Transport Official’s Cover-Up Killing On NZ Roads
Ministry Of Transport Official’s Cover-Up Is Killing Our Families On New Zealand Roads.
In late 2009, AKILLA requested for an (independent) Royal Commission of Inquiry to be conducted in to the ‘Crash Reporting Procedure’ and ‘dodgy’ crash data. Ie; everything from the crash site investigation, completion of Traffic Crash Reports (TCR’s), crash coding, Crash Analysis System (CAS) entries, crash ranking and priority setting.
(50 good reasons for a Royal Commission of Inquiry were presented)
Furthermore, this included the failed Government ‘Greatest Enforceable Risk’ (GER) policy which only addresses the greatest enforceable risks of ‘speed’, ‘alcohol’ and ‘restraints’, rather than the Greatest Real Risks (GRR), which include inattention (ie; failed to notice, attention diverted by, did not look or see), driver fatigue and drugged driving.
GER is a ‘blocking policy’. The existence of GER effectively blocks all other road safety initiatives. The Minister of Transport - directed by the Ministry of Transport Officials strongly rejected the request for a Royal Commission of Inquiry. There is no doubt that a ‘CRASHBOX’ Inquiry would reveal the Ministry of Transport Official’s cover-up and ‘orchestrated litany of lies’. For more on GER refer to archived Scoop Press Release dated 9th April 2010 ‘ Govt Road Safety Policy is killing our families’.
Dodgy data, selective collection, incomplete data sets leads to both absent and biased road crash data which has massive implications for New Zealand road safety, the assessment of road safety programs, and the allocation of funding to target specific road safety problems. The end result is that families and their friends pay the ultimate price and have to live through the trauma. Furthermore, a huge economic burden on the country, with massive ACC Motor Vehicle Account payouts and liabilities.
The New Zealand Automobile Association has told AKILLA that it considers that the single step that could make the most difference in terms of road safety in New Zealand would be improving the crash data.
Concerned about the poor ‘primary data’ collection and ‘mis-classification’ of data AKILLA was advised by the New Zealand Automobile Association that they proposed to the Ministry of Transport Officials that a Naturalistic Driving Study be undertaken in New Zealand to identify the real crashes causes. This would be similar to the Naturalistic Driving Study (2005) that was conducted in North Virginia in the United States that showed that 80% of crashes in-fact involve driver inattention and fatigue. This study involved in-built cameras being placed in vehicles over a 12 month period.) This proposition was strongly rejected by the Ministry of Transport Officials.
Examples of the cover-up are detailed as follows;
Official Ministry of Transport Crash Analysis System (CAS)
DRIVER FATIGUE crash figures for the Auckland region record an average of 2.9% of crashes each year for the last 20 years (OIA 1982 response). This is ‘dummed down’ crash data.
Yet, the Auckland Car Crash Study (an in-depth study using Auckland Hospital data) shows that 19% of crash victims were as a result of a driver fatigue crash. Furthermore, a ‘Driver Fatigue Strategy’ publication by the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) acknowledge that international research shows that the driver fatigue figure is more likely around 20-24%.
These figures are 7 times higher than what the Official Ministry of Transport Crash Analysis System records !
Official Ministry of Transport Crash Analysis System (CAS)
DRUGGED DRIVING crash figures are 3%. This is ‘dumbed down’ data.
In 2004, the New Zealand Police web-site stated that ‘there is little recent research into drug use and driving in New Zealand but Police estimate that up to 16% of drivers killed on the roads may have consumed illegal drugs’. The ESR/ NZ Police studies conducted over the last five years provide even higher figures.
These figures are 5 times higher than what the Official Ministry of Transport Crash Analysis System records !
Official Ministry of Transport Crash Analysis System (CAS) DISTRACTED DRIVING figure is 10%. To ‘dumb down’ the biggest crash cause of ‘inattentive behavior’ , in the Safer Journeys New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy 2020 - they have included only one component - distracted driving defined as attention diverted by.
However, a MOT OIA 1982 response reveals that between 2003-2007
Injuries averaged 38% over 5 years and Fatalities average 23% over 5 years for crashes that had at least one of the following factors;
(i) Failed to
notice (ii) Attention diverted by (iii) Did not look or
The 2004 New Zealand Automobile Association survey showed that the single greatest factor (50%) was inattention/ loss of concentration. Furthermore, it was sited in the AA Directions magazine Summer 2009 that The New Zealand Police ascribed ‘poor observation’ as the cause of nearly half the crashes in 2008.’ Almost half of all injury crashes were coded to ‘poor observation’ in 2008. These figures suggest that issues related to inattention may be a factor in up to 50% of crashes (source; TERNZ – Transport Research submission Safer Journeys 2020)
The New Zealand Government agency studies reported in 2005 covering 200km of State Highway 1 (which we all travel at some stage) in the South Waikato and Taupo Target (SWATT 2010) conducted by Transit NZ, Land Transport New Zealand, ACC, NZ Police, Environment Waikato, Taupo District Council, South Waikato District Council showed that 40% of crashes are as a result of ‘inattention’ and ‘driver fatigue’. This campaign was known as the ‘five myth campaign’. The first myth was that ‘speeding was No. 1’.
The crash figures for ‘inattention’ are 5 times higher than the distraction figures (that do not include ‘failed to notice’ and ‘did not look or see’) in Safer Journeys New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy 2020 documentation.
In a nutshell, enforceable risks are ‘pumped up’ and the unenforceable risks are ‘dumbed down’ by Ministry of Transport Officials, to support the Government’s failed Greatest Enforceable Risk policy which is killing our families. Misclassification of crash data is common. Take for example driver fatigue crashes that are often incorrectly classified and placed in to the ‘speed category’ to secure a conviction.
You can now see why both the Transport Minister and the Ministry of Transport Officials do not want a Royal Commission of Inquiry.
However, there are other issues that have also been dumbed down or intentionally ignored completely by Ministry of Transport Officials. By way of example Sleep Medical Disorders and the road.
Both Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and the Sleep Apnea Association of New Zealand estimate that up to 270,000 New Zealanders (4-9% of the adult population) suffer from some form of sleep medical disorder. Sleep medical disorders significantly increase the risk of having a crash on the roads (by as much as six times). Official Ministry of Transport Crash Analysis System (CAS) data reveals that of 1722 minor, serious and fatal crashes recorded between 2003 and 2007, only two drivers (0.1%) were recorded as having a sleep medical disorder (OIA 1982 response).
Compare this with a Wellsleep – Department of Medicine, Wellington School of Medicine study that showed that 40% of crash victims at Wellington Hospital had some form of sleep medical disorder !
ACC Motor Vehicle Account pay-outs reached record highs last year with $452,392,000 pay-outs and a MVA liability account which has risen from $1,980,000,000 in 2002 to $6,840,000,000 in 2009. Ie; increased 3.5 times ! ACC just keep on paying the bills made much worse by the GER policy based upon ‘false economies’.
There are many other aspects relating to the crash reporting procedure that require investigation. A study entitled ‘Validity of Police-Reported Information on Injury Severity for those hospitalised from Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes’ was undertaken by the Injury Prevention Unit, Department of Preventative and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, Wellington. The study found that Police data on the severity of injuries suffered in vehicle crashes is seriously flawed and differs significantly from injuries recorded in hospital discharge information.
It was found that fifteen percent of those with a “minor” injury on the Police crash report had an injury with a significant threat to life.
It was concluded that the subjective Police assessment of severity of injury was discordant in many instances with an objective measure of severity. There was variation in the concordance by personal, vehicle, and crash variables.
A Royal Commission of inquiry in to the crash reporting procedure and failed Greatest Enforceable Risk (GER) road safety policy needs to be called for immediately by the New Zealand public. This independent inquiry needs to be conducted away from the ‘LTSA class of 95’ and their ‘cronies’ from across the creek’, who have manipulated New Zealand road safety for the last 15 years.
In addition, a naturalistic study (as suggested by the NZ Automobile Association) needs to be undertaken to confirm the crash causes.
A Royal Commission of Inquiry will provide long overdue answers to the Mums, Dads, Uncles, Aunties and Grandparents as to why New Zealand road safety is performing so poorly.
New Zealand has almost twice the fatality rate per 100,000 people than both the United Kindgom and Sweden. Between 2000 – 2007 New Zealand had achieved the seventh worst performance out of 27 countries in reducing deaths on the roads. Among OECD countries New Zealand had the highest recorded road deaths per 100,000 population’ risk among 15-17 year olds, the second highest’ road deaths per 100,000 population’ risk among 0-14 year olds, and the fourth highest OECD’ death rate per 100,000 population’ risk among the 18-20 year olds.
The ‘penny has dropped’ and the New Zealand public is ‘dog tired’ of hearing the political pitches as to how well New Zealand road safety is progressing, aggravated by the Ministry of Transport Officials presenting statistical data as though viewed through ‘rose tinted glasses’.
AKILLA Sleep Safety Educational Campaign