French buzz - H.F. Smith
Go to France if you want a buzz in your fast car. According to this week's "Canard Enchaine", motorway police allow a leeway of 30 k.p.h. over the maximum speed (in good conditions) of 130 k.p.h. , plus another 10 k.p.h. to allow for radar inaccuracies. This makes about 106 m.p.h. - and explains a lot, including no doubt the 8000 deaths from traffic accidents in 2000. Enjoy it while you live.
Abuse of statistics - Guy Lacey
.......please do tell how many of those deaths were directly attributable to excessive speed, how many were speed at the levels you say and how many were on the motorway?

Statistics such as those you quote are being abused to support the arguement the writer has set out to win and, therefore, biased.

I would bet pint of Natch that the majority of vehicle deaths in France are on rural roads.
Re: Abuse of statistics - Nick Ireland
Same nonsense with statistics in UK. It is 'claimed' that speed cameras have reduced deaths in one county by 25%, for instance. However we are not told if the reduction has taken place on roads where the cameras are installed. Most accidents are probably happening on country roads with bad corners, blind brows etc and no cameras. I think we should be told!
Re: Abuse of statistics - Andrew Tarr
Guy - More knee-jerk b*ll*x!! Stats are always quoted to support any argument a writer wants to win - and are just as often ignored by readers who don't intend to believe them. Ultimately numbers are just bandied about meaninglessly. How does anyone know which numbers are to be believed - if any?
Re: Abuse of statistics - Steve
Are there any statistics I wonder detailing the numbers of accidents caused by speed reducing measures.

It seems to me the placement of speed cameras, in apparently already accident blackspots, causing drivers to brake sharply and often blinding oncoming traffic with their double flash, especially in the dark, is a safety hazard in itself.

And what about the other methods, speed humps, chicanes, road signs purposely placed to confuse, built up roundabouts so its impossible to see traffic approaching all things designed to reduce speed but also create hazards.

Seems pretty perverse logic to me to introduce danger in the name of safety.

Re: Abuse of statistics - um
From the Re: Keystone cops..... thread

the hard facts are there to be looked at but the politically correct messages are wrong!

for instance

Is speed a contributing factor in most road accidents?
The short and politically incorrect answer is no. And here's why.
TRL Report 323 entitled "A new system for recording contributary factors in road accidents" was a joint project between the TRL and the
DETR (Department of Environment, Transport and Regions). It was designed to give true figures for the real causes of accidents taken across 8 representative police forces over 6 months. They devised a system based on two main categories: what went wrong, and why? Each of those is divided into subcategories such as failures of the driver or rider, failures of pedestrians etc.


you should also hunt down figures for the number of accidents where the pedestrian is drunk (and typically the driver looses non claims at the very least)...

we need much safter roads, based on real science and statistics and reinforcing good driving (and pedestrianship), not dumbed down simple (and just plain wrong) messages about speed...

And MUCH better policing - the boys at the top of our police forces are just darlings of the politicians and lots of their troops know it...
Re: Abuse of statistics - H.F. Smith
The only statistic I quoted was 8000 and this is obviously a rounded figure. "No doubt" indicates a conjecture.

The article was based on a report from the French highways authority (Ponts et Chaussées) and seems to be unbiased, with no particular "argument" evident. The report also notes that lorries often "stall" on the hard shoulder while drivers turn their attention to their in-cab TVs, sometimes clobbering maintenance staff in the process!

The French population is aging (as it our own) and older drivers have more extended reaction times, perhaps inadequate for high speeds. I find the most alarming feature of lesser roads in France the speed with which cars, wanting to join from the right, race up to the edge of the major road, stopping just short but giving the impression they are not going to make it. At the same time, one sees a lot of cars in France with the driver's door bashed in, as if they sometimes don't.
Re: Abuse of statistics - Stuart B
I realise that I am making a comment on a speeding thread again but here goes.

um said
> ?TRL Report 323 entitled "A new system for recording contributory factors in road accidents" was a joint project between the TRL and the DETR (Department of Environment, Transport and Regions). It was designed to give true figures for the real causes of accidents taken across 8 representative police forces over 6 months.? >

Sorry to disappoint but this is simply not true:
The project of which report 323 is part of the output was NOT designed to give statistically true figures of accident causation. The project task was a study of *how to collect data.* The study used a sample of accidents from a sample of areas in order to test the data collection system. This was not a statistically representative sample of all accidents and therefore it is not possible to make general comments about accident causation in anything other than that unrepresentative small sample of accidents which happened to be selected.

The accident classification system which this report devised is being used to look at more representative samples and draw conclusions which have a better chance of being representative than the snapshot taken in TRL323.

For example, you might find it useful to read the following,

TRL 421 ?The effects of drivers? speed on the frequency of road accidents? is more recent than 323 and totally relevant. Not going to quote statistics but the project examined 300 sections of road, made ~2 million observations re speed and questioned 10,000 drivers. One result of this independent research project , the faster the traffic moves on average in a particular set of circumstances, the more crashes there are. The consequences of the accident tends to rise with the speed and weight of the vehicles involved. Not news to some but there are quite a few on this site that might find that surprising.

TRL 474 ?Police fatal road accidents report phase II? Again this did not attempt to find a causative factor for accidents but was a report in setting up a database to collate police reports after fatal accidents and then apply a classification system which could be used in conjunction with Stats19, the DETR accident database which is very limited in its analytical possibilities. But nevertheless the frequency tables make interesting reading.

TRL 492 the classification system used in application to fatal motorcycle accidents. All the pop a wheelie then get your knee down merchants might find that sobering reading plus quite a few SMIDSY car drivers too.

Just to prove my point that you can prove anything with statistics taking some of the frequency reports from TRL474, which covers 4713 fatal accidents between 1985-1997, involving 5175 fatalities, 1887 serious injuries, 2291, slight injuries, and 3648 uninjured persons.

It contains details such as;
no of vehicles,
nature of location,
type of conflict,
precipitating factor (ie. immediate cause of the accident eg. loss of control, failing to stop etc)
up to four causation factors, (ie. why the precipitating factor occurred eg, alcohol, careless, failing to look, looking but not seeing etc.)
in addition other sections were
VEHICLES ie. vehicle and impact details including defects
OCCUPANT/CASUALTY eg details including safety equipment. Luggage and ejection

The top 5 precipitating factors were
Loss of Control 39.1%
Pedestrian careless 23.7%
Failure to miss vehicle/object 8.4%
Failure to miss pedestrian 8.3%
Failure to Give Way 7.9%

Top 6 *primary* causes were
1) XS Speed 20.9%
2) Careless/Reckless 14.2%
3) Alcohol 10.4%
4) Not judged path/speed 10.3%
5) Failed to Look 8.0%
6) Inattention 7.8%

Interestingly my (and I suspect others) personal bête noir, tailgating (category: follow too close), was way down with 0.3%!

If you lump together the first three contributory causative factors then the top six then looks like
1) Careless/Reckless approx. 36% of accidents had this as one of its top 3 contributory causes
2) XS Speed approx. 30% ditto
3) Not judged path/speed
4) Inattention
5) Alcohol
6) Failed to Look

Have to be careful about these last % figures due to the calculation method, which was steam driven. But talking of steam just to show how silly statistics can get, it seems that one of the safest vehicles was a steam driven pedestrian controlled vehicle owned by a vicar and most dangerous was an Austin Allegro??..

hmm?. Austin Allegro??..second thoughts maybe there is something to be said for statistics after all ;-)

The point I am trying to make here is that I have taken another set of data, also unrepresentative in that the emphasis is clearly on accidents at the severe end of the scale, and ?proved? something completely different from that alleged by the supporters of TRL323 and more in line with what the Government wants us to believe. Whats right? Whats wrong? Statistics will not *prove* anything.

Bad driving/riding/cycling/walking kills. Not hitting things tends to be a bit safer. Educate Educate Educate.
Re: Abuse of statistics - Bill Doodson


Re: Abuse of statistics - Stuart B
Hi Bill,

Its a Biker/Cyclist acronym for "Sorry Mate I Didn't See You"

As in "did not look", or more likely "looked but did not see."

Re: Abuse of statistics - Alex. L. Dick
Well, cyclists with their noses on the bar and their bums in the air CAN'T see yus; after all the accident will be OUR fault, officially.....
Re: Cyclists... - Mark
Try this one on for size.

Local cyclist was training for a race, going for it down a nice straight, car parked at the side of the road (god knows why, it was 6am in the middle of nowhere), visible for at least half a mile. Said cyclist with nose on bar and backend in air doesn't see car until he's sliding across it and along the tarmac the otherside neatly followed by his bike. Gets air-lifted to hospital, can't remember what happened to him but judging by the mess he made of the car it must've been quite serious. It's amazing how he managed to hit it considering the visibility is good and the road is wide enough for 3 busses.

I wonder if the cyclist said, "sorry mate, didn't see ya!".
Re: Abuse of statistics - Michael
Stuart, thanks for putting the record straight. I was beginning to believe that speed had no relation to accident rate. It appears it does. Secondly, and the point that gets frequently missed, is that, irrespective of what caused the accident, the higher the speed, the higher the consequences. We all know it takes longer to stop (and yes, it is the drivers responsibility to be able to stop the car if someone else does something daft). It's all very well saying the cyclist or the pensioner or the child or the drunk was in the wrong place on the country lane when he was hit by the car travellling at 60mph on a 60mph road, but they will still die. The other point is that few motorists realise what happens to their motor car when it crashes. Some drivers think their car is built like a tank and will protect them from injury, not helped by NCAP pictures showing cars crashing at relatively low speeds. It is a sobering thought when you see a car that has crashed into a tree on a country lane. Someone once suggested that the best way of getting drivers to slow down is to remove the airbag and replace it with a metal spike. The thought of hurtling towards the spike every time you brake hard, soon focuses the mind.
Re: Abuse of statistics - Phil Goodacre
I have always thoroughly enjoyed driving in France over many years. I always stick to 3 simple rules. Keep away from Autoroutes, ignore the Renault Gordini glued to your rear bumper and keep eyes open for confused/stupid Brits.

Value my car