Sunday, July 11, 2004

Another spin on the road toll

Some 18 fewer people have died on the roads so far this year, compared with the same period last year. The 25 to 39-year-old age group saw the biggest drop in road fatalities, down by almost a half over last year. That alone is the reason.

But let's see what went up. In fact most categories went up. All but the 0-14 and 25-39 age bands have gone up. Compared to last year, there have been more deaths on the road this year in the months January, February, June and so far this month.

Total killed during:

2003 2004

January 38 41
February 35 36
March 44 42
April 46 29
May 35 27
June 33 39
July 7 8

According to TVNZ, the number of road deaths in 2004 is tracking at the same level as 2002 - which had the lowest road toll in 40 years at 404. Yet figures from the LTSA year to July show that more people have died on the roads in the past 12 months than in the 12 months to June 2003.

The Governments target is 300 road deaths a year from 2010. So far there's 225, and it's only July. In addition, we have had the lowest six- month road toll since records began. These figures tell us that the Government has a lot of work to do - but they`ve got a few years to do it.

It's interesting comparing YTD and calender figures, as they can tell different stories. But what both sets of figures do show is that we have a lot of work to do to keep the road toll down - perhaps the road toll is actually going up since speed cameras were introduced.
Perhaps the LTSA could do some surveying on how many deaths there are in speed camera areas, including those caused by slowing down abruptly to avoid getting nicked. Then we will all have proof that it is not speed cameras that keep the road toll down, they just bring in money to be used on things other than road safety.

Anyway, fewer than 30 per cent of road deaths are said to be caused by speeding. Also 85 per cent of all crashes happen under the posted speed limit, and 70 per cent of all speed-camera tickets are issued for driving 11 to 15 km/h over the limit. Drivers travelling 21 km/h or more over the limit make up less than 10 per cent of those ticketed.

One thing that may contribute in keeping the road toll down is dangerous pursuits by police.

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