Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It's not the toll that counts!



Lately the media have woken up to a statistical fact that the current road toll is at a lower level but omit the main factors that have brought this about.

What are the number of crashes that make up those stats and the ratio of dead?

Most cars built in the last 15 or so years have had the still improving and increasingly effective SRS systems that undoubtably, in conjunction with seat belts, reduce the damage to the occupants of vehicles.

When Fire service and ambulance, volly or paid, arrive at the scene they initiate basic life support in situ many times faster than in earlier years. What used to be "the golden hour" where patients were much better equipped to survive trauma by receiving intensive care within one hour of the crash has now largely been superceded by better systems and early intervention being delivered to victims "in Situ".

Modern Vehicles are so much better able to resist intrusion and impact with basic design enhancement.

IMHO the major efforts by police to attack speed and all drug impairment are in reality very minor in their impact on the Road Toll but it makes great copy.
It also makes plod look good.

The two biggest advances available to authorities to continue the downward trends in deaths are Road design and driver training. The former is abysmally behind what is needed and the latter is appalling.
Why do we give a licence to drive a car/ute/high performance vehicle to candidates asked to provide evidence of a standard equivilant to The age old image of "a little old lady only driving to church".
Why dont we ask all candidates to demonstrate their capability to handle a car (they provide) on a race track with water/oil/ smooth surface at the sort of speed we all know they will attempt sooner rather than later.
Why do we prohibit a tyro motorcyclist from riding anything over 250 cc but allow anyone passing the basic "learner" test to get into a horozontal bomb just waiting to explode ie a wrx or similar.

Yes the death toll is lower but the crashes are if anything rising as are the patients in ICU, so lets have a little more analysis and less repeating the 'good news' suitably spun by the wordsmiths at police HQ.

20 comments:

Judge Holden said...

"The two biggest advances available to authorities to continue the downward trends in deaths are Road design and driver training. "

Evidence? No? Thought not.

"IMHO the major efforts by police to attack speed and all drug impairment are in reality very minor in their impact on the Road Toll..."

Evidence? No? Thought not.

"Why dont we ask all candidates to demonstrate their capability to handle a car (they provide) on a race track with water/oil/ smooth surface at the sort of speed we all know they will attempt sooner rather than later."

'coz it would be enormously expensive and probably counterproductive nanny state stupidity.

"so lets have a little more analysis..."

Yes let's. Maroon.

Shane Ponting said...

Speed doesn't kill. Until that sentence becomes something other than a blasphemy the whole debate is a waste of time......

Judge Holden said...

"Speed doesn't kill."

Yaaaaaaawn. Driving around built up neighbourhoods at 150km/h is harmless if you're a good driver innit? Do you have a point?

Anonymous said...

Alas JH, some one always has to take a sensible comment and expand the intention to a ridiculous situation that was not what was intended and no one sensible would defend. The police will love you for being stupid and compliant.

Its funny that with 40 years of progress my driving time between any main centres probably hasn't changed much.

Simon said...

Price of petrol is help keeping the idiots off the road or restricting time on the road. If petrol was $3 a liter the road toll would continue to drop.

Psycho Milt said...

Evidence? No? Thought not.

It's a matter of balance of probabilities.

On the one hand, car manufacturers are building cars now that will let you walk away from crashes that would have killed you instantly a few decades back, and emergency medical response teams are better able to keep people alive than they were a few decades back.

On the other hand, the cops are claiming that the road toll has reduced because they've successfully changed human nature with their policing methods.

One of the above is way, way more likely to account for the reduced road toll than the other. It's anyone backing the ridiculously less likely option that's in need of some evidence.

Judge Holden said...

"One of the above is way, way more likely to account for the reduced road toll than the other. It's anyone backing the ridiculously less likely option that's in need of some evidence."

Rubbish on two counts. He's the one making the claims, he's the one who needs to show proof. Your first assertion is also an unfounded opinion and possibly false. Seat belt and drink drive laws and their enforcement have had excellent results, so it's not ridiculously less likely that such measures have had an impact on a par with those from improvements in vehicle design.

Anyway, there's a ton of research out there which attempts to attribute interventions to outcomes on road safety. This shows enforcement of road rules is effective in reducing crashes. You guys are just squawking 'coz you like driving fast..

Anonymous said...

UK research into speed related accidents found on re-examining the details of each crash, that the vast majority of vehicles (from memory it was over 80%) were travelling below the posted speed limit at the time of the crash.

The main reason Police continue to do speed and drink driving blitzes is because a significant element of police revenue comes from ACC who pay police for speed and drink driving blitzes.

Fact: following the 1987 sharemarket crash the number of accidents on New Zealand roads plummeted. The same level of accidents were not reached again until the mid to late nineties (and that was with a significant increase inpopulation and registered vehicles). From Insurance Industry statistics.

Fact: Accident and Death statistics correlate with bad weather when measured by region. This alone would suggest there is something in Gravedodger's thinking.

Drink driving is not a problem on New Zealand roads. We have a problem with a few recidivist drink drivers that there are more effective ways to deal with than inconveniencing the rest of the population. Drink driving was fixed back in the eighties by SADD and MADD.

Similarly there is no speeding problem on our roads. We just need to teach people to drive to the conditions. 120kph to 150kph on a clear Southern motorway in a good vehicle is not dangerous. Speed doesn't kill - having accidents does. Teaching people how to handle their vehicles in tricky situations and avoiding accidents will solve a lot of our problems. Of course that takes investment in time and money and does not provide the instant gratification of being 'seen to do something'(tm).

Paranormal

Judge Holden said...

"Teaching people how to handle their vehicles in tricky situations and avoiding accidents will solve a lot of our problems."

That's simply false. You have no evidence to support this assertion. It would be costly ineffective nanny statism.

"Accident and Death statistics correlate with bad weather when measured by region. This alone would suggest there is something in Gravedodger's thinking."

No it doesn't. It suggests people drive too fast for conditions.

"Drink driving is not a problem on New Zealand roads."

Yeah, what's 100 deaths a year? Anyway, to the extent that's true it's a consequence of effective laws and enforcement.

Psycho Milt said...

Your first assertion is also an unfounded opinion and possibly false. Seat belt and drink drive laws and their enforcement have had excellent results, so it's not ridiculously less likely that such measures have had an impact on a par with those from improvements in vehicle design.

The car manufacturers and safety organisations that have spent millions over the last 40 years testing and publishing the results of vehicle crash testing would be surprised to hear the increased protection of a vehicle's occupants over that time described as "unfounded opinion." Also, seat belts are one of those improved safety features. They very definitely save lives, but that's down to the vehicle manufacturers - whether additional lives are saved by the cops dishing out tickets to imbeciles who don't wear the belts is a matter of conjecture.

Judge Holden said...

"The car manufacturers and safety organisations that have spent millions over the last 40 years testing and publishing the results of vehicle crash testing would be surprised to hear the increased protection of a vehicle's occupants over that time described as "unfounded opinion.""

I've no doubt that's true Milt. I never said that, however. You're being disingenuous.

You claim that vehicle design (which is in itself influenced by regulation and government education campaigns) explains road toll reductions and road rules and their enforcement do not. That assertion is ridiculous, and you have no evidence for it, because there is none. There are a number of factors of which enforcement strategy around seat belt use, drink driving etc is one, which have had demonstrably positive effects. Others include marketing campaigns, road design, advances in emergency care and safer vehicles. That's undeniable, except by oddballs who think rules are bad m'kay.

Anonymous said...

Now it is you Judge Holden that is talking through a hole in your head.

Driver training is recognised by the insurance industry globally as a prime way to change a fleet accident record. The evidence is before me every day in my job. The fact that insurance companies see a direct benefit of investing in driver training through improved loss statistics surely says it all.

And yes we have solved the drink driving problem in New Zealand by massive change in social attitude towards drink driving brought about by groups like Sadd and Madd. As I noted we do have a problem with recidivist drink drivers that are far better sorted with focussed policing. Focused policing would solve your 100 deaths a year far quicker than the socialist state police everyone that doesn't solve the problem of recidivist drink drivers.

Paranormal

Judge Holden said...

"Driver training is recognised by the insurance industry globally as a prime way to change a fleet accident record."

Not the kind you're talking about chief. Bottom line is that it's at best a waste of money and at worst counterproductive. And training is not a "prime" way to improve crash rates. The right training, focused on intelligent decision making and risk management at the right time might have a marginal impact, that's it.

"Focused policing would solve your 100 deaths a year far quicker than the socialist state police everyone that doesn't solve the problem of recidivist drink drivers."

It's not that simple (you guys like simplicity I know). Drink drivers aren't all hardened alcoholics. SADD and MADD do an OK job, but they're small beer. You still need large scale social marketing backed up by enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Well you're wrong there about the training JH. I've proved it repeatedly over years of assisting clients to improve their loss records.

The real issue is we don't train our drivers before they hit the road. We give them the basics on road rules and then send them out to learn how to handle a car on their own. A lucky few get to learn through involvement in motorsport about car handling, decision making and risk management, but the majority of our drivers only have very basic skills. That's why our crash stats are so bad.

GD is right - the LTSA has been measuring the wrong metric for years, but that suits them perfectly as it means they don't have to address the real issues.

Paranormal

Judge Holden said...

"Well you're wrong there about the training JH. I've proved it repeatedly over years of assisting clients to improve their loss records."

Proved what exactly? Where are your stats? There are several international studies showing that driver training of the type you want to compel everyone to do is worse than useless, but that's ok I'll take the word of some anonymous dude on the internet.

"A lucky few get to learn through involvement in motorsport about car handling, decision making and risk management..."

Wrong again. Those involved in motorsport have no better crash records that anyone else. Some studies have shown they're worse.

Anonymous said...

Snap on taking the word of some anonymous dude on the internet. All we've seen from you is invective - no stats either.

You won't see my stats because it's by company. Over the years we have proven time and again that driver training works by reducing companies crash stats.

But enough about what I do lets look at the reality. Insurance companies would not spend money on it if it didn't work. Simple. Have a look at http://www.lumley.co.nz/home/products-and-services/torque-fleet-risk-management/crash-prevention-seminars-and-training
for a start.

Oh, and where's your proof about motorsport involvement not assisting drivers to understand how cars behave in situations and improve their outcomes?

You can argue stats all you like but training people to handle cars and to drive to the conditions is simple common sense that's missing at the moment from the likes of the smug idiots at
LTNZ or whatever they're called this week.

Paranormal

Judge Holden said...

"You can argue stats all you like but training people to handle cars and to drive to the conditions is simple common sense..."

You can't produce any evidence that creating a massive compliance burden on expanding the nanny state would be effective so you're falling back on "it's simple common sense". The actual evidence says otherwise. Look it up.

"Over the years we have proven time and again that driver training works by reducing companies crash stats."

But you can't show this. Proved nothing then. Besides you're talking about completely different cohorts and incentives. It's complicated for you I know, but you can't just take a result from one cohort and apply it as a universal truth. Sorry pal.

Judge Holden said...

And because you'll be too lazy to look up the facts, here are some:

http://www.ambulancedriving.com/research/r-s-user-trainer.html

Strane that you should advocate such expensive and counterproductive nanny statism. I thought you guys didn't like that short of thing.

Psycho Milt said...

You claim that vehicle design (which is in itself influenced by regulation and government education campaigns) explains road toll reductions and road rules and their enforcement do not.

Now it's you being disingenuous. I said the known improvements in vehicle design and medical response are far more likely explanations for the lowered toll than police methods and advertising, the benefits of which are not known but are wildly guessed at via the social sciences. They probably have contributed to some unknown degree, but the likelihood is it's a very much smaller degree than advances in vehicle design and emergency response.

Judge Holden said...

"I said the known improvements in vehicle design and medical response are far more likely explanations for the lowered toll than police methods and advertising..."

That's pretty much what I said you said. Anyway, there's been heaps of work on attribution, by economists (social scientists granted) and statisticians, which shows vehicle and road engineering, good rules with enforcement and education campaigns all play a part in reducing crashes. The assertion that only a couple of these work is provably false.

What demonstrably doesn't work is expensive, nanny state mass driver training that GD and paranormal would like. Or to the extent it might work it would be in pricing people off the roads (while increasing crashes per licence holder), but that isn't something they'd want given the right's love of the motor vehicle as a symbol of sweet, sweet freedom.