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Comments about ‘UHP seeing spike in fatal accidents in Tooele County’

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Published: Thursday, Dec. 20 2012 7:34 a.m. MST

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JWB
Kaysville, UT

Are the drivers coming from Wendover or to Wendover? Wendover provides an opportunity for more drinking than is usually done in Utah, especially if these drivers are on I-80. The road from Grantsville to Tooele City is another place of accidents. Is the direction going to or coming from Wendover with the one causing the accident?

srw
Riverton, UT

We all need to respect the speed limits, stay sober when driving, and wear seat belts. We also need to concentrate on our driving and slow down when conditions are bad. It is important to reduce the number of fatalities.

BUT we also need to understand something about statistics. Just because there are three fatalities one year and 12 the next doesn't mean that our driving habits changed!

I tried to find the Tooele County fatality statistics from previous years. The Tooele Transcript Bulletin web site had some articles that show the average number of fatalities in the county averaged about 12 for 2005-2010. Although it is slightly unusual to have three fatalities when the expected number is 12, there is nothing unusual about having 12. Upward and downward fluctuations can be large from year to year, and the fact that multiple fatalities can occur in one accident makes the fluctuations even larger. We can't tell whether there is an upward or downward trend in one county from a few years' data.

srw
Riverton, UT

BTW, this is an excellent example of how math really does matter in real life. It is important to know how to evaluate statistics that are quoted in articles and advertisements. The stated conclusions aren't always supported by the data.

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