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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The RTA are a bunch of useless tossers

I've finally almost finished the RTA's stupid gauntlet of plates and tests, and I'm going for my full driver's licence. The test for that is a combination of an unrealistic hazard perception test and a quiz about utterly useless statistics. Some of the statistics are more than useless - they don't even make sense. Take this example, copied and pasted directly from the Driver Qualification Handbook, page 49:
  • At least 14 per cent of all crashes involve the driver being distracted by something.
  • Distractions that happen outside the vehicle account for about 30 per cent of crash-related distractions.
  • Distractions that happen inside the vehicle add up to about 36 per cent of crash-related distractions.
Is there some third possibility here that I'm not aware of? Where the hell is the other 34 per cent, in some no-man's land between the inside and the outside of the car?

There's some other dodgy stuff in there. Have a look at this graph about crash types, from page 10:



Nice graph, eh? Got the little pictures on there and everything. But compare this graph with one I made using the same data on a graph-making website:



Specifically, look at the large blue part. 25 per cent should obviously be one quarter of the chart. On the RTA's bullshit graph it looks more like 36 per cent. The three on the left-hand side of the graph are wrong too, leaving only two sections that are more or less right. Lots of people, including me, absorb information more easily in visual form, and are going to look at the graph rather than the numbers, and will get a false impression.

Nice work, RTA. Give us bullshit information and then test us on it. That'll make us better drivers.

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