Fatal Accidents

How Prosperity and Safety Are Linked

Accidents are generally regarded as unexpected events that do not fall into any regular pattern. Such is not the case. Analysis of the historical records of accident mortality rates in general, and specifically in industry and transport, shows that they diminish with the passage of time in an ordered fashion, although we are not consciously aware of this fact.

In his challenging book Fatal Accidents, the author, in order to explain this paradox, proposes a model of human behaviour in which the reduction in fatal accident rates results from a development of skill, such that the population becomes progressively more adept at avoiding mishaps. Such changes are subconsciously and collectively regulated by the population concerned - for example, by drivers in the case of road transport - and are made possible by advances in science and technology. A similar model is applicable to the reduction of general mortality rates, to economic growth and to population growth. The future cannot be predicted, but at present safety is improving at a satisfactory rate.
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Anyone who wants to understand why accidents occur


Book information

  • Published: June 2009
  • Imprint: Woodhead Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-84569-530-9


…written in a very direct style and authoritative manner with a propensity to take every day assumptions and stand them on their head., The RoSPA Occupational Safety & Health Journal

Table of Contents

How fatal accidents happen; Fatality and loss rates in transport and industry; Mortality from all causes; Economic growth; Analysing historical data: Characteristics and methods; Some outstanding questions.