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post #1 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Does This Make Sense?

So, I drive by this highway department information sign every day and a lot of times it bears this data. Note that this changes from time to time, but this is what was displayed yesterday

"_____ Highway Deaths In Missouri This Year. 54% Unbuckled."

I've never excelled at math, reasoning skills or "thinking" in general, but to me this doesn't exactly seem to be a ringing endorsement for seat belt use, telling me my chances of dying in an accident are pretty much equal whether I wear a seat belt or not.

Now, if it said something like "80% unbuckled," that would make more sense. I've never seen the "unbuckled" number even get up into the 60% range.

Along the same lines, I find myself thinking, "Well, with the 46% of people wearing seatbelts who died, they'd done about all they could safetywise with wearing their belts, but of the 54% who were unbuckled, how many of those were in crashes so bad they would have died even if they were buckled?"

What's your take on this? Am I just analyzing it wrong? Even though they are what they are, these numbers don't seem to be very "good" statistics to use to promote seat belt use.

For the record, I'm a seat-belt user.



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post #2 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 11:00 AM
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I rolled at car in England above 70mph and the roof was crushed into the driver's seat and if I had been wearing a seatbelt back in those days I wouldn't be here today!

The only reason I wear one today is the jump in ins. costs if you get fined without one. I will say after wearing one for decades now, I do fear nakid without one. Wierd eh!

For a head on crash they do work and work well to stop you from becoming the other guy's hood ornament. I was rearended badly early 2000 and I had servere bruising from the shoulder strap from the whiplash that ruined my neck. So, seat belt have their uses.

Willys
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post #3 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 11:06 AM
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First and foremost, I'm a Libertarian. As such, I'm against any law that mandates things like seat belts, helmets, and other things where the sort of personal choice affects only the chooser.

I do wear a seat belt as a matter of choice.

It's my belief that they prevent injuries in many sorts of crashes.

However, I don't believe they save lives in large numbers. In the sort of accident where fatalities occur the blunt force trauma is so great that death ensues irrespective of whether or not you're strapped to your chair.

To your point, planalp, crashes can be so bad that they are unsurvivable.

Back to reducing injures, though. I wear one for that reason. I believe that lap and shoulder restraints can keep you from slamming forward into the dash or from flying through the window. I wear mine for that reason. Plus the hundred and some dollar fine that the the nanny state of California has placed on those choosing not to wear one.

Yet, I believe that the one thing we could do to improve the safety of driving in America is to fix a very sharp 8 inch spike to the center of the steering wheel...

T

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post #4 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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While I am a seat belt user, I really don't care whether anybody else does or not: it's none of my business, kind of like motorcyclists wearing or not wearing helmets.

The numbers, though. As displayed on the sign, don't they make it seem like wearing a seatbelt doesn't give you much of an edge when it comes to whether an accident is fatal or not?

54% of drivers in fatal accidents were not wearing their seatbelt. Therefore.....

46% of drivers in fatal accidents were wearing their seat belts but died, anyway.

To me, not a huge difference in the numbers to be used as an effective argument for folks to wear their seat belts.

I understand they're two very basic percentages that don't take into account a lot of other factors that really can't be quantified and displayed on a two-line highway sign, but to me, they simply say your chances of being killed while wearing a seat belt are roughly the same as your chances of being killed if you're not wearing one. I realize that's probably not true, but to me that's what the numbers on this sign say.




Last edited by planalp; 04-26-2013 at 11:59 AM.
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post #5 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 12:07 PM
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No, I think you are right. The numbers, taken to a bottom line, indicate that seat belt usage has little effect on the death rate.

Figures don't lie...

T

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The kid poured him another straight rye and I think he doctored it with water down behind the bar because when he came up with it he looked as guilty as if he'd kicked his grandmother. -Philip Marlowe

'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used. -Napoleon Bonaparte

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post #6 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 12:11 PM
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I'm in the personally do not care side as well until their hospital costs are soaked up by the rest of society, then I have a problem with people not wearing simple safety items such as helmets...seatbelts are a seperate issue in my head, helmets are totally different seeing as they directly protect our soft as a rotten mellon from damage. Just my way of seeing it....If I didn't in a round a bout way have to pay to fix these people then I say let Darwin rule...same result as with using 8" spike!

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post #7 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 12:51 PM
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Thumbs up Agreed

Quote:
Originally Posted by planalp View Post
So, I drive by this highway department information sign every day and a lot of times it bears this data. Note that this changes from time to time, but this is what was displayed yesterday

"_____ Highway Deaths In Missouri This Year. 54% Unbuckled."

I've never excelled at math, reasoning skills or "thinking" in general, but to me this doesn't exactly seem to be a ringing endorsement for seat belt use, telling me my chances of dying in an accident are pretty much equal whether I wear a seat belt or not.

Now, if it said something like "80% unbuckled," that would make more sense. I've never seen the "unbuckled" number even get up into the 60% range.

Along the same lines, I find myself thinking, "Well, with the 46% of people wearing seatbelts who died, they'd done about all they could safetywise with wearing their belts, but of the 54% who were unbuckled, how many of those were in crashes so bad they would have died even if they were buckled?"

What's your take on this? Am I just analyzing it wrong? Even though they are what they are, these numbers don't seem to be very "good" statistics to use to promote seat belt use.

For the record, I'm a seat-belt user.
Yea, it's not good data. The only analysis of the subject that makes sense would be: of x number of [potentially] fatal crashes 46% of people were spared by wearing a seat belt. But how do you know if a crash was potentially fatal? You can't. So, as a politician, you have to make up reasonable sounding stats, that the non-thinking majority will read and go "OMG, that's totally scary! I need to wear a seat belt.", and never give it another thought.
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post #8 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 01:48 PM
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I'm not a statistician, but it seems like good data. It represents all the fatal crashes in that state. Everybody died, half with seat belts, half without. Therefore wearing seat belts does not seem to save lives.

T

Tom [email protected]

The kid poured him another straight rye and I think he doctored it with water down behind the bar because when he came up with it he looked as guilty as if he'd kicked his grandmother. -Philip Marlowe

'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used. -Napoleon Bonaparte

Sting like a butterfly.
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post #9 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willys View Post
until their hospital costs are soaked up by the rest of society, !
I think that concept, used by those who want mandatory everything and rounded corners everywhere, is a false argument. I don't think it amounts to hill of beans.

Regardless, I would bear the cost if it means freedom of choice in matters that affect only the individual.

T

Tom [email protected]

The kid poured him another straight rye and I think he doctored it with water down behind the bar because when he came up with it he looked as guilty as if he'd kicked his grandmother. -Philip Marlowe

'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used. -Napoleon Bonaparte

Sting like a butterfly.
Noli Timere Messorem
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post #10 of 30 Old 04-26-2013, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to write to MoDot and let them know how I interpret that sign and see what they have to say about it. It seems like they could present some other data that might further their efforts to persuade people to wear seat belts if that's what they want them to do. Maybe other people don't take it the way I do. In the end, I highly doubt it affects anybody's decision-making at all: it's just there for looks.

Don't ask me why I care about this sign. I don't know. It just bugs me. I think it's because they spent all the money to install these things and there's never any kind of truly meaningful or relevant information displayed.

They're kind of a modern and expensive version of the old "Indian Weather Stick." "If This Sign Is White, There Is Snow On The Road And You Need To Slow Down."



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