“For years, the RTMC has compared unconfirmed figures were compared with confirmed figures, resulting in a flattering, but inaccurate picture of road safety. In its latest release, however, the RTMC has clearly stated whether figures were confirmed or unconfirmed, ie., whether they excluded as-yet uncaptured fatalities,” he said. “They have also clarified that they have moved to the international standard under which a traffic fatality is deemed to have occurred up to 30 days after a crash, rather than the previous seven days,” he added.
He described these as positive moves and said that the RTMC seemed to have realised that there was no profit in misleading comparisons. “We cannot do something about road safety unless it is accurately measured and reported – only then will we know if our interventions have been effective or not,” he commented.
“Having said that though, the actual figures are dire and the December 2010 to January 2011 holiday season is shaping up to be one of the worst ever. Already, 1358 deaths have occurred, and that figure has yet to be finalised, meaning it’s likely to rise substantially,” said Handfield – Jones. He said that the unconfirmed death toll for the equivalent period in the 2009 / 2010 holiday season was 1050. “This means deaths are up by a whopping 29% so far. That’s a catastrophe.”
He said that finalised direct comparisons with last year will depend on whether the RTMC issues a final confirmed death-toll based on the seven-day period as well as the 30-day period. “It’s inevitable that the move to the 30-day period will inflate the death toll, but that does not account for the 29% jump in unconfirmed numbers we’re currently seeing,” he added. “Now that the RTMC has improved its year-on-year comparisons of road deaths, it needs to turn its attention to saving lives. The much-vaunted National Rolling Enforcement Plan is clearly not working and urgent measures need to be taken to get road deaths under control,” he concluded.