Tuesday, 23 September 2014

There's more to life than not being dead ...

In safety statistics, analysts often use KSI (Killed or Seriously Injured) statistics.
Main reasons :
  1. Numbers killed often are, thankfully, too low for any statistically-significant conclusions to be drawn until many years have passed.
  2. Serious Injuries are usually about ten times more frequent, and often life-changing. So taking measures to reduce them is arguably just as important as reducing fatalities.
  3. Many other factors affect whether a casualty dies :
    • Vehicle engineering - crumple zones, airbags, seat-belts, safety glass
    • Emergency service response, particularly Air Ambulances
    • Medical care in hospital
Further than that, there are many 'Quality of Life' issues that are worth considering.
  • Perceived Safety
  • Improved lifestyle
  • Community well-being
  • Stress and Mental Health

I remember a reading a book about skiing, that quoted a racing driver:
"To move is to risk death : not to move is to be dead already" [citation needed] 
I first started thinking about this after reading a report by Eric Bridgstock, aka 'Independent Road Safety Research', campaigning against reducing 30mph speed limits to 20mph.
This still puzzles me:
"Who in their right mind would centre their safety policy on “hitting people at slower speeds kills fewer of them”? I have seen numerous examples of this type of mantra and they are all repugnant."
I don't think he means we should consider 'Quality of Life' issues in addition to fatalities (or even instead), because he goes on to say
  • "So why did these schemes fail? Vulnerable road users are encouraged to feel safer – a natural instinct when traffic is slower."
  • Roads “feeling safe” lead to less care/attention by pedestrians/cyclists
  • “Quality of Life” arguments are specious when offset by increased casualties
As far as I can tell, he instead is aiming for collision elimination by traffic flow engineering and improved visibility. And perfect drivers ?

See also