Mark Easton Scrutinises “Official” Accident Statistics

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Mark Easton, the BBC’s home editor, wrote an illuminating post on his splendid blog that suggests far more people are seriously injured on Britain’s roads than the government figures suggest.

Analysis by the UK Statistics Authority, the watchdog for official data, reveals the under-reporting of road accident casualties is a significant and intractable problem

Instead of 26,000 people suffering serious injury after road accidents last year, the Department for Transport accepts that the true figure may be closer to 50,000. And the UKSA fears that the under-counting may mean the issue does not get the attention it deserves.

“The published statistics may not be sufficiently reliable to meet all user needs”, the authority argues, demanding that the Department for Transport “explain and contextualise the limitations of the statistics more fully at the time of publication”.

This matters because the level of carnage caused by drivers shapes road safety policy. As the authority puts it today: “These statistics are used… to save lives and reduce injury on the roads.”

If twice as many people as previously chronicled are suffering serious injury, the arguments for greater use of measures to target bad and reckless drivers become more compelling.

The Department for Transport has long known that its data on road casualties is suspect.

As the National Audit Office recently put it:

“There have been a number of studies of under-reporting, dating back to the 1970s, and from the limited data available it is estimated that there may be about twice as many casualties as are reported, although very few fatalities are unrecorded.”

The question for government, though, is not whether the figures under-record. They accept that they do. “The issue,” as the most recent internal report puts it, “is how constant over time are the levels of under-recording, misclassification and under-reporting, especially of serious accidents”

In other words, it is the trend not the number that matters – and for the last decade, the government has been reporting a downward picture.

The good news is that while our roads have got substantially busier, deaths have declined from around 3,500 a year to 2,500. The less good news is that fatalities in motor vehicles are still among the most common ways for 15-34-year-olds in Britain to lose their lives.

Three times as many people are killed in road crashes than get murdered. More than a thousand more die in motor accidents than from illegal drugs.

In rural areas, where car use is more often necessary and where average speeds are higher, rates can be many times greater. The worst place for road deaths is the north of Scotland.

The average age of a road death victim is 36.9, and three-quarters of those who die are men – predominantly in their teens, 20s and 30s.

While the death figures are probably reasonably robust, MPs are worried about the injury statistics. Earlier this month, the chair of the Transport Select Committee, Louise Ellman MP, referred to the “national scandal” of death and injury on Britain’s roads and the absence of good statistics.

“The Committee was extremely concerned about the lack of reliability in the data on road injuries, particularly those in relation to serious injuries. (…) We want the Government to do more on that issue, as we are not satisfied that the information that we are getting is accurate.”

She also made the point that motoring fatalities simply don’t get the same headlines as those who die in plane or train crashes.

“It is self-evident. Indeed, it should make us think a little – that the scale of the carnage on our roads is not acceptable in any other mode of transport. We are talking about 2,500 people dead and more than 230,000 casualties, and, if those figures related to rail, sea or aviation, there would be national uproar. However, there is no uproar about them.”

Follow Mark Easton @ the BBC

Charity Pool Party – Swimwear Fashion Show

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The Shelf was delighted when our invitations to our favourite charity’s Annual Skimpy Clothes Exhibition arrived – Dress Code – minimal – and after weeks of anticipation we finally joined the tanned and toned at this splendid charity event.

Charity Swimwear Show

No not tatty second hand clothes picked up from high street charity shops – but glamourous haute couture of sizzling swimwear.

Fundraising has never been so much fun

In these days of global awareness charities are thinking of more and more creative ways to raise money that don’t compromise their own objectives.  Many high profile organisations are quite right to disassociate themselves with professional fundraising events that serve to profit from fundraisers who are looking to be funded by the sponsorship money they collect to take part in some jolly event that takes their fancy. For example it wouldn’t look too good for a charity that is working to help those suffering the effects of climate change and global warming to have fundraisers stamp a massive carbon footprint by arranging a day flying a plane to perform a ‘charity’ parachute jump.

Swimwear fashion show

In this instance the theme of global warming was highlighted by the need for swimwear and sun protection as the temperatures rise.

Laughter a plenty when the opening model was a Borat look-a-likey sporting a eye-wateringly tight mankini followed by Bruno in lemon shorts and a knotted handkerchief – high camp beside the seaside.

Then followed the professional models demonstrating the latest swimwear designs – and golly they were stunning – like sitting in on a live Sports Illustrated Swimsuit video shoot.

During the interval free smaples of P20 sunfilter were handed out as a timely reminder that many sun cream products fail to adequately protect fair skin from intense.

The second half of the show was an opportuunity to showcase even mor revealing swimming costumes and beach style sexy lingerie – by the time the curtain drew the event to a closr the assembled audience were in rapture.

We at the Shelf are now considering switching our following of the mighty spurs and football to an all together more pleasing sport – beach volleyball.

UK Holiday – Take the Train, Hire a Car and Go Camping

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A while ago we discussed a driving holiday in Spain and suggested some family attractions to visit in Costa Blanca.  However with the prospect of a glorious summer in the UK we think that many people are reconsidering their holiday options.

UK Holiday

Recent reports of the stagnant economy are forcing more and more families to consider taking their summer holiday in the UK – or to give it a funky name a Staycation.  Hard up families are beginning to explore the wonders of camping and are discovering that a camping holiday can actually be a relaxing comfortable healthy experience.  For those who insist on luxury but at affordable prices glamping is all the rage – no need to buy and pack the most important items such as tents and sleeping bags – they are already waiting for you when you arrive at the site.

Many glamping resorts have opened up in the South West in the hope of attracting visitors from Europe as well as the UK.  In fact the tourist industries of Devon and Cornwall have ironically benefited from the squeeze on the economy and are expecting to attract visitors who are keen to lower their carbon footprints and enjoy the seaside and beach life that the South West is famous for.

Run to the Sun

Depending on how far you expect to travel a staycation can rack up an eye-watering fuel bill as well as wear and tear on your family car – a vist from London to St Ives is not only tiring but is close to 800 miles round trip.  Families are once again the delights of travelling by train – exploring the benefits of family railcards that simplify the cost of journies

Duplicate content?

The beauty of glamping is the provision of all necesary camping equipment so make sure you find out what you actually only need to take to avoid duplication.

Hire a car

Without the palavar or need to pack and carry camping equipment with you an thought from the shelf is to consider using local UK car hire companies and arrange to pick up a hire car at the station when you arrive – relaxed and rested from a fast, cool comfortable train journey. A short drive to your location and you will find everyting waiting for you – a tent ready erected, decent beds and essential camping equipment.

When you think about it the average family only uses a car to make a few visits to local attractions and for shopping trips so why clock up all that mileage and gallons of fuel to simply have the occasional use of your own car.  Hiring a car makes sense.

Save money, have fun and enjoy your staycation in the UK.

Let’s Tweet together

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Now it seems that offering there is a new way to increase the audience you have on social networking site Twitter. The BBC today released news of a Australian social media marketing company uSocial offering a unique service.

uSocial is offering companies a paid service that will find followers for users of the micro-blogging service for a fee starting at $87 (£53) for 1,000. The companies offer packages that go up to 100,000 people, a significant boost to the audience companies can market through Twitter.

uSocial will find potential followers by searching Twitter and working out what individual users are interested in. USocial will also profile where people are so it can more closely match users with feeds they might want to follow.

USocial then sends messages to potential followers telling them about the new Twitter user they might want to follow.

“It’s up to the user to follow them or not,” said Mr Hill. He added that uSocial continues to look for followers until the specified number had signed up.

“A woman who runs yoga classes is one of our clients,” he said. “So are some religious organisations including one man that just wants to get the word out about God.”

“Twitter started as a way for just friends to keep in touch,” said Mr Hill. “As with any social media site once they get big, every business or marketer jumps on the bandwagon.”

The estimates value put on a follower on Twitter is 10 cents a month for a company that gets a user to sign up. The money would be made from adverts and sales on websites that followers click through to.

Summer Sun and Home Bargains

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With the summer now in full swing and the BBQ out more nights than not, home improvement may be a task that is put on the back burner. That said it is these summer months when some great prices can be got on furniture and other house hold products. You only have to look at the DFS sofa advertising and Kitchen prices available to back this up.

Here at The Shelf we make bring you the rundown in what furniture to look for this summer. First up sideboards:

Sideboards are often a highly under-rated piece of furniture; they are incredibly useful in many different spaces and rooms throughout the home; they fit inoffensively and neutrally with the rest of your furniture as they are not tall enough to impose upon or dominate the space in a room. In fact, most sideboards are effective in creating extra space, as they act as both a useful storage facility and a make shift coffee table and extra surface to display vases or ornaments.

Like dressers, a sideboard can be used as either an attractive piece of furniture and neat way to organise things in your home, or a cheeky space to clear the clutter away when guests announce a surprise visit! Sideboards are ideal as a piece of Indian, birch hardwood or oak furniture, as the solid wood makes them appear elegant and sophisticated. An Indian side table offers a much richer depth of colour to a room than oak furniture, which is more light and natural, but the ideal choice depends on personal preference, the existing furniture within the room and the colour and décor of the space.

Sideboards are most commonly used in dining rooms, living rooms or hallways but they would also make a useful addition to bedroom furniture or in a bathroom, where they could store towels or bathroom products.

The range of sideboards available is extensive. It is possible to choose sideboards with or without legs, sideboards with varying patterns, a sideboard of birch, Indian, mango or oak furniture, sideboards with drawers, cupboards or a combination of both depending on what exactly you intend to store, and sideboards of varying length, width and height so that the furniture will fit neatly and exactly into your home and complement the other furniture in the room.

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