I have commented before on how Transport for London (TfL) have failed to justify their “Safer Speeds” proposals which includes imposing 20 mph speed limits on many roads – see https://tinyurl.com/rlz4pa5. But we have now discovered that TfL have been misinterpreting police accident data to support their claims that the measures are justified.
For example, they issued a Tweet that said “speed accounts for 37% of all death and serious injuries” in road accidents in London. That was apparently based on the STATS19 data reported by the police (a form they fill out about every accident involving injuries). That form allows for multiple factors to be recorded and after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request we learn that they counted all the accidents where factors 306, 307 and 602 were noted.
But factor 602 is described as “Driver/rider either behaved in a negligent or thoughtless manner or was in a hurry….”. Clearly the key word in that sentence is the second “or” when TfL have interpreted it to mean “and”. There is no basis for claiming that all accidents where factor 602 is attached were rated by the police as ones where a driver was in a hurry. They might have simply been careless. Only where the other factors 306 or 307 were also noted could there be any claim that speed was a factor in the accident.
We now have the complete accident data to enable us to work out what the correct figure is, but it is likely to be very much lower. We will advise in due course as it will take some time to analyse the data.
Note also that a lot of the reported factor 306 and 307 claims of excessive speed and speed above the speed limit might well involve illegal use of vehicles such as stolen vehicles so reducing speed limits will have negligible impact in reality.
There is simply no cost/benefit justification for the Safer Speeds proposals as pointed out in our previous article and TfL have now been found to have been fiddling the figures to make spurious claims.
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