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Queens Birthday Road Toll - Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

, posted: 7-Jun-2010 21:52

I just read on Stuff an article blathering that the Police are touting their new speed limit enforcement rules as "The Reason" for the lowest Queens Birthday road toll in ages.  This is rubbish! The horrible weather that we've all had to put up with is the reason - most people have stayed home and off SH1. Also, considering the conditions, in-town driving has been slow & careful as well. As @freitasm said in one of his tweets - inattention is the cause of accidents, not the speed. Said inattention is usually related to booze/drugs, and driver tiredness. Speed doesn't usually come into it.

The media will say what they are told to say - the facts are unimportant.

There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.


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Comment by Simon, on 7-Jun-2010 22:57

Umm... no. Wet weather causes statistically far more accidents than it prevents - including those of the fatal variety. Check you facts before commenting publicly douche. The police have done a great job.

Comment by DeroyBoy, on 7-Jun-2010 23:30

Totally agree. Not saying the police don't do a good job, but it is a stretch to say this little thing magically saved a whole bunch of lives.

Comment by kiwitrc, on 8-Jun-2010 07:49

Also agree, we were going to go away but stayed home due to the weather, mate did go away and said the roads were empty compared to other holiday weekends.

Comment by corksta, on 8-Jun-2010 07:50

The media NEVER say what they are told to say - they put whatever bias is needed on a story to convey the tone of the article. Totally agree that facts are unimportant to them, which is why they usually get things wrong or inaccurate because they say what they want to say.

Besides, this morning's article on Stuff clearly states the police as saying their zero tolerance trial only partly contributed to the low toll.

I don't think anyone has ever said speed causes accidents, but it doesn't take a physicist to know that you can't beat the laws of physics, and if you're going to crash you kind of want to be impacting something at the lowest speed possible.

Having said that, inattention and speed are intertwined - you're speeding, you become distracted and have to brake suddenly for a hazard, your excess speed reduces the amount of time you have available to react to that hazard, you crash. Exactly like the ad on TV showing that guy sliding into a power pole because he was speeding and couldn't stop in time due to his speed, even though he took the same amount of time to react.

You still sure that "speed doesn't usually come into it"? 

Comment by freitasm, on 8-Jun-2010 09:14

"Drivers losing control (34% of crashes), inattention (25%), alcohol (22%), failing to give way (21%) and travelling too fast for conditions (19%) were the most common driver factors contributing to crashes."

The problem with "managing" inattention is that it's impossible. Alcohol control would require NZ Police to stop quite a few drivers to get some positivies. "Failing to give way" is hard to manage to, because would require police officers to stay in busy intersections, with low chance of actually getting people if it's not safe for them to jump on the road to follow up.

So they go for the easy one, by no means the biggest cause of accidents...

Comment by freitasm, on 8-Jun-2010 09:24

A very good point though, someone mentioned to me, is that speed is not a cause, but a factor. It becomes more relevants as faster the driver(s) are.

Comment by Linuxluver, on 8-Jun-2010 11:18

Agree with Corksta. One of the reasons I usually refuse to pay for newspapers these days is their (Fairfax and APN) now profound tendency to push their own political barrows through their respective monopolies in the cities they operate in.

For example, once the NZ Herald's realised Len Brown (Auckland mayoral candidate) was 11 points ahead of their man John Banks, they began a campaign against Brown that is overt and not at all subtle.

They saw their man John Banks was behind in the polls and they are doing all they can to boost him and sink Brown. 

They can do that if they like, but I'm stuffed if I'm going to give them any of my money.  

That they do this makes EVERY thing in their publication suspect. No thanks.  

Comment by Linuxluver, on 8-Jun-2010 11:22

More on topic. I noticed the only fatality involved speed, booze and no seat belts. 


It looks like it was in one of those ares where the police have no coverage after 1am.  

I used to live in the Manawatu. Outside Palmerston North there is effectively no on-the-road policing between 1am and 6am. The crims love it as they know the nearest police response is easily 20 minutes away in places like Shannon, Foxton and Himatangi. Drink driving simply is almost never a risk at these hours.   

Comment by James, on 8-Jun-2010 13:27

In 2008, the tolerance was 10k, QB weekend road toll was.... 3 Of course, I suppose that is the statistical anomally as far as the police/media/government is concerned.

Comment by winli, on 8-Jun-2010 16:00

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Comment by wmoore, on 9-Jun-2010 08:43

" Exactly like the ad on TV showing that guy sliding into a power pole because he was speeding and couldn't stop in time due to his speed, even though he took the same amount of time to react."

No it was nothing to do with speed. It was inattention that caused that accident. And what if he was on a 70km driving at 65km and the same thing happened, he wasn't 'speeding' was he ?
if he had applied COAST.
Concentration, Consideration, Courtesy, Observation, Anticipation, Awareness, Attitude, Space (your safety space all about you) and Two second rule, Time for journey & Time to react.

Comment by vexxxboy, on 9-Jun-2010 09:04

nit sure where i heard it but in the UK some university did a study on what was the real causes of accidents and they found that only %7 were attributable to speed as the only cause

Comment by Balchy, on 9-Jun-2010 14:41

Correllation does NOT equal causation!

Comment by GBristow, on 9-Jun-2010 21:14

I agree. Speeding is rarely the sole cause of an accident. It makes them worse, but there is usually another cause. As has been the case over the last decade or so, advertising campaigns about speeding are there for one reason only: justification of incredible amounts of police hours spent on generating more revenue through fines. Who needs to catch murderers when we can have police sitting on the side of the road catching people going 4km over the limit?

Comment by NonprayingMantis, on 10-Jun-2010 11:30

speed might not cause accidents, but it certianly makes them a *lot* worse.

simple high school physics should tell you that.

Comment by oxnsox, on 10-Jun-2010 16:37

Don't think you can blame the weather. 
How many 3 day weekends have we had in the last umpteen years where the toll has been 1???   They can't all have been equally poor in the weather department.

Comment by SpeedyWiz, on 12-Jun-2010 14:11

I traveled across the North Island for 5hrs on Saturday and 5hrs again on Monday, at speeds that a normal person could not comprehend (officially my max speed was 101kmh, lol). If I travelled at 90kmh, I would have fallen asleep or got bored and had an accident. When going a little bit faster, I wake up and take note, cause you kinda have to. I only saw 1 speed camera (spot them a mile away, hence the attention part) and 2 cops (one in Rotorua 60kmh area giving out some tickets already) There was next to no cars on the road, hence passing slow lines of cars was easy, and with no chances really to get impatient. It was the quietest roads I've seen in years. I love the classic; cars and large trucks that travel at 85kmh, then speed up to 110 on a passing lane, they seem to think that they are safer further away from the center line or something, and drive faster on passing lanes.

Comment by SpeedyWiz, on 12-Jun-2010 14:26

I think parked speed camera vehicles are the best invention ever.. it catches those that are speeding and those that aren't paying attention.. the very worst kind of offender. Its good having more paid police on the roads, even if the income comes from speeders. Police are well trained in CPR etc.. the more of them out there, the more chance of survival after an accident. Also when there is a murderer loose with a gun, there is more police on the roads that come rushing to save the day.

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