‘Dumb ways to die’ definitely did not work – 2013 statistics

‘Dumb ways to die’ was launched in late 2012.  The campaign was about pedestrians and railways.  It was popular;  79 million views on Youtube, and a multi-award winner in the advertising industry where popularity seems to be good enough.

With the 2013 statistics now available Transport Safety Victoria say that “…2013 saw more near miss incidents than in any of the previous four years.”

Dumb ways to die – novel – but useless

Dumb ways to die – why it won’t work

Dumb ways to die still not working

2013 Rail Pedestrian Near Misses

Source: Transport Safety Victoria 2013 Annual Statistics March 2014





About John Culvenor

Hi, Thank you for taking a look at this blog. I work in engineering, ergonomics, creativity, design, training, etc. Often this is about helping solve legal puzzles through accident analysis. Sometimes it is about thinking up better designs for equipment, workplaces, and systems. This blog is about good design and bad design, accident analysis and how it can be done better, and how we can make a better, safer world by design!
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2 Responses to ‘Dumb ways to die’ definitely did not work – 2013 statistics

  1. Rob Long says:

    John, the Dumb Ways to Die Campaign is the most unethical strategy to reduce suicides on rail I have ever seen. Everything about it is wrong, ignorant and ignores the fundamentals of respect and decency, provoking yet again a super dumb down approach to managing risk – no wonder it didn’t and doesn’t work. As for judging success or effectiveness by hits on the Internet is just as ignorant and dumb. Isn’t it strange how these corporates go to advertising and marketing people to address risk and safety issues. I know who is dumb, and it’s certainly not those who chose to suicide by train.


  2. Kerry Walker says:

    Hello John,
    Do you think there could be another dynamic here? It is pretty much “safety lore” that at the commencement of a safety program or “Near Miss” program, the statistics go up before they go down – simply because people are now WATCHING and PAYING ATTENTION to it.
    Perhaps the campaign was very successful in raising awareness and focus which resulted in improved identification and recognition of near misses, and their reporting that previously would have gone unreported. It is interesting that the Near Miss statistic went up; what about the accident/injury?
    The industry in fact now has ~50% more data than it had previously to work with on preventing such incidents – and if they were in fact happening before and were unreported then that is a good thing…….

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