Road Safety News
 

Norfolk road deaths fall to record low

Thursday 28th January 2016

Fewer people died on Norfolk’s roads in 2015 than ever before, according to figures released by the Norfolk Road Casualty Reduction Partnership*.

There were 33 road fatalities in the county during 2015, down from 39 in 2015: a year-on-year fall of 15%.

While the number of ‘slight’ injuries also fell from 2,199 to 1,990 (down 9.5%), the number of serious injuries increased from 340 to 352.

The total number of injuries fell year-on-year by nearly 8% to 2,375 – the lowest figure since 2012.

Dr Louise Smith, chair of the Norfolk Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, said: "I am encouraged that we have seen the lowest number of fatalities on Norfolk’s roads since records began, but I am also aware that every death and injury causes irreparable damage to families and communities.

"Through the Road Casualty Reduction Partnership we are continuously reviewing our schemes and finding ways to make our roads safer.”

Dr Smith issued a number of tips on how to stay safe on the roads, including: driving within the speed limit, avoiding alcohol and drugs, wearing the right clothes when riding a motorbike or bicycle, not wearing headphones and not using a mobile phone.

Iain Temperton, Norfolk County Council’s team manager for casualty reduction, said: "Over the last year we have made some good progress in reducing the casualties among some road user groups, such as young drivers and motorcyclists, but we know there is still much work to do.

"The greatest tragedy is that death and injury on our roads is almost always avoidable, but with the right behaviours, attitudes and skills we can ensure that we have the best possible chance to make it home to our loved ones.

"We have the interventions to promote safer road use, so if you or someone in your family would benefit from working with us, please get in touch.”

Jenny McKibben, deputy police and crime commissioner, added: "Partnership working, the use of new technology and an innovative approach have all helped bring Norfolk’s casualty figures down but there is still a way to go.

"Norfolk has a long history of innovation in casualty reduction and these welcome figures show the benefits of that approach, with initiatives such as safety and average speed cameras, enforcement on mobile phone usage, and targeted social media.”

*The Norfolk Road Casualty Reduction Partnership (also known as *THINK! Norfolk) comprises Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Constabulary, Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service, Norfolk Safety Camera Partnership, Public Health and the Highways Agency.


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Norfolk Road Safety Reduction Partnership uses KSIs in its planning as a measure of its success. In 2010 it set a target of reducing KSIs by 33%. But this was not from the 2010 figure of 353 but from the 2005-2009 baseline of 462. So in 2010 it already had a “cushion” of 24%.

Over the next 5 years instead of reducing its KSIs it actually increased to 355, 353, 392, 379 and now 385 in 2015. Even with its starting “cushion” of 24% it failed to reach the planned 16.6% reduction by 2015.

And when announcing the 2015 figures to the press the Team Manager for Casualty Reduction fails to note this this “casualty increase” trend is continuing because:
a) He wanted to “manage” what the media focus on
b) He does not wish to de-moralise the many volunteers

I recognise that Road Safety teams have many challenges in these times, but surely those who name themselves “Casualty Reduction Teams” and set themselves targets to do so should be a little more candid in their assessment of their performance.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

I think by focussing on the consequences of collisions i.e the casualties, rather than collsions per se, there is a danger of ignoring the elephant in the room.

My aim as a motorist is obviously to avoid being in any sort of collision, regardless of severity and similarly, when I was working, my aim was to get other motorists to do the same - it wasn't a question of "have an accident if you must, but try and keep the injuries to 'slight' please" and I don't think success and progress should be measured necessarily by 'grading' the outcome of a collision - the fact that they happen is the problem in itself. Causation factors tend to be the same regardless of the outcome.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
+2

The very issue being described by commenters here is something we are exploring in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by linking STATS19 and Trauma Network data sets to examine the "fatal and severely injured" and the collisions resulting in those injuries separately from those currently termed "seriously injured".

The project builds on work conducted between 2000-2005 by Magpas (the CTARP project) which was used in the development of the East of England Trauma Network.

It is early days at the moment but we will be publishing findings as the project develops.
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)
+4

One of the features of th "CRASH" database currently being rolled out nationally is that the officer inputs details of injuries and the database itself assigns a severity. It is to be hoped that this will eventually feed through into more consitent datasets.
Tim Philpot

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

The DfT's Annual 'Road Casualties Great Britain' used to carry the following disclaimer (I don't know if it still does): “Very few, if any, fatal accidents do not become known to the police. However, research conducted on behalf of the Department in the 1990s has shown that a significant proportion of non-fatal injury accidents are not reported to the police. In addition, some casualties reported to the police are not recorded and the severity of injury tends to be underestimated. The Department is undertaking further research to investigate whether the levels of reporting have changed.”

Then in 2006 there was this:

Changes in safety on England’s roads: analysis of hospital statistics BMJ:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/rapidpdf/bmj.38883.593831.4Fv1.pdf

"The definition of serious injury in police statistics includes every hospital admission; in each year, none the less, the number of admissions exceeded the number of injuries reported in the police system."

Conclusions: "The overall fall seen in police statistics for non-fatal road traffic injuries probably represents a fall in completeness of reporting of these injuries."

I think it is unlikely that the situation has improved, and the KSI figure is misleading as it takes advantage of the under-reporting of serious injuries and can be used to mask less than impressive reductions in fatalities.
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (1)
+1

Let's muddy the waters. The following is taken from the Norfolk Constabulary website!

Definition of a road traffic collision.
The law defines a reportable road traffic collision as an accident involving a mechanically-propelled vehicle on a road or other public area which causes:

• Injury or damage to anybody - other than the driver of that vehicle,
• Injury or damage to an animal - other than one being carried on that vehicle (an animal is classed as a horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog).
• Damage to a vehicle - other than the vehicle which caused the accident.
• Damage to property constructed on, affixed to, growing in, or otherwise forming part of the land where the road is.

If they take place in a public place the police can investigate off-road collisions, for example, collisions in car parks, which, because they are open to the public, are deemed public places.

How many of the KSIs in this report are animals? Seriously we talk about KSIs but I have an issue with them.

Serious injury: An injury for which a person is detained in hospital as an “in-patient”, or
any of the following injuries whether or not they are detained in hospital: fractures,
concussion, internal injuries, crushings, burns (excluding friction burns), severe cuts,
severe general shock requiring medical treatment and injuries causing death 30 or
more days after the accident.

An injured casualty is recorded as seriously or slightly injured by the police on the basis of information available within a short time of the accident. This generally will not reflect the results of a medical examination, but may be influenced according to whether the casualty is hospitalised or not. Hospitalisation procedures will vary regionally. If emergency responses have improved and medical assistance better, we shift fatal to serious and serious to slight, however the vast range of serious makes the use of them as stats somewhat spurious. These are the stats we have and to change them would possibly slur any trends used but we must recognise that until all police reports are married up to medical reports we have to use what we have but we do need to dig deeper before throwing out headline grabbers. Would a sheep kept at the vets overnight become a serious injury?
Peter City of Westminster

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3

From a practitioners perspective, "soundbite claims and statistics" are a necessary evil for two specific reasons.

Firstly, dealing with local media is a two way street. At certain times of the year I want them to cover specific issues, which might be a mobile 'phone campaign, a call to arms for motorcyclists' training or highlighting issues of socio-economic deprivation. To achieve that we cultivate relationships, this sort of story is part of that relationship. It is not detail heavy and has a particular emphasis, but that does not mean that the real issues are not being addressed by various teams on a daily basis.

Secondly, there is the question of motivation. The delivery of casualty reduction in my county, like most others, is handled by a mixture of staff, partners and volunteers, all of whom do what they do because they want to. This year we will engage with over 1500 people from our community who give up their own time to help us get the messages out there. They are awesome and I make no apologies for giving them a message that there has been a measure of success but we still have lots of work to do.

Yes, the story could have used KSIs as the headline figure, as we do in our planning processes, but I was considering a bigger picture. It's not always black and white.
Iain Temperton, Norfolk CC

Agree (10) | Disagree (2)
+8

Very good comments from Rod and Hugh. I dislike 'soundbite claims and statistics' that leave out much essential information.
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

Agree (4) | Disagree (2)
+2

Hugh

The graph that I referenced and available from the county's own website shows that since 2011 the trend has been for increasing KSIs when averaged out over 12 months. In fact the 2015 level is considerably and consistently higher than in 2011.

At the same time you can view the trends on the Travel Independent website at http://www.travelindependent.org.uk/area_083.html

Here you will find that child pedestrian KSIs have increased from 46 in total for the 4 years 2007-2011 by 26% to 58 in the four years 2011 to 2014.

With total KSIs continuing to rise in 2015 the reduction in fatalities may not be any indication of fewer serious casualties or their severity but better trauma care and the random variation in relatively small numbers.

I note that Ms McKibben says Norfolk has a long history of innovation in casualty reduction" Certainly triumphing success whilst maintaining a steady upward trend of KSIs does seem to be innovative in the extreme. Maybe she would do far better by saying "We have a problem and its getting worse. We all need to do far more to reduce the danger, injury and death on Norfolk roads!"
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)
+3

Is this due to fewer collisons occuring or just different consequences arising from roughly the same number of collsions? An improvement in casualty reduction it may be, but probably not actual collision reduction.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)
+4

The KSIs can be seen for 12 month rolling years up until Nov 2015 by quarter in a graph here:
http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/view/NCC152642
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)
+3