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Road safety communication: comparison of media reports and official risk statistics
  1. E Schnieder*,
  2. F Stegemann
  1. Correspondence Institute for Traffic Safety and Automation Engineering, Technische Universitt, Langer Kamp 8 38106, Braunschweig 38106, Germany

Abstract

Risk as a measure for safety consists of two orthogonal values: severity and frequence, as it is defined in most transport relevant standards. For safety evaluation and estimation, a thorough investigation and data collection is necessary which is officially performed by the police and statistical offices by means of a determined communication chain. The results were collected, condensed and published. On the other hand, actual accidents and incidents are reported to press and news agencies, where they are published after report and occurrence. The quantity of information of media published news refers mainly to the severity and to the rareness of its occurrence, according to Shannon's law of information. However, the public impact modifies the public awareness of safety issues from important risks to attractive events. To validate this observation, a long-time study has been performed and evaluated. Over 1 year, all press release/articles about traffic accidents in a certain regional newspaper were collected, and the information was quantified according to a qualitative measure of its information impact. The result was compared with the objective data gathered by adjacent police reports. The results of this comparison underline the stated hypothesis.

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