Meaningful measurements

We shouldn’t be surprised that road safety authorities are obsessed with speeding – it’s an easily measured safety factor in a sea of possible factors (fatigue, distractions, blood alcohol, skill, training, conditions and vehicle maintenance to name a few) that are not. It was then only a short step to attribute meaning to that limited data set and blame speeding for almost everything. This long-running road safety TVC is a particularly good example of this, blaming speed for three dangerous behaviours that include no speeding at all:

Humans are particularly good at recognising patterns and applying meaning to data no matter how poor our data sets are – consider astrology, for example. Ensure, therefore, that you go well beyond the easily measurable data – consider instead what factors might be meaningful and find new ways to measure them.