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DEADLY ROADS!!! as crap happens

By 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.

What’s Your opinion?

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53 Responses to
DEADLY ROADS!!! as crap happens
Palifox 7:12 am 21 Jul 10

Speed and red light cameras were introduced on specious grounds, after a “trial” on Barry Drive which detected about 1450 speeders and about 45 red light runners in three weeks. Those were about the numbers reported in the Canberra Times several years ago.

What was not reported was the number of vehicles passing the camera in that period. I don’t wonder why.

Also not reported were the times at which the red lights were run. One or two drivers running a red light every morning between 1 am and 4 am when there was no traffic on the cross road would account for a large minority or the majority of the 45.

As for the speeders, there was no indication of the numbers exceeding posted limits by less than 5kph. This would almost cetainly account for a large minority of them, perhaps the majority.

There is very little evidence from anywhere in the world that speed cameras have had any effect on road deaths. In fact, in some large jurisdictions like the United Kingdom the introduction of speed cameras has coincided with a levelling off of road deaths to a fairly constant year to year figure, in comparison to a time averaged decline before their introduction. Thus it could be argued that they have contributed to road deaths in the UK. This appears to be true of some Australian states too.

The ACT, being a small jusrisdiction will have fluctuating total number of road deaths every year. No single measure can affect it when it is highly sensitive to the numbers killed in any particular crash.

By the way, my only speeding ticket was in 1978.

BundahBoy 9:35 pm 20 Jul 10

I agree with Trollsniffer lets bring the in death penalty (or deportation to a hellish island). That should keep the road toll down.

colourful sydney rac 4:16 pm 20 Jul 10

Growling Ferret, 4Chan called and asked if you could try harder.

Postalgeek 4:09 pm 20 Jul 10

I get the issue of variance, low numbers and spikes. But as a motorcyclist, and having been subjected to the particularly mindless manner of some drivers on the road, I would say that dismissing motorcyclists, or cyclists, or pedestrians from the road toll is to not hold car drivers accountable for their deaths, which is often the case.

astrojax 3:46 pm 20 Jul 10

and to take issue with troll sniffer and ck, you may refer to motorcyclists as ‘temporary australians’ or other glib epithets, but they are legitimate road users (i wonder, do these figures include cyclists and pedestrians?) and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand to show that the road toll is actually quite low…

mully’s folly taking his own life one might excise from the toll, but the three others he took were legitimately on the road with legitimate expectations that no other road user would simply wipe them out. to suggest they be excised from the tally is sick and thoughtless.

and i still wonder why the government enforces double demerit points for long weekends when, statistically, these weekends rarely differ in their road tolls from any other given weekend (ok, the cynic’s reply aside, ‘revenue’)

astrojax 3:40 pm 20 Jul 10

since 1980 the toll nationally has halved – in the same time to population has increased by some 45%. not sure of the increased number of vehicles ont he road, but assume it has near doubled?

Clown Killer 3:34 pm 20 Jul 10

I didn’t see it as a troll Postalgeek.

If you look at the figures, the Mully Williams incident amounted to pouring some chlorine into the shallow end of the gene pool.

Likewise, motor cyclists are commonly refered to as “Temporary Australians” or “Organ Donors” simply because of the inherant risk of riding a bike means that they are far more likely to be show up in any consideration of road fatality statistics.

I believe though that the issue is that the ACT road toll has considerable potential to show a fair degree of variance year-to-year so there’s little to be gained from comparimng the score this year with what happened last year.

Postalgeek 3:00 pm 20 Jul 10

Growling Ferret said :

From a media release

‘The Territory’s road toll for 2009 was 12 – two less than in 2007 and 2008.’

Let me get this straight. Its 17 at the moment.
Canberra’s population is probably 370,000 ish.

Mully killed 4 in one hit. Takes it down to 13.
Maybe 6 motor cyclists have died this year?

So 7 people have died in accidents. Sounds about right.

Just another beat up.

If this a troll then you get a golf clap, but in case it isn’t, stats are not your forte. Where do you derive the logic to subtract a family from the road toll because the collision is linked to car thieves? And subtracting motorcyclists? Wtf? The fact that you believe in ‘accidents’ pretty much says it all.

troll-sniffer 2:18 pm 20 Jul 10

Pschology at work. When you take away a community’s feeling of being responsible for their own actions (ever more stringent speed restrictions etc) a certain percentage toe the line and a certain percentage just as equally rebel. No amount of pointless draconian road laws, speed cameras, advertising campaigns etc is ever going to overcome this basic human behaviour.

Want an historic clue? In the 1700s you could be hung by the neck until dead or shipped off to the other side of the world for stealing a oaf of bread. Did the prospect of ever more fearsome punishments put a stop to these crimes? I rest my case.

Growling Ferret 1:29 pm 20 Jul 10

From a media release

‘The Territory’s road toll for 2009 was 12 – two less than in 2007 and 2008.’

Let me get this straight. Its 17 at the moment.
Canberra’s population is probably 370,000 ish.

Mully killed 4 in one hit. Takes it down to 13.
Maybe 6 motor cyclists have died this year?

So 7 people have died in accidents. Sounds about right.

Just another beat up.

georgesgenitals 1:23 pm 20 Jul 10

“And the award for Most Original Thread goes to…”

Thumper 12:52 pm 20 Jul 10

We need more speed cameras.

No doubt about it. The roadtoll proves it.

Lazy I 12:37 pm 20 Jul 10

If the road toll goes down the government want praise.
If the road toll goes up the people get blamed.

Rollersk8r 11:23 am 20 Jul 10

Completely agree! Canberra’s road toll is always blown out of proportion. NSW have just re-introduced a total of SIX mobile speed cameras for the whole state! Stanhope etc were happy to take credit for speed cameras saving lives while the small and variable toll was going downwards – but what will they say now, especially when the ACT surely has more fixed and mobile cameras per head than anywhere else in the country.

While any death (or serious injury) on the road is a very tragic and traumatic thing, I think the toll is about as low as it’s going to get – even with double points every long weekend etc. I’m not endorsing speeding and I haven’t had a single traffic fine since cameras were introduced in the ACT but I’m tired of being told speed cameras save lives when they’re clearly very little relationship between fines and deaths.

Spectra 10:33 am 20 Jul 10

I still recall a few years ago as a newsreader breathlessly reported that our road toll for some holiday period or other was “4 times that of the same period last year!”. Clearly, we were facing a crisis in road safety and drastic action needed to be taken. The fact that the numbers in question were 1 and 4, and that all 4 had been in the one (tragic, of course) accident, didn’t seem to factor into the question of how to report this “statistic”.

Lies, damn lies, statistics, and road safety statistics.

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