Road death tally is not due to need for upgrades

I’ve just done the BBC reporting of this Conservative seasonal feed. The figures are shocking but not in the way they hope. They’re shockingly inadequate because they include infantile adding up to get big numbers for headlines and no trends.

There’s more detail than Reporting Scotland had, but once more, there are, critically, no trends revealing change one way or another.

Readers wonder, is it getting worse or better? Are Scotland’s roads safer or less safe, after 12 years of SNP control of budgets and policies? They deserve to know.

Answer 1: the casualties and death toll has fallen significantly across Scotland’s road network since 2011.

In 2011, there were 12 785 casualties falling to 4 992 in 2020 which was of course exceptional with lower traffic.

Deaths, always a tiny percentage (<2%), also fell in the same period.

Answer 2: Death and injury is almost always due to human error, sometimes with road conditions contributory, but almost never to a need for an upgrade: https://www.transport.gov.scot/publication/reported-road-casualties-scotland-2020/contributory-factors-to-reported-road-accidents/

That’s why speed cameras work. There are no dangerous roads, just dangerous drivers.

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3 thoughts on “Road death tally is not due to need for upgrades

  1. Of course a strong reason for The Herod, especially, and the Tories pushing the road ‘safety’ issue is because both are representing the Roads/Oil lobby. They want investment in roads, firstly, because it is fat contracts for the big construction companies, like McAlpine’s, secondly more roads mean more cars and more fuel, which means profits for the car sales and oil sales.

    Car design has substantially reduced injuries and deaths to drivers and passengers and, although the numbers for other road users – motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians – are greater. But the Tories and The Herod could not give a monkey’s about them.

    Road space needs to be reallocated, not increased, to prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and public transport and to reduce greenhouse gases and pollutants.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. It’s really becoming too easy to counter the journalistic output from BBC Scotland. But whilst it’s possible to counter the substance, it’s much, much harder to counter the amplification afforded by the BBC’s reach. On substance, I’d like to add my ‘easy’ tuppence worth.

    This is from the RAC Foundation’s web site on road spending by national government. We learn that inflation adjusted current road expenditure (i.e. OPEX not CAPEX) by UK ‘Central Government and Public Corporations’ fell from £1,569 billion in 2008/09 to £0.962 billion in 2017/18 before rising to £1,529 billion in 2019/20. What is the party of government in the UK?

    Also, inflation adjusted current road expenditure by Local Government across GB has fallen steadily from £1,914 billion in 2009/10 to £0.499 billion in 2019/20.

    And then we can look at road traffic fatalities and casualties using Department of Transport data for GB:

    Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/reported-road-casualties-in-great-britain-provisional-estimates-year-ending-june-2021/reported-road-casualties-in-great-britain-provisional-estimates-year-ending-june-2021

    Chart 1 gives: ‘Estimated total casualties, all road traffic (billion vehicle miles), fatalities and KSI (adjusted) in Great Britain, year ending June 2011 to year ending June 2021’.

    It shows that since 2011 the number of fatalities has been fairly stable until the total dropped with onset of the pandemic. The total number of road casualties has steadily fallen over the period since 2011.

    So OPEX on roads drops for most of the period since 2008/09 without any uptick in either road fatalities or casualties! Correlation, causality?

    Have the editors (those news story selectors) and the journalists (those fact checkers, perspective givers, critical thinkers, questioning professionals!) in BBC Scotland once again been more concerned to inform us of the content of a Tory press feed than actually ‘inform’ us?

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Totally ridiculous that the Herald published this amateur analysis by the Tories.

    The Herald piece starts with saying that 64% of road deaths were on the specific roads that the Tories want upgraded but that’s completely false. If you look further down the piece its 121 out of 198* deaths on 41 roads that the Tories have cherry picked to give a high percentage. There were around 800 deaths in that period on Scotland’s roads, and 121 of 800 is about 15%.

    It’s meaningless anyway, if you wanted to see if these roads were more dangerous then you would need to look at deaths per mile travelled vs the average for similar types of roads.

    *121 out of 198 is actually 61%, not 64% – the Herald can’t even get basic maths right

    Liked by 2 people

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