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Top of Pops for toll figures predetermined to 2010

Top of Pops for toll figures predetermined to 2010

CANDOR Media Release

Candor Trust advises road users to be cautious of the slanted figures about last years major road toll causes, just released by the New Zealand Police

The road Policing operations manager has claimed that “A preliminary analysis shows that driving too fast for the conditions and drink-driving were the two biggest factors in fatal crashes last year".

Excessive speed apparently factored in 30 per cent and drink-driving contributing to 30 per cent. In 2007 25 per cent of vehicle occupants killed were not wearing restraints and at least 22 lives would have been saved by one.

The Trust is concerned that NZ Polices severely restricted ability to conduct primary data collection at crash scenes would dictate that any analyses by Police scientists of toll figures is necessarily flawed - and a bit pointless.

New Zealand traffic crash report forms are constructed in such a way as to encourage classification of crash or fatality factors as being either of excess speed, alcohol or seatbelt non use.

They contain no cues or checkboxes for recording important factors commonly recorded elsewhere such as fatigue, drug intoxication or distractions such as cellphone use.

This is despite recommendations to improve the "tell me what I want to hear" crash forms by outside Consultants. The dumbed down forms have their current format partly because of a very lethal Transport Ministry experiment called the Resource Allocation Model (commenced 1995, Active, ongoing).

Despite Polices convenient claims about speed alcohol and seatbelt non use yearly being the top driver factor killers a study being conducted by Police since 2004 has examined the blood of all deceased drivers, except where blood is unobtainable.

This study has shown definitively that illicit drugs are a slightly more common factor in fatal crashes in NZ than illicit blood alcohol levels (as recently reported by the Christchurch Press).

The SWATT 2010 study by Transit NZ in partnership with other agencies has furthermore shown that fatigue is a probable factor in double the numbers of crashes officially mooted to feature it (over 20% not 11%).

If Police want to know why the toll increased in 2007 despite greatly reduced kilometres travelled, and are curious as to why there were nearly 50% more fatalities than the year before in Canterbury and Waikato they'd best begin asking the hard questions.

Are the three easily taxable issues they focus upon due to their constricted primary data collection really the most worthwhile. Or could they be going after some red herrings or poorly modifiable factors while some big easy but less profitable fish get away?

The Taylor Duignan report would tend to suggest so - given that more than doubling speed infringements over the last few years has seen a parallel increase in speed related injuries.

Why the top road cop would have today have wasted precious media time making a plea to an almost 100% compliant Public about non restraint use when there are far more pressing concerns could seem incomprehensible.

Why push a message however worthy when this could only have saved 22 lives last year (around 5% of the toll) versus over 100 each lost due to fatigued or drug abusing drivers.

Could the misplaced emphasis be because of this M.O.T. study; "Evaluating the effects of a high intensity enforcement and advertising program targeting alcohol impaired drivers, alcohol-impaired drivers, speeding and seatbelt use". Commencement July 1995. Active - ongoing If Police want to save lives they will wise up with their bizarre data collection and reconsider activities, say Candor. Current crash forms as a foundation for road safety planning spell doom as they give little clue to trends.

Reducing visible offence patrol time in which druggies, tired drivers and recidivist drunks can get caught so that speed patrols can increase is penny wise pound foolish, and without proven safety benefits (Taylor, Duignan 2005).

Get real New Zealand Police. Kick M.O.T. and LTNZ's misguidance to the kerb, take the speed, alcohol checkpoint and seatbelt revenue blinkers off and then face the facts.

For several years now Candor Trust, Akilla Sleep Safety Foundation and others have nagged at the Police and LTNZ communications staff to let the big secrets about the prevalence and high danger of fatigued and drug driving out of the can.

All that has happened has been that those with related expertise in the Police, ACC. LTNZ and Ministry of Transport have largely evaporated. Ministry of Transport staff charged last December by Annette King with preparing a major drug driving campaign to run in 2007, have been moved along without their work even being reassigned due to office politics around the RAM.

It's perhaps noteworthy that New Zealand may have been the only Country that did not sent civil servants to attend the largest ever conference of the International Council of Alcohol Drugs and Traffic Safety last year.

Of course that would have been a waste of tax payers money - given that under the RAM experiment, that has no end date, nothing can really change.

Major interventions against fatigue, drugs or cellphones, and ignition interlocks and other modern new fandangled solutions would most certainly act as severe contaminants to the purity of the Resource Allocation Model.

As long as New Zealand accepts the stuck record message that it is all about speed, alcohol and seatbelts, as per the RAM Road Police funding model, NZ will remain the back sliding black sheep of the global road safety community.


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