Save My Child -- Hump My Street
When speedhump zealots want their streets humped they conjure up imaginary images of children splattered on auto grills. [And, local TV "reporters" eat it up.] Such irrational, emotional outbursts appear are the major basis of support for speedhump programs. Let's try to bring some perspective to these preposterous claims.
Three pedestrians younger than15 are
killed in Houston each year. ('96-'97 data from Texas DPS Accidents
Records Bureau, the last years for which we have data). To be
clear, this means a total of 3 children are killed on Houston's
streets each year.
To be clear, this means a total of 3 children are killed on Houston's streets each year.
Houston does not break this down by type
of street, but Austin, Texas does.
Austin's percent of deaths on residential streets is roughly 10% of
total pedestrian deaths.
Applying Austin's rate to Houston yields
1/3 of one child killed on Houston's residential streets each year --
that's on all residential streets in the entire city.
This means if:
The most we could save is 1 child every 3 years -- in all of Houston.
But, all of Houston's streets aren't
humped. About 600 of
Houston's 48000 streets have humps, and of these, only a portion of each
street is humped.
It's difficult to get data from the
City, so the following estimates are rough.
Roughly eight-tenths of one percent
(0.8%) of Houston's residential street-miles are humped.
Houston has the most extensive speedhump
program in the nation. Yet
this estimate says, at best, Houston's speedhumps can only hope to prevent
about 24 ten-thousandths of one death per year (0.8% of residential
streets humped TIMES 0.3 children killed on residential streets
Said the other way 'round, if you assume
speedhumps could guarantee to prevent all deaths of children on all
humped streets, it will take 425 years for the current program to save one
The Coalition believes speedhumps cost
lives instead of saving them -- see our article on this
-- but, it's obvious humps can't
guarantee children's safety.
For example, backing out of driveways is a common cause of child
traffic deaths on residential streets. So, a breakdown of the
real causes would show it will take longer than 450 years to save one
child -- probably much longer.
Because Houston doesn't record which deaths are on residential streets, no one can make more accurate estimates, but the above estimates based on Austin's pattern are probably close, and probably typical of any large city.
So, back to "Hump My Street and Save My Child." To save just one child on a particular street it would take about 250,000 years. To save a particular family's child on that particular street would take something like 12 million years.
|Endnote: As we continue to say, it's very unlikely speedhumps save any lives -- for the many reasons explained in this article. But, for those who still believe humps save lives, and feel "Even one child saved in 400 years is worth any inconvenience;" they must address the fact that the lives lost from delayed fire and emergency medical response over 400 years will far-and-away exceed this imaginary one life saved. Speedhumps kill. See the clear and compelling evidence in this article.|