Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lies, **** lies and road death

After all that has gone on this term. I am really looking forward to having a break in a few weeks time and, in particular, to going back to the UK with my family to see my family - if you see what I mean. This will involve me driving greater distances than I have since last time I was back - shoulder rehabilitation permitting.

I was, then, very interested to see a report on the BBC web-site telling us that road deaths in the UK are at their lowest since 1926. This is the link:

This seemed very counter-intuitive to me. I find UK roads terrifying.

But then, I am one of those who wishes that the internal combustion engine had never been invented and who regards the car as the creation of the Devil. I find it hard to think of any argument in its favour.

Incredibly, in London, traffic moved at the same speed in Victorian England, if you rode a horse, as it does now, if you drive a Ferrari. This may expalin why everyone goes speed mad on the motorways when they are not blocked by road-works or accidents. But I digress.

How, then, to explain the corrspondence in deaths between 1926 and 2008. I think the answer lies in another statistic. The number of people both killed or seriously injured in 2008 was 28,567.

In other words, it is not that accidents don't happen, it is just that we are better now at keeping people alive afterwards. Headline statistics like this feed what we want to believe. As car addicts, we want to be told that cars are safe, even though they are not.

The one good thing to come out of the present world-wide recession is that car purchase is declining. Sadly, I don't think it will be long before we take up our addiction again. We haven't got off the trip, we just lack the money at the moment to finance it.

I also noticed the other day in the news that India is planning a big expansion of its road network. Ironic, as another item in the news was that train operators in the UK want to expand the railway network. Perhaps the two countires should talk to one another.

Especially since the UK gave India its railways and India is now buying up the UK car industry.

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