Idiots, just idiots

Lincolnshire has the most dangerous roads in the country with the most drivers, passengers and pedestrians being killed, according to a new report.

People living in rural communities are the most likely to be “killed or seriously injured” on the roads, according to findings publishedon Thursday by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTs) and Direct Line Car Insurance.

Since vehicles travel faster on rural roads and there are fewer traffic calming measures, this leads to more “high speed impact collisions”.

Meanwhile, many large towns and small cities have casualty rates below the national average. Bath, for example, has a casualty rate 51 per cent below the national average.

This is absolutely bloody useless unless you are comparing deaths and injuries “per mile traveled”.

Because people who live further away from things tend to travel longer distances to get to things…..

14 thoughts on “Idiots, just idiots”

  1. I think it is harsh to say it is utterly useless.

    If you have two places with equal populations and in one of them the fatality rate per resident is much higher then the other, then by focusing on that area you can have the biggest impact on the absolute number of fatalities.

    By focusing on the area with the highest number of fatalities per passenger mile you may fix a relative problem, but save fewer lives.

  2. I would imagine it’s pretty difficult in Bath to get up to the sort of speeds where you might kill someone.

  3. Someone should explain this to the Scumera Pratnerships.

    If the M1 has 2 accidents a year, and a cart track in the Highlands has 1 accident a year, the M1 *isnt* the more dangerous road.

  4. Paul,

    It is in absolute terms.

    Imagine you have two identical crossroads which both have the same flaw in their design.

    One junction has two cars pass through it each day and one driver is always killed.

    The other has 100,000 cars pass through it each day and 10,000 people are killed.

    You are the local traffic safety planner, you have £50k to fix just one of them, which do you choose?

    You, and Tim, and confusing exposure from the POV of the driver, with prevention from the POV of the people with the power to reduce road deaths.

    As a driver, logic would tell me I’m safer using the junction with 10,000 deaths; as a planner I can have the biggest impact on road safety by addressing the junction with the lower fatality rate.

  5. It’s the winding country roads that are hard to pass on that are the killers. There’s always some impatient bozo who tries to overtake when they shouldn’t.

  6. Magnusw
    agreed – and the figure is useful from a consumer point of view. We now know that living in Lincolnshire seems to increase your chance if dying in a car accident. Whether that’s because you have to drive miles to buy a pint of milk, or because Lincolnshire drivers are maniacs doesn’t really matter if you’re deciding where to live.

  7. Not sure about Lincolnshire having only ever been there once, but if it is anything like the Fens to the South then it won’t have “winding country roads” but endless straight roads with ditches on the side.

    I remember an accident black spot on the A11 in Norfolk. This was a perfectly straight stretch of road a few miles long. People would fly along it at 70mph plus, overtaking, etc. one problem – farmers used it too, and often would be stationary waiting to turn right in a huge tractor. A recipe for carnage.

  8. I assume that everyone in Bath drives those electric trolleys-for-the-disabled things.

    (We used to live in a village when those things were new. One appeared; a noun was obviously required. The village adopted “chariot”.)

  9. Quite, the report also briefly touches on the aspect of post-crash medical care which has a significant impact on survival rates and distances involved could be said to be a factor in this if it takes the medical team longer to reach you.

    Ultimately though, the usefulness of knowing the absolute casualty rates rather than the relative rates is about the allocation of those oh so important scarce resources.

    As I said earlier it is interesting for a driver to know which roads have the highest relative risk, but the planners need to know which has the highest absolute risk so they can allocate those resources to have the greatest impact, in my hyperbolic example £50k to save one life or £50k to save 10,000.

  10. Distance from hospital is also a factor. A “life threatening injury” is less likely to result in death if you can get to a hospital quickly. Medical care prevents the conversion of an injury into a death, at rates of up to 80% if I recall correctly.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1124155/

    If you live in a rural area, there is generally a higher road fatality rate as well as a higher murder rate, though the rate of serious road traffic accidents and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm may be no higher.

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