Motoring corner With Carlover

Sometimes, we ran into sites called the Speed-traps zones; they are meant to educate the public about the technology invoked by the police to catch and prosecute people for speeding.

Sometimes, we ran into sites called the Speed-traps zones; they are meant to educate the public about the technology invoked by the police to catch and prosecute people for speeding.

Speeding - it’s an emotive issue and one which the police and government always use as leverage whenever they get a chance, when interviewed next to a smouldering pile of twisted metal on the side of a highway, a police officer will say “This accident was caused by people speeding, plain and simple.” Similarly, Highway Patrol Officers attributes that to drug abuse, when interviewed next to a smouldering pile of twisted metal on the side of Interstate 15, will say “This accident was caused by excessive speed and nothing more.” It’s the same the world over, but separating actual fact from emotive fiction is always difficult. It’s the government’s vehicular research centre, with high speed test tracks, crash rooms, drag strips, banked curves and all manner of other test areas set in the lush forests. They test everything there from
the effectiveness of seatbelts inside a car to the effectiveness of road surfaces and crash barriers outside the car. It is interesting to note that speed in relation to the cause of accidents.

Is speed a contributing factor in most road accidents?  The short and politically incorrect answer is no, and here’s why a report 323 entitled “A new system for recording contributory factors in road accidents” was a joint project between the TRL and the DETR (by the USA 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 in the summer of 1996. 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. The report is a fascinating one for someone who to study, but could be incredibly dull to most people. So to cut to the chase, there are two sections of information we need to look at.

Overall incidence of contributory factors; this is a categorised list of all the factors in the report which could contribute to but not necessarily cause an accident.

All factors involved in accident Definite factors involved in accident Description Failure to judge other person’s path or speed 10.7% ,  Behaviour - carelessness / thoughtlessness / recklessness 8.8% .  Inattention 8%, Looked but did not see 7.5% Excessive speed  7.3% .  What this means is that in 7.3% of the accidents, speed was one of many factors, and in only 6% of the accidents was it a definite causal factor. Look at the top 4 factors and you’ll see that they can generally be categorised as the old police adage of “driving without due care and attention.” More to the point, if you take into account “loss of control” accidents (which covers a multitude of sins including wheels coming off the vehicle, , etc) then according to the report, only 4% of all accidents are caused by loss of control of the vehicle with excessive speed as the primary contributing factor.

 

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