The Death Toll

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Yet more than twice as many people will have died on the roads that day. Nothing was written about those deaths. Nothing changed. In , four people died in train crashes, while 3, died on the roads. Here are those figures again. Then in to 3, This was change.

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Significant change: lives a year were not being lost. This was a major story that deserved a ton of coverage, which it failed to get. At any rate, the graph had flat-lined for years, then, in half a dozen years, it halved.

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The lack of media coverage resulted in an absence of answers. One commentator, Christian Woolmar, observed that there was no clear answer to why this had happened. But he went on to point out that there had been a fall in the average road speed over this period. My anticipation of the figures troubled me, because I expected them to go up.


But something happened in that I was sure would lead to more fatalities and bring a halt to the falling trend. I was right. In we killed 1, Sometimes, being right is shit. The news was better in The fatality rate was 1, So was the figure just a blip, due to some significant snowfalls that year? No: the trend was over.

The number of people killed on our roads has remained stuck in the 17 hundreds. Road deaths flatlined at 3, for years, then fell sharply, then flatlined again at half the rate. I wished I could explain it. I wish we could repeat it. The railways are an example of what is possible. It was time to figure out the answers to two questions. Why did the death toll fall? And why did it stop falling?

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The obvious reason for a reduction in deaths on the road is the improvement in car safety features. This could create a gradual fall in the death toll as new, safer cars replaced older ones. Car safety features are international, and any new feature would have appeared around the same time across the continent. So I found the EU figures for to , indexed for and plotted the graph for multiple countries. It was a busy graph.

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For clarity the following graph only includes Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Italy along with a straight line drop for comparison. The good news is that things are improving across Europe — but no country had quite the same trajectory as Britain. One thing I did notice is that, from , these five countries stop falling. In , the New Labour government announced that it was going to reduce deaths on our roads.

The target was a 50 per cent reduction by HONG KONG: A potentially deadly standoff between Hong Kong police and dozens of desperate protesters barricaded into a university campus moved into a third day Tuesday, as China issued fresh warnings its patience with nearly six months of unrest was running out.

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