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 Post subject: Recessions save lives?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 12:50 
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An interesting little snippet that I found in a journal:

Apart from incentive programmes, there is one other factor that has repeatedly been shown to have a major effect on the accident rate. This is the business cycle . Whenever the economy is in an upswing, the traffic death rate per head of population increases, whereas it drops during recessions (Adams, 1985; Partyka, 1984). Correlations between the annual variations in the rate of employment among those willing to work and the death rate on the road have been found to range from about r 5 .7 to r 5 .9 in countries including Canada, Finland, West Germany (prior to uni cation), The Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States (Wilde, 1991). When the index of industrial production and the ratio of young people to the total population was included as well, multiple correlation between the variations in economic prosperity and the traffic death rate per head of population in Switzerland was seen to amount to r 5 .97 (Wilde & Simonet, 1996).

It's good working in a university sometimes :D


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 21:14 
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teabelly wrote:
West Germany (prior to uni cation:D


I was living in Germany at the time the wall came down, and the number of accidents dramatically increased.
This was due to the sudden influx of E Germans in their little trabants(love em) and not knowing how to use modern roads.
Autobahns were the greatest worry, the E Germans didn't know what a sliproad was, they would come screaming down the sliproad and then screech to a halt(in a trabbie? :lol: ), they would then collect a few W Germans on their back bumper.
If they were lucky enough not to collect anything on their back bumper they would then accelerate(in a trabbie???? :lol: :lol:) on to the motorway not allowing for the vehicles already travelling at high speed and collect a few vehicles on their back bumper.

In other words, a total lack of awareness and training, oh, and a completely inadequate vehicle.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 06:38 
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teabelly wrote:
An interesting little snippet that I found in a journal:

Apart from incentive programmes, there is one other factor that has repeatedly been shown to have a major effect on the accident rate. This is the business cycle . Whenever the economy is in an upswing, the traffic death rate per head of population increases, whereas it drops during recessions (Adams, 1985; Partyka, 1984).


Yes, I've noted this effect too. You can see the effect comparing these graphs

Image

Image

Note the late 80s boom and early 90s bust.

from:
http://www.safespeed.org.uk/stats/graphs.html

Since we're talking about the RATE (i.e. the number killed per billion vehicle kilometres) it isn't obvious how this works. Clearly if we are wealthier we should expect more traffic to result in more death - but this effect goes beyond that and and if we're in a boom the risk of death per mile driven is greater. Possible reasons for higher risk in wealthier times:

* more leisure driving, and leisure driving is riskier
* more business driving and business driving is riskier
* more exuberance
* more distraction
* more driving in unfamiliar new vehicles
* faster traffic growth allows less time for drivers to adapt to higher traffic levels

I'm sure there could be more reasons. I don't much like the look of any of the reasons on that list.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 10:15 
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As wealth increases then those people that normally couldn't afford their own car start driving. Those people might be in the bottom end of the brains league and be more dangerous? Or that high motoring costs favour enthusiasts and they have a standard of driving which is higher than the 'car as equivalent to white goods' kind of person who wouldn't have had a car due to the previous high cost and treats it like their washing machine.

Alternatively as wealth increases the divide between rich and poor increases and there is a larger criminal underclass that joyrides and accident risk increases that way. With more wealth there would be a greater choice of performance vehicles which are more attractive to thieves. It would be interesting to find out which of the fatalities are 'normal' road deaths and which are caused by joyriders/criminal drivers.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 10:50 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Possible reasons for higher risk in wealthier times:

* more leisure driving, and leisure driving is riskier
* more business driving and business driving is riskier
* more exuberance
* more distraction
* more driving in unfamiliar new vehicles
* faster traffic growth allows less time for drivers to adapt to higher traffic levels

I'm sure there could be more reasons. I don't much like the look of any of the reasons on that list.

If you put all those kind of factors together you do arrive at a credible explanation, simply that during an economic boom, significantly more people are facing new or different driving experiences. Therefore the rate of improvement in casualties per billion v/km slows as they take time to adapt.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2004 07:56 
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Perhaps in periods of economic growth traffic increases faster than new
roads and bypasses can be built to cope with it, leading to localised spots
of severe congestion - heavy traffic forced onto unsuitable roads,
frustration, delay ... accidents.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2004 08:08 
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geojeh wrote:
Perhaps in periods of economic growth traffic increases faster than new roads and bypasses can be built to cope with it, leading to localised spots of severe congestion - heavy traffic forced onto unsuitable roads, frustration, delay ... accidents.


I like that explanation. It might be somewhat testable against fatality rate trends if we had "roads investment" data. Anyone? Peter, what about your SABRE friends?

There could also be a linkage to the loss of trend in the fatality rate. (RATS!)

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