August 16, 2017

Seatbelts save (some) lives

It’s pretty standard that headlines (and often politicians) overstate the likely effect of road safety precautions — eg, the claim that lowering the blood alcohol limit would prevent all deaths in which drivers were over the limit, which it obviously won’t.

This is from the Herald’s front page.

belt

On the left, the number 94 is the number of people who died in crashes while not wearing seatbelts. On the right (and in the story), the we find that this is about a third of all the deaths. It’s quite possible to wear a seatbelt and still die in a crash.

Looking for research, I found this summary from a UK organisation that does independent reviews on road safety issues. They say seatbelts in front seats prevent about 45% of fatal injuries in front seat passengers. For rear-seat passengers the data are less clear.

So, last year probably about 45 people died on our roads because they weren’t wearing seatbelts. That’s a big enough number to worry about: we don’t need to double it.

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Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »

Comments

  • avatar
    steve curtis

    The other thing that worries about this:
    ‘The Herald and the Police join forces…”
    Its really a form of sponsored content.

    1 month ago