Lorry codes

As of the 23rd May 2022 this website is archived and will receive no further updates.

was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

Many of the animations were produced using Flash and will no longer work.

I worked in the office of a food warehouse supplying a major supermarket. When each lorry was loaded with goods and ready to depart, the shutters were pulled down and the back of the vehicle closed. For security purposes a 4 digit number was generated randomly, where the back door of the lorry is sealed. This is checked against delivery paperwork for discrepancy when leaving the depot and arriving at the store, in case of tampering with regard to theft etc. In the office the delivery paperwork was produced detailing the trailer number, what is in the vehicle, and the all important randomised seal number. On one occasion two lorries were loaded up, and we noticed as the summary sheets were printed one immediately after the other that hey presto their seal numbers were in fact identical! For example 5468 and 5468. We checked the actual lorries to be certain and they really were the same. I make the chances of that one in a hundred million ....... life is full of coincidences which have meaning to us. [Ed: It is surprising, but the chance is more like 1 in 10000 as you would classify any duplicated number as a similar coincidence. The first lorry can have any number. The coincidence is that the second lorry has the same number.]
Total votes: 123
Date submitted:Thu, 06 Jan 2022 01:05:29 +0000Coincidence ID:12211