Sunday, October 15, 2006

Road accidents and ethnicity

During the school holidays we went up to the Bay of Plenty. A greater police presence was obvious on the roads, which prompted me to look at road crashes and ethnicity, given the higher Maori population in that region.

28 percent of crash fatalities were Maori in 2005. So we have another disproportionality due to Maori tending "to be young, rural and of low socio-economic level".

The following graph shows that Pacific people and Maori experience much greater levels of hospitalisation per 100 million km travelled.

The maths is beyond me I am afraid but the chance of Maori being killed or injured on the road is more than double that of other New Zealanders. Pacific people, for the amount of driving they do, are also much more likely to be hospitalised, particularly 0-14 year-olds.

Another road-related reflection; For many years driving was part of my job and I've covered all areas of New Zealand. Today it would drive me nuts, constantly trying to keep to 100km. Last holiday I was pinged on the desert road doing 115km I think. Long downhill stretch necessitating constant braking to keep your speed legal - not another car in sight - perfect driving conditions. It's just a drag. We saw two cars being ticketed and both were in the same situation. Caught at the bottom of a long downhill stretch with good visibility.

The other occasion on which I've been ticketed recently was coming down the Ngauranga Gorge. Again, just as you enter the steep decline the abitrary speed limit flashing overhead invariably shows 80km which means everybody has to brake reasonably hard to bleed off 20 km before passing the camera. It was late at night, fine, very light traffic and I sailed past at over 80km. Shock, horror, danger, danger. $$$ down the drain. It pisses me off.

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