red light runners would have done so without actual risk. If it happened twice per night, then the number of “unsafe” red light runners was around four of the 45. Any number of drivers from zero to 45 might have run the red light without actual risk.

The fact that any such information was not readily available I regarded as suspicious and still do.

Further to this, it is not as if there were no speeding detectors operating before the introduction of fixed cameras. I seem to recall police operating grey boxes on tripods in the 1960s and hand held “guns” in the 1970s and later. Drivers have been aware of the possible presence of these things at any place on any road at any time since they appeared 45 or more years ago.

My point is that on the material presented in the CT article at the time there was no justification in introducing these devices.

Now it is true from the that the presence of fixed speed cameras in certain locations has reduced crash frequency, injuries and fatalities at those locations from the MUARC study. However this was not reflected in fatality rates for large jurisdictions as a whole. I base this on an article in “Policy” magazine for November 2005 and other material seen elsewhere since then.

In general, there has been a decline in road fatalities per billion passenger kilometres, per 10,000 or 100,000 registered vehicles or per head of population since about 1970, even since 1935 or 1936 if some reports I have seen are correct, such as that in “A Technical History of the Motor Car” (1989) by T.P. Newcombe and R.T. Spurr and a paragraph in the RACQ’s “Road Ahead” magazine some 25 years ago.

This decline was measurable in the United Kingdom and in Australia, including Queensland. According to the “Policy” article, the decline in the United Kingdom levelled off around the time speed cameras were introduced in the late 1980s. Now it may be true that the decline has resumed since then, but I have no information either way right at present. If the decline had followed its historical trend, then there was an expectation of many fewer fatalities five or six years after the introduction of the cameras in the UK, whether they had any effect or not. This did not happen; relative to expectations from the historical trend, fatalities increased. Either there was some unidentified factor causing an increase in fatalities and masking the effect of the cameras, the cameras had no effect, or they actually contributed to fatalities.

A further section of the Policy article pointed out that in Victoria which led New South Wales by about 18 months – 2 years in the introduction of fixed speed cameras, there was a decline in road fatalities which the Victorian government attributed to the cameras. However the same decline occurred in New South Wales at the same time, yet speed cameras had not then been introduced. It is possible that another factor was influential then, perhaps the economic downturn of the late 1980s. I also read that crashes, injuries and fatalities tend to decrease in drought years, according to insurance companies.

I confidently await further flames

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 8:39 pm 21 Jul 10

Muttsybignuts said :

I love watching everyone bait the Wood. I like the fact that he rises to the occasion every single time

Getting the Wood to rise is definitely one of my more enjoyable pastimes.

Very Busy Very Busy 7:02 pm 21 Jul 10

Woody you lose credibility (if you started with any) when you attack the person rather than the person’s argument. You’ve come up with very little substance in your posts other than personal attacks.

When politicians manipulate figures to justify their cause I laugh because I think that everyone can see through them. Woody has just made me realise that their spin will work on some. I guess there are many gullible people in this world.

And that’s MY personal attack.

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 6:00 pm 21 Jul 10

OK Woody, you carry on believing in the infallibility of focussed researchers and I’ll carry on believing that there’s a lot more to human behaviour than researchers in a different discipline can fully grasp.

Your single minded defence of the research, with ne’er the possibility that there may be other considerations, is reminiscent of a Catholic’s unshakeable belief in a book written 2000 years ago.

chewy14 chewy14 4:35 pm 21 Jul 10

No Woody,
sometimes a question is just a question. It’s usually followed by a question mark. See?

Once again, I have no doubt that speed cameras have lowered the accident rate in the ACT.
How much though is questionable and unless you have the specific research then you’re just assuming. The Queensland study and figures are specific to the Queensland locations.

You say Buzz819 is wrong. Show with specific evidence to the ACT how?
A reference to crash statistics at the speed camera locations in the ACT would also be handy. Then we can all be as confident in their application as you.

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