Road safety stats hit a pothole

2010-10-01 14:34

The way the Road Traffic Management Corporation reported statistics was creating confusion over true accident figures, a road safety expert said.

Rob Handfield-Jones, managing director of a driving skills company, was commenting on the recent release of the corporation’s 2009 data.

He said today that until 2006, statistics were reported on the basis of a calendar year – January 1 to December 31.

In 2007, the reporting period was changed to April 1 to March 31.

“For 2009, it has been changed back to January 1 to December 31,” he said.

“It is very difficult to analyse what is happening on our roads over time when the reporting period is not stable.”

He asked why the corporation had changed its reporting time frame twice in three years, as this created opportunities for misrepresentation.

“As an example, the 2009 stats bundle reflects 13 768 fatalities, and states that the death toll for the previous calendar year (2008) was 13 875.

“The problem is that we have never seen a full stats bundle for the calendar year 2008.

The corporation’s published stats bundle for 2008 actually covers April 1 2008 to March 31 2009, and gives a death toll of 13 707 for that period.

“This conflict of reporting periods complicates comparisons with previous years’ data and creates confusion over the true road safety picture.”

Handfield-Jones said that the department of transport had missed its self-imposed target of 13 108 fatalities by the end of December 2009 by 660 deaths, and that it was far from being on track to the 2015 goal of halving road deaths.

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