It is truly said that there are lies, damned lies and statistics – but sometimes they CAN be revealing…
Take Road Traffic Accident deaths f’rinstance. For many a year in the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, assorted islands and a few remaining Lands Across The Sea, the toll sat at around ten a day.
This despite the introduction of mandatory seatbelt wearing (drivers felt safer – drove faster – and while dying in smaller numbers – killed more pedestrians).
But checking the latest figures, I discovered that it has now decreased to SIX (probably due to the high price of fuel – speed cameras merely raise revenue – and drivers’ blood pressure).
While in India, it is currently three hundred and sixty-seven a day.
Of course, the Subcontinent has a larger population that the United Kingdom of (etc.) – almost TWENTY TIMES larger.
However, this still makes the pro rata RTA death rate three times higher there. Why?
Well, it has nothing to do with how tightly packed the population is. More numbers…
In India, if everyone SPREAD OUT – they would be around a hundred and fifty feet from each other. But it surprised me to learn that in the UK, the gap would only increase to around two hundred and twenty feet – about fifty percent more. Thus the citizens of the Uke are pretty tightly packed as well.
And so I checked out ANOTHER statistic: car ownership. And while it turns out that about half of all Ukers own cars – only about one in FIFTY Indians are as lucky.
Which means if Indians (whose economy is currently spiralling UP) ever reach the same car-ownership percentage – their RTA death rate will reach SEVENTY-FIVE times what it is back in Blighty.
Or is it those damned lying statistics again?
Well, perhaps not. From what this reporter has seen on TV (he has never actually VISITED the Subcontinent) Indian drivers put their faith in their RELIGIONS, rather than using their eyes and basic commonsense.
The thinking is, “If it is my time to go, my God will take me – but if not, he will spare me.” Thus Indian drivers overtake on blind corners without ANY consideration of whether it is the “time” of the poor sod coming the OTHER WAY.
And the result of this thinking can be clearly seen in the first season of the History TV series, “IRT: Most Dangerous Roads” – where the perils of the crumbling mountain tracks of the Himalayas were a picnic compared to the hazards encountered down in the towns and cities of northern India, from the idiotic drivers there.
Here in Thailand, the citizens are Buddhists – and they are every bit as devoted to their God as the citizens of India. But they look where they are going and so have no more accidents than their UKnian cousins.
Although in Thailand’s case, those stats DO finally mislead; TOTAL road casualty figures here are much higher – why?
Well, cars cost most people more than their HOUSES and car insurance is pants, so THEIR drivers drive with CARE.
But moronic kids drive cheap comedy motorbikes – step-thrus that handle like rubbish and are ridden the wrong way along pitted roads by up to six crash-hatless youths per machine – which results in them all bearing the scars of THEIR stupidity.
Those who SURVIVE, that is…
And so, while statistics certainly CAN lie – more often than not, they tell A truth.
In the case of Indian drivers: your EYES and BRAIN will keep you alive on your roads a lot longer than your GODS will.
And in the case of Thai kids: if you want to become Thai adults, when you get on one of those two-wheeled nightmares – LOOK WHERE YOU’RE FREAKIN’ GOING…