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According to Irakli Gharibashvili, owing to preventive measures, as compared to the last year, the number of traffic deaths has decreased by 60%. Revised

On 24 October 2013, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Irakli Gharibashvili (currently Prime Minister) presented the Ministry’s annual report. In his speech Gharibashvili highlighted the issue of traffic deaths:  “In order to prevent road accidents, an additional 29 automated surveillance systems, so-called radar systems, have been installed on the main motorways and streets of Georgia. Citizens receive information about the penalty fines observed by the cameras via text messages. The police cars are equipped with GPS systems that enable us to record the exact accident places, define the dangerous sections and take the security measures. Based upon the patrol police instructions, up to 3,000 road signs and the so-called speed limiting barriers (1,800 meters) were installed. Owing to preventive measures, as compared to the last year, the number of traffic deaths has decreased by 60%.”

According to the 2013 Mission and Strategy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, one of the main objectives of the Ministry is to decrease the number of road accidents and that of traffic deaths. For 2013, the priorities of the Ministry are: increasing public awareness on road safety issues, introducing/modernising traffic safety systems, improving the capabilities of the patrol police and collecting statistics concerning road accidents.

FactCheck

took interest in the accuracy of the statement regarding the 60% decrease of traffic deaths and checked the compliance of the data with the reality.

It should be noted that the websites of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Statistics Office of Georgia do not present any statistical data on traffic deaths. On 1 November FactCheck

addressed the Public Information Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and requested the statistical information of 2011, 2012 and 2013 on the preventive measures taken in this respect. We received a delayed answer from the Ministry on 12 December (according to the law, a public entity is required to provide public information within ten working days).

Based upon the information received, we learned that prior to 1 October 2012, a total of 258 crews patrolled Georgia, of which 93 patrolled Tbilisi. Since 1 October 2012, 72 crews were added to the list and currently a total of 330 crews patrol Georgia countrywide; there are 136 crews in Tbilisi. Nowadays, just as it was prior to 1 October 2012, each crew is equipped with the GPS system. There are 46 radar systems installed throughout the country; 17 are in Tbilisi, 13 – on motorways, 11 – in Ajara and five – in Guria.

According to the letter of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in 2011, a total of 4,486 road accidents with 526 deaths were recorded in Georgia.

Month 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Number of road accidents 342 279 289 313 346 386 448 439 435 450 406 353 4,468
Number of deaths 53 36 21 28 34 36 62 50 71 55 55 25 526

In line with the abovementioned statistics, the percentage of traffic deaths in 2011 equals 11.8%.

Based upon the data of the Ministry, in 2012, a total of 5,359 road accidents with 605 deaths were recorded in Georgia.

Month 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Number of road accidents 342 259 294 335 366 420 511 583 579 573 556 541 5,359
Number of deaths 49 12 32 27 49 37 55 69 72 69 70 64 605

The table above shows that in 2012, the percentage of traffic deaths was 11.3%.

We also analysed the ten-month data of 2013 based upon the information obtained from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. A total of 4,531 road accidents with 422 traffic deaths were registered in the period of January-October 2013.

Month 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Number of road accidents 445 355 405 394 472 482 448 505 489 536 N/A N/A 4,531
Number of deaths 46 23 33 37 54 47 53 42 41 46 N/A N/A 422

Based upon the ten-month data of 2013, the percentage of traffic deaths equals 9.6%.

Irakli Gharibashvili presented the Ministry’s annual report on 24 October 2013. The letter we received from the Ministry of Internal Affairs also contains the information for the period January-October of 2013. Based upon that very letter, we compared the data of 2011, 2012 and the ten-month period of 2013.

 

Year

 

Road Accidents

 

Number of Deaths

Mortality Rate (percentage)

Change in Mortality Rate (Decrease)

2011 3,727 446 11.9

-

2012 4,262 471 11

7.69%

2013 4,531 422 9.3

15.75%

The table shows that the biggest number of road accidents was recorded in the ten-month period of 2013 (4,531) from among all three years. However, it is also to be noted that the least number of traffic deaths was observed in the same year (422).

In 2012, the number of traffic deaths grew by 5.6% relative to 2011, but the number of road accidents in 2012 was considerably larger also. The death toll in 2013 decreased by 10.4% as compared to the indicator of 2012, while the number of road accidents registered in 2013 exceeded that of the previous year.

As the number of road accidents varied in 2011, 2012 and 2013, it proves more reasonable to make the comparative analysis based upon the mortality rate instead of the sheer number of deaths. The mortality rate expresses the number of deaths per 100 accidents; the indicator for 2011 equalled 12, in 2012 the figure was at 11 while in 2013 the rate fell to nine.

In the January-October period of 2011, the mortality rate resulting from road accidents was equal to 11.97%, in 2012 – 11.05%, while in 2013 the figure decreased to 9.31%. Consequently, we conclude that the mortality rate in 2012 fell by about 7.69% as compared to 2011. Whereas the mortality rate of 2013 showed a decrease of 15.75% relative to the indicator 2012.

We also allowed a possibility that Irakli Gharibashvili associated the 60% decrease of traffic deaths only with those departments where the radar systems had been installed. FactCheck inquired about the traffic death toll in the place with the highest numbers (17 out of 29) of radarsystems. Accordingly, we compared the statistical data of 2011, 2012 and the ten-month period of 2013 of the Tbilisi/Mtskheta-Mtianeti Department.[1]

Year

Road Accidents in Tbilisi/Mtskheta-Mtianeti Department

Number of Deaths

Mortality Rate (Percentage)

2011

1,732

130

7.5%

2012

1,713

105

6.06%

2013

2,036

90

4.42%

In 2012, the number of traffic deaths resulting from road accidents in the Tbilisi/Mtskheta-Mtianeti Department decreased by 19.2% as compared to 2011. While the indicator of 2013 saw a 14.3% decrease relative to 2012.

As gathered from the table, the mortality rate of road accidents saw a decline in 2012 as compared to 2011 and the same dynamics was observed in 2013. Particularly, in 2012 mortality rate fell by 19.2% relative to 2012, while in 2013 the registered decrease amounted to 27.06%.

Conclusion

The letter received from the Ministry of Internal Affairs confirms that certain preventive measures have indeed been taken. In particular, 29 radar systems have been installed and 72 additional patrol crews have been deployed throughout Georgia. All 72 cars were equipped with GPS systems like the rest of the crews. The death toll resulting from road accidents fell from 471 in 2012 to 422 in 2013, hence, the number of deaths showed a decrease of 10.4%, which is far less than 60%. As for the mortality rate, it fell by 15.75% in 2013 as compared to 2012.

We made an assumption that the 60% decrease of traffic deaths mentioned in the report concerned only the sections equipped with the radarsystems. Since 17 of the 29 radarsystems were installed in Tbilisi, we conducted the comparative analysis based upon the data of the Tbilisi/Mtskheta-Mtianeti Department. It was revealed that in 2013, as compared to 2012, the number of traffic deaths had decreased by 14.3% which is also significantly less than 60%. The mortality rate of 2013 saw a 27.06% downturn as compared to 2012.

Although certain preventive measures have indeed been taken for the purpose of diminishing the number of deaths resulting from road accidents and the death toll in fact saw a decrease, the observed decline is much smaller than the percentage (60%) indicated by Irakli Gharibashvili. Consequently, we conclude that the statement of Irakli Gharibashvili: “Owing to preventive measures, as compared to the last year, the number of traffic deaths has decreased by 60%,” is MOSTLY FALSE.

Editor’s note: After the publication of the initial version of the article, the readers expressed different opinions regarding our methodology of calculating the number of traffic deaths and comparing the figures according to different years. Mindful of the fact that in his statement the Prime Minister refers to “the number of traffic deaths” in particular and not to the mortality rate of road accidents, FactCheck initially decided to compare the absolute indicators of the registered traffic deaths. After the publication of the article, however, the FactCheck editorial staff came to the conclusion that for a more comprehensive analysis of the subject the mortality rates had to be compared as well. In the revised version of the article we present the results of both calculations. These computations reveal that this year the number of traffic deaths fell by 10.4% as compared to the previous year, while the mortality rate indicator saw a decrease of 15.75%. As can be seen, the difference between the two indicators is relatively insignificant while both of them differ substantially from the figure (60%) indicated by the Prime Minister. Accordingly, the FactCheck’s ruling remains unchanged.


[1]

 In January 2013 this Department was divided into two: the Tbilisi and Mtskheta Departments. Mtianeti was added to the Department of Mtskheta.


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