Road accident statistics

Road accident statistics

Int. J. Impact Engncd Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 369 Pergamon Press plc. Printed in Breat Britain BOOK REVIEW Road Accident Statistics. By Dr T. P. HUTCHINS...

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Int. J. Impact Engncd Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 369 Pergamon Press plc. Printed in Breat Britain



Road Accident Statistics. By Dr T. P. HUTCHINSON. Rumsby Scientific Publishing, P.O. Box 76, Rundle Mall, Adelaide, South Australia 5000 Amongst their other uses, road accident statistics are used as a basis for specifying the impact performance of road vehicles and for monitoring the effects of improvements in crashworthiness. There are three main sources of information: police, hospital and insurance company, records. Unfortunately, these are produced by different groups of people with different aims, and it can be difficult to combine or compare statistics from the different sources. In addition, different types of accident occur in very different proportions in different countries and there are differences in the way in which information is collected and reported. For instance, in Japan death is recorded as caused by a road accident only if it occurs within 24 hours, whereas in some Canadian provinces the corresponding time is 12 months. Paul Hutchinson is well known and highly respected for his work on the interpretation of road accident statistics, and in this book he brings together statistics from around the world, with the main exceptions of Russia and China. The book concentrates on what can be found in statistics which are collected routinely and is aimed at users rather than at statistical theorists. Special research studies are outside its scope, although reference is made to some of these. As well as including numerous tables, he explains and comments on the methods used for collecting information and the ways in which it is analysed and published. He lists deficiencies in the data and gives his opinion on the validity of the results; sometimes he comments "I do not find this credible". He gives guidance on interpretation of the statistics such as "It is valuable to have two or more sources of statistics: if the numbers of road deaths are similar in both, it does not prove that both are approximately right, but certainly if they are very different it is a warning to investigate why that is so and determine which is the more reliable". If you use statistics of any sort this is a useful book filled with informative and constructive comment on the process of collecting and analysing data. If you use road accident statistics it is indispensable both as a source of statistical information and as a guide to where the vast amount of published material may be found and how it should be interpreted. M. A. MACAULAY Department of Mechanical Engineering, Brunel University