Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Figures don't lie

When we want to measure auto accident fatalities, the metric of fatalities per 100 million miles driven is the one that statisticians use. This formula eliminates the chance that short-term anomalies -- such as a rash of multi-vehicle or multi-passenger accidents in a certain state -- will cause fluctuations in the rate that are not related to the true cause of the accident or accidents. The fatality rate for the last 90 years in the US looks like this:

Year Fatality Rate
(Per 100 MVM)
Fatal Accident Rate
(Per 100 MVM)
1921 - 24.1 NA
1930 - 15.1 NA
1940 - 10.9 NA
1950 - 7.2 NA
1960 - 5.1 NA
1970 - 4.7 NA
1980 - 3.3 3.0
1985 - 2.5 2.2
1990 - 2.1 1.9
1995 - 1.7 1.5
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Converting these numbers into a graph, gives you the following:

Looking at these facts, I can draw a few conclusions: The creation of drunk driving laws and the lowering of the intoxication level to .08% did nothing to reduce the fatality rate. Even more remarkable is that lowering the national speed limit to 55 miles per hour in 1973, and the subsequent raising of the speed limit to 70 miles per hour also had no effect on the fatality rate.

Now we are being duped by calls for saving lives again, when the true goal is control of our lives.



2 comments:

Graybeard said...

You also don't see an inflection point when seat belt laws passed in the 1960s, either. Unless seat belts caused that more horizontal section in 1960-1907; that is, they increased the fatality rate. That would be strange, but I wouldn't rule out something like drivers feeling safer so they drove more recklessly. That effect happens all the time.

I've seen a similar analysis done about on-the-job accidents from about 1920. OSHA claims to have reduced them, but when you plot the number vs. time, it looks like this. You couldn't pick the influence of OSHA off the chart any easier than your analysis here.

TOTWTYTR said...

What has likely saved more lives is better auto technology and better medical care. Neither are designed to be preventative, but are reactive.

Better enforcement of existing laws would likely have a similar effect on violent crime rates in general. Better treatment of the violent mentally ill would likely have a similar effect on mass shootings.

As you point out, gun control has nothing to do with crimes or guns, and everything to do with control.

Ergo, the media and politicians don't care at all about crime or guns.