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
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.
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?