Can’t see the wood for the trees?



470 road deaths over Xmas/New Year. That’s 470 households that are not having a “Happy New Year” this year. The road deaths are up by 10 percent, a growth indicator nobody wants to look at.

The “official” response pre-celebrations sounded fine on paper. The number of police check points was increased, and the threat of confiscation of vehicles belonging to drivers over the proscribed alcohol limit was to be imposed. That would have to drive down the numbers. But it didn’t, they went up by 10 percent.

Perhaps the officials were suggesting penalties for the wrong end of the statistical model? Just suppose it wasn’t your ordinary motorist who was being killed, but another group altogether?

It does not need rocket science to collect the data on road deaths. 80 percent of the death toll is from those riding on motorcycles. As a comparison, only 7 percent of the death toll can be attributed those traveling in pick-ups.

Another useful statistic – alcohol was involved in 50 percent of the fatalities.

So now we have a picture of what the average victim looks like – motorcycle riders who have been drinking, and who incidentally are not wearing crash helmets.

Surely the group to attack first for prevention is then the motorcycle riders? Easily identified and wearing a helmet or otherwise is just as easily ascertained.

In this way it would be possible to cut the road toll in half. No new legislation is needed, the police still remain as the responsible body to apply the law (and the fines).

By changing the focus of the road toll prevention from cars and pick-ups in the city to motorcycle riders under the influence and not wearing helmets would bring about an immediate change, but will the populace be ready to accept change in this election year?

In the meantime, don’t become another statistic yourself.

Dr. Iain Corness