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Accident statistics?
Last Post 19 Apr 2004 09:31 AM by rbmc. 20 Replies.
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JSirotaUser is Offline
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14 Feb 2004 09:16 PM
    Are there any public statistics about how many injury accidents occur during SCCA club racing (or maybe all amateur road racing) in an average year?
    matchboxUser is Offline
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    15 Feb 2004 09:50 AM
    I am sure that someone at SCCA Rick Management could tell you since they get all the reports. I don't know how you go about getting them.
    EYERACEUser is Offline
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    22 Feb 2004 05:02 PM
    worried, huh? uhh......no stats available for the bruised egos, nicks and such. by the way, no such thing as an average year. eye drive open wheel. i've been in 13 car pile ups where everybody walks away, seen people right in front of me on the track in open wheel cars flipped into walls in a ball of flames at 90 mph only to see them race the same car two hours later, been at tracks where people died in a one car incident that to this day goes down as "cause unknown", familiar with incidents where people say "glad i was wearing a Hans", done 100 mph backwards in the rain going into the Sebring hairpin and didn't even scratch the car, gone nose first into guard rails and walked away, had a car hit me broadside at 120 mph at the end of the Daytona backstretch and we both walked away, met people that will walk with a cane the rest of their lives thanks to turns 8 & 8a at Moroso [that turn no longer exists], know friends that lost brakes and had a headache for over two months, known spec racers to break their legs because there's that much room in the cockpit for their legs to flail around on impact but they didn't have padding down there, blown an engine and thought i was on fire when i wasn't, known an open wheel car to be launched five feet high up into the air in contact only to come down exactly lined up and then just keep on racing, watched people drive faster to put out their on board fire, sat in the middle of the track sideways only to watch like a slow motion movie a car hit me and we both walked away, you get the picture? eye can't help thinking why does one ask such a question.......unless you're writing a term paper, you're worried IMHO. just think about driving and preping the car, nothing else...that's racing
    PedalFasterUser is Offline
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    22 Feb 2004 09:49 PM
    A simple "I don't know" would have sufficed.

    Steve
    - would also like to know, just because I'm curious
    WPGFORDGUYUser is Offline
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    23 Feb 2004 10:11 AM
    So would I.. I'm curious too
    FullThrottle64User is Offline
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    23 Feb 2004 03:59 PM
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by EYERACE:
    eye can't help thinking why does one ask such a question.......unless you're writing a term paper, you're worried IMHO. just think about driving and preping the car, nothing else...that's racing
    I'm with Eye. I also drive open-wheel (used to be CF, now F500). If you're worried about accident stats as a driver, you need to either beef up your safety gear and prep level, or find another hobby.

    Personally, I don't want to go into turn 1 right next to someone who's scared. Your concentration should be fully 100% on your driving and setup; anything else is a distraction that can CAUSE the accident you're worried about.

    Just my $0.03 (Canadian)
    JSirotaUser is Offline
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    23 Feb 2004 06:48 PM
    Although I asked the question, it's not because I'm scared. I've been around the block a couple of times. I was looking for statistics (vs. anecdotes) to tell all of the people who always ask me these questions.

    Don't jump to conclusions.
    FullThrottle64User is Offline
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    24 Feb 2004 04:12 AM
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by JSirota:
    I was looking for statistics (vs. anecdotes) to tell all of the people who always ask me these questions.

    Don't jump to conclusions.
    I stand corrected, nd I understand where you're coming from. This is a lot like the other question we always get - 'how fast does it go?'

    I like to answer with - 'Generally, it's faster than most of the other guys, but not quite as fast as one or two of 'em.'

    As for the safety question, I just let my wife answer for me. She knows more about it than I do, and other wives will take what she says at face value; they'd never believe me saying that it's a lot safer than scuba diving.....
    EYERACEUser is Offline
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    24 Feb 2004 05:37 PM
    good man....trying to get a better answer for those around him that ask questions. eye've run in about 200 SCCA regional/national races. if nothing else, use the rambling above as a stat base....? one fire for every 75 races, one death for every 200 races, one serious injury for every 66 races......now who likes the sound of that?.....tell your friends to not think about it on second thought. probably some insurance actuary likes the data, you could probably get stats from the SCCA insuror, if they'll share. i'll bet they wouldn't reveal them, company trade secrets you know. by the way, if the above numbers aren't good enough, does it really matter? no disrespect intended.... but it's a wierd question you ask, which may explain why the answer is wierd too
    racinglawyerUser is Offline
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    24 Feb 2004 06:52 PM
    your question and answers are interesting to say the least.I have a sign on the passenger side dash of my ITS Mazda, Spec Miata and SSB RSX Acura which says"FEAR ALWAYS RIDES IN THIS CAR BUT YOU CAN NEVER LET IT DRIVE".

    If your afraid of accidents to the extent that it effects your driving, it will someday come up and bite you and maybe some other competitor.

    Fear is a natural instinct, but you must control it.

    Just my $.02
    dkraftsonUser is Offline
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    09 Mar 2004 07:19 AM
    When I told my wife in 2001 (she was 3 months pregnant) that I wanted to start racing (EP Elva) she said she was going to leave me because of the risk I was putting her and our child in. She said if I were injured or killed my income would go away and my children would grow up fatherless or tending to a critically injured father. It put a ton of stress on the relationship, but I was steadfast in my goal of racing so I decided to come up with a sound argument.

    I had always heard that "club racing is safer than driving on the highway and downhill skiing" but no one had the stats to prove it. People at the track said "because of all the safety measures that the SCCA has introduced, your race car is much safer than your highway car" and "I would much rather drive with licensed club drivers than those crazies on the street".

    Despite all those anecdotes no one had stats to prove how safe Club Racing was - not even the SCCA. I called the SCCA rep who handled the insurance for SCCA and he told me the insurance company only focused on the previous year's payouts (dollar figures) not how safe it is to actually race relative to other things.

    So I did my own analysis. I got the SCCA rep to give me all the deaths from 1989 through 2000 in Club Racing (16). I subtracted the deaths which were caused by heart attacks (6) figuring I was in good enough shape to avoid one and came up with 10 deaths from 1989 through 2000 caused by accidents. I then made some assumptions to come up with how many miles were driven in Club Racing during that time period so that I could come up with deaths per 100 million miles driven (see below for the calculation). That is the statistic that the National Highway Saftey Administration uses. I found that Club Racing is as safe as driving on a US highway in 1966. However it is 3.6x more dangerous than driving on the highway in 1999 (due to all the car safety improvements). The kicker for me was that Club Racing is 15x safer than riding a motorcycle on the street. Since I owned a motorcycle, I argued that I was significantly improving my safety characteristics by racing instead of riding. I also mentioned that no one thought any body was crazy driving a car on the street in 1966. The argument helps dissaude a lot of comments that I get from workers and family about how crazy I am. Hope it helps.


    SCCA Club Racing
    1989 through 2000
    Deaths 16
    Less: Deaths by Heart Attack (approximate) (6)
    Deaths by Accident 10
    Years 12
    Avg Accident Deaths per Year 0.83
    Race Events per Year 242
    Avg number of cars on track at any given time 35
    Avg Hours on Track per Event 20
    Avg MPH achieved by cars on track 90
    Avg number of miles driven at an event 63,000
    Number of miles driven over the course of a year 15,246,000
    Deaths per 100 million miles driven 5.5

    SCCA Club Motorcycle
    US Fatality Rates per 100mm miles driven - all vehicles, all roads Multiple Multiple
    Year 1966 5.5 1.0 x 10.3 x
    Year 1989 2.2 2.5 x 13.8 x
    Year 1999 1.5 3.6 x 15.6 x
    JSirotaUser is Offline
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    09 Mar 2004 07:47 AM
    That's exactly what I was looking for! Thanks.
    JakeUser is Offline
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    13 Mar 2004 06:27 AM
    Very interesting!!! In another way:

    Deather Per 100 Million miles:

    Cars: 1.3
    Race cars: 5.5
    Motorcycles: 33

    ."...a marked jump in the motorcycle death rate, from 21 deaths per 100 million estimated vehicle miles traveled on motorcycles in 1997 to 33.4 deaths per 100 million miles in 2001 – an increase of more than 50%. The NHTSA notes that passenger car riders have a death rate of 1.3 per 100 million miles, a fraction of the risk of motorcyclists."
    EYERACEUser is Offline
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    14 Mar 2004 09:29 AM
    the spouse would collect the balance of a $1,000,000 insurance policy less what your own insurance would have paid first and the doc bills too???? never bothered to check this out first hand but it is seemingly what the SCCA touts all the time....that the SCCA is so great in comparison to other amateur groups because of the insurance......further comments please.
    Krys DUser is Offline
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    15 Mar 2004 10:43 AM
    You need to remember that those racing related deaths include workers who are actually at greater risk thatn the drivers themselves. You could probably reduce the driver related deaths by as much as 15%.

    Krys Dean SPO driver
    Krys DUser is Offline
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    15 Mar 2004 10:47 AM
    everace,

    I have a friend who went in to the turn two wall at Moroso, broke both ankles and many other injuries, has since lost his job because he is unable to work on a regular basis due to ongoing problems. SCCA insurance is still paying. They are like a Timex, they just keep ticking. SCCA insurance is everything it is represented to be.

    Krys Dean SPO driver
    larrywUser is Offline
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    11 Apr 2004 06:29 PM
    I must say that this business about "don't worry about risk, just shut up and drive" is unbelievable. Why would anyone accept a tragic death? Perhaps by studying the statistics one could arrive at a trend that might one day lower the death rate even farther.

    I was at a race at Gratten when a Fvee driver died. It was horrible. I never saw any inormation about the accident, which bothers me still. To me, every accident should be studied and that information should be widely distributed so that maybe we all could learn something. Don't you think there's a reason all the car companies intensely study actual crashes?
    Of course for some accidents, there is no clear reason or cause, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
    Don't forget that one time no one wore seatbelts or used roll cages and the common thinking was "racing's risky" Of course it is, but it can be less so.
    DGUser is Offline
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    12 Apr 2004 06:56 AM
    Agreed.

    It is certainly true that every racing driver assumes a certain amount of risk every time he straps into his car. It is also true that the goal of saftey is not to remove that risk - otherwise, we'd limit top speeds to 10 MPH and surround the cars with several feet of foam rubber.

    But it is in EVERYBODY'S best interests to give drivers and engineers tools to manage that risk; to ensure that we give people the maximum opportunity to survive incidents when they do occur.

    I remember a few years ago when there was a rash of deaths in some of the middle-teir oval track series. There was an investigation by the sanctioning body involved, and they discovered that a combination of high minimum weights and constructor ignorence of crash safety science was resulting in the construction of super-stiff cage structures that had little to no crush in them. In an impact, the cage would not deform, and the driver was taking the full brunt of the impact energy dissipation. Hearts were being ripped loose inside roll cages.

    The end result was rule changes that incorporated crush structure - although I don't remember if it was done explicitly (by decribing what a crush structure was and how to build one) or implicitly (by reducing allowed tube diameters/wall thicknesses in certain areas, specifying certain tube configurations etc that resulted in the creation of a crush structure independant if the engineer knew about it or not)

    The net result of that was more drivers surviving - and there's no downside to that.

    I would like to see an investigation of every accident that results in serious injury or fatality, with the conclusions published along with recommendations on how things could have been done differently. I want to know how drivers have been killed, so that I as an engineer can "not do that" in my cars.

    It's a terrible tragedy when we lose somebody. Let's at least extract SOME good from it.

    DG
    DBurkheadUser is Offline
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    12 Apr 2004 02:51 PM
    I am always annoyed by statments of the nature "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" when someone's asking how hot that kitchen is.

    I make judgements every day about what risks I'm willing to take and what ones I'm not. But making those judgements entails knowing what the risks are.

    When someone asks what the risks are, then answer the question (and much thanks to Don Kraftson for actually doing that :thumbsup: ). Let the person asking the question make the decision about whether the risk is one he or she is willing to take or not.

    Personally, I'd like to see how those fatality figures break down on open-wheel vs closed wheel, open cockpit, vs closed cockpit, and by displacement, prep level, or other criteria (say, is SRF safer or more dangerous than FA). It might also be interesting to see if there's a trend over time (racing becoming more or less dangerous) However, with the small data sample it probably wouldn't be possible to extract that information.
    BillPennockUser is Offline
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    18 Apr 2004 12:02 PM
    I agree with all those who figure that we need the information. When I started HPDE's in my brand new Audi A6 I wanted to know what the risk level was. It was terribly difficult to find out. It's not that I was scared, it's that I want to know what the levels of risk I was undertaking and then decide accordingly. Once I decide then the decision is made, I do the best I can and always remember my motto, "You aren't going to get out of this life alive, if you spend your life trying you are a looser twice, once because you will fail and once because you won't do many things that might have made you happy"

    That said I believe whole heartedly in reviewing every accident and getting the information out. For instance in the tragedy in KS it was very informative to know that the fire was probably not the cause of death and that the corner workers and fire crew had it contained very quickly. I still haven't read about head restraint in that one, it would be another datapoint for me in deciding when and if to get one and, depending on which it was, which one to get.

    Knowledge is king, knowledge is not to make someone scared and I totally disagree with the person who thinks this is a weird question to ask. Thank god the airline industry doesn't think it's weird, or the street car industry.
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