A Safe Speed visitor quizzed the Hong Kong authorities about accident causation factors, and forwarded an Excel spreadsheet to us. The information supplied included email and postal addresses and has been verified.
We have reproduced the exact data supplied and performed some additional analysis.
|Hong Kong Injury Accidents
related to speed.
 Number of injury accidents related to speed includes contributory factors of: "Exceeding the speed limit", "Driving too fast for road environment" and "Driving too fast for other road users"
 Number of injury accidents related to "Exceeding the speed limit".
 Provisional figures as at 2003-09-03; covering period January to August.
It is interesting to compare the number
of "speed related" accidents with the number of accidents where "exceeding
the speed limit" was recorded. Adding the figures for various years we
Obviously in Hong Kong only 4.18% of speed related accidents involve exceeding the speed limit.
Even for KSI accidents only 6.6% of speed related accidents involve exceeding the speed limit.
Out of 55,582 injury accidents only 56 had speed in excess of a speed limit as a contributory factor. That's just 0.1%
Verifying the figures
We received these data in an email from a third party. Obviously it was important that we verify that the figures are accurate. We wrote to Hong Kong Police for confirmation, and here is their reply:
Dear Mr. Smith,Thanks Betty!
Note: We have published all the Hong Kong figures received, not a "selection", neither have we carried out any "transformations".
Hong Kong realities
We have received a few emails about this page suggesting that Hong Kong traffic is dominated by rickshaws and rarely gets the opportunity to exceed the speed limit. Naturally if this were true, then the low figure for accidents caused by exceeding the speed limit would be very much a Hong Kong phenomenon. In stark contrast to this view is an email received from a British chap who actually lives in Hong Kong. Here's the email reproduced verbatim:
"In urban areas we have a 50 KPH limit and it is extremely difficult to keep within this figure without being flashed or blasted by a horn from the fellow [or lady] behind. Of course in the city and in Kowloon where traffic is dense the limit can not exceeded, but once there is an open stretch of clear road, things change fast.Thanks Bob!
|Safe Speed concludes
We've long been looking for improved estimates of the number of excessive speed accidents which actually involve exceeding a speed limit. We've been working on an estimate from Canadian research where one third of excessive speed accidents also involved exceeding a speed limit. This figures from Hong Kong suggest that even the Canadian estimate could be very high.
Hong Kong is a different environment to the UK. We obviously have a far greater percentage of rural roads, but most serious road accidents in the UK still take place in built up areas.
What might this mean in the context of UK roads fatal accidents? 3,400 accidents annually x 10% speed related x 22% in excess of a speed limit implies 75 fatalities which involve speed in excess of a speed limit. But there are two further factors to apply: We must discount the 75 "saveable lives" by a) the percentage of drivers who have such accidents but ignore the law (includes Joyriders, escaping criminals, Police drivers on emergency call) - say 50%, and further discount by a figure which represents "imperfect enforcement" and we know we have imperfect speed limit enforcement because millions of tickets are being issued annually. Call that 50% again. So calculate 75 x 50% x 50% = just 18 lives within reach of all the bonkers modern speed enforcement.
A similar calculation for serious injuries gives: 36,000 x 10% (speed related) x 6.6% (over the speed limit) x 90% (lawful drivers) x 50% (enforcement efficiency) = 107 serious injuries within reach of increased speed enforcement. (note that we have adjusted the proportion of "lawful" drivers up to 90% for serious injury accidents)
Against these potential savings in lives and serious injuries we must offset the negative effects of increased speed enforcement. (click here) We think those negative effects are huge, and now cost some 1,200 lives each year.
We really need an up to date UK estimate for the number of "excessive speed accidents" which also involve exceeding a speed limit. But evidence from Canada, and now Hong Kong suggests the number will be small or very small.
Let's make speed cameras as unacceptable as drink driving
Created 11/09/2003. Last update 22/09/2003