HEALTH AND SAFETY - Statistics can be misleading

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

A lot of reports are starting to appear in the media, providing information about how our lives have been through and post-lockdown. Some of them seem to be more valuable than others. For example, there was a report about how fewer people died during lockdown because the flu was minimised as people were in lockdown. This report made me wonder how much it cost to research this and what better use we could put the money to. Road deaths have also fallen. Ministry of Transport statistics show that 78 people have died on state highways to date this year compared with 86 last year for the same period. For local open roads there have been 50 compared with 86 deaths over this period. Our roads were like ghost towns during Covid-19 levels 4 and 3. As we moved to level 2 and then level 1, the traffic started to build back to, what we considered, normal levels.

Certainly, around our cities we are noticing that traffic is heavy, and there are delays from accidents and roadworks that all lead to frustrations. Our open roads are still not as busy as normal as the tourist drivers are not on the road. This also means that most drivers are used to the New Zealand road conditions, even though they may not be used to driving a campervan. Considering the low road toll during lockdown, and the reduced number of vehicles on the open road now, the road toll is still very high. We need to remain vigilant as drivers, owners of vehicles and managers of fleets so that our drivers are not fatigued, are well trained, and our vehicles are well maintained and fit for purpose. We must not be complacent about the safety of our drivers and others on the road.