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In researching my other question, I found a hard time getting all the sources of numbers of deaths to agree with each other. Some of the numbers I found are as follows:

As no two numbers agree, who's telling the truth, and why don't they all have the same numbers? They are all claiming to use data provided by the police. Does it make sense that the NYPD would give out five different versions of numbers at different times?

  • I doubt the NY police have a tally sheet they keep around to be ticked up each time a pedestrian gets hit by a car. The numbers they give are most likely aggregated from many reports which include pedestrian-hit-but-survived and events unrelated to the statistic in question. They probably don't have an automated way to do this, and I'll bet money that some if not all of the reports have to be looked up on hardcopy (even for the ones that have digital records, they may be required to confirm with hardcopy). Statistics would thus fluctuate based on human error in creating the report. – Brian S Oct 30 '14 at 21:19
  • I would be surprised if the difference between 168 and 183 made a practical difference to any likely decision – DJClayworth Oct 30 '14 at 21:41
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The numbers are, broadly speaking, consistent. The lower number of pedestrian deaths reported for 2013, were from Jan and Feb 2014: that's when you'd expect that number to be provisional, and to under-estimate the total. As 2014 progressed, better data and late returns would have been compiled, leading to a rise in the numbers. So the 183 is probably about right.

I believe that the Village Voice number of 286 refers to people killed, not just pedestrians. That would include cyclists, motorcyclists, car drivers, and car passengers. It's also very close to the pedestrian fatality figure (287) for New York State (rather than just city) - source as below, page vi.

Exactly what consists of a traffic fatality, and what does not, might on the face of it seem to be an obvious distinction. But it's not. It might be 10 days after a collision before the consequential death. Or 3 months. Someone might die 2 years later, due to complications arising after a collision. An arbitrary line has to be drawn somewhere. And it's not always possible to keep track of someone's health after a collision: there might not be any institution tasked with owning that tracking and follow-up. Those are some of the reasons why figures for 2013 traffic fatalities would change during the course of 2014.

Within the FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) system used to analyse traffic fatalities, the definition used is:

A Police-reported Crash Involving A Motor Vehicle In Transport On A Trafficway In Which At Least One Person Dies Within 30 Days Of The Crash

Here's an example of a provisional figure being increased: from the New York State 2013 Highway Safety Annual Report, page iii

When the 2011 AIS data file was finalized, the number of alcohol-related injuries increased from 5,447 to 6,121.

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