BBC crash map

Being a sucker for statistics I was taken by the BBC’s presentation of the last 10 years of road accidents based on official statistics released by the Department of Transport. The data presentation, which includes 2008, allows the viewer to select various criteria to see when accidents happen to certain people.

Age, sex, vehicle type, weather, it’s all there and you can enter your postcode to see how the pattern of death on the roads changes year by year. Not by much is the answer, although it is visibly reducing in my area, in spite of the huge increase in traffic over the last 10 years.

Inevitably the overview section covers some of the factors contributing to the improvement in road safety (or the cut in deaths) – “Research shows that 20mph zones can cut injuries by 40%” states one of the captions – oh really? Driving slower cuts fatalities, who knew?

Automotive technology has to make an impact on 2009's statistics.

I wonder if the UK scrapage-scheme’s effect will be noticed in next year’s figures? All these regular people driving round in brand new Euro NCAP 5 super minis where once they had rusty old Astras or Puntos. Technology advances will surely have a measurable effect – all that clever CAD, active safety systems and 21st century materials science must cut fatalities – otherwise technology isn’t serving its purpose and science isn’t being correctly applied.

Anyway my recommendation this Christmas is to be a woman cycling in the snow at about 6am on a motorway – what could possibly go wrong?

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