9/25/2006UK: Watchdog Slams Dishonest Government Traffic Stats
The UK Statistics Commission questions the reliability of Department for Transport numbers regarding speed camera effectiveness.
An independent UK government agency designed to enforce honesty in statistical discussions has called into question road fatality numbers used by the Department for Transport to show speed cameras have provided a safety benefit. According to the Statistics Commission, "There is known undercounting of road accidents in police statistics which are used to... inform policies on traffic safety."
The recently released report, dated July 2006, follows research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published in June that shows hospital records do not match the injury statistics provided by police agencies. Road safety experts including Paul Smith of Safe Speed argue that the undercounting is intentional. By creating a false appearance of fewer fatal and serious injury accidents, government officials can then claim that photo enforcement has been successful in achieving this result.
"What may be of particular public concern is that these statistics are used to monitor progress and success against the ambitious PSA targets on road accidents (to reduce numbers killed and seriously injured in road accidents by 40% by 2010)," the Statistics Commission Briefing Note stated.
A full copy of the Briefing Note is available in a 55k PDF file at the source link below.