Friday, August 22, 2008

MADD's Lies With Statistics

As you know, there are liars, damned liars, and those who lie with statistics...

MADD has done its knee-jerk dance about a proposal to drop the drinking age from 21 to something lower. 18 and 19 seem to be the early favorites.

And MADD hauls out studies to support their position. But the studies are.....ah.....selectively interpreted.

MADD’s preferred “science” ignores a very interesting working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research that shreds the oft-cited correlation between adoption of the Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act (FUDAA), which forced all states to have a minimum drinking age of 21, and a reduction in alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

Yah, but, as pointed out by other researchers:

The paper, penned by Jeffery A. Miron and Elina Tetelbaum, points out that prior research consistently errs by including states that were unaffected by the law — the 12 states that had adopted a minimum drinking age of 21 long before FUDAA was passed and forced states to do so. Those states — for reasons unrelated to the federal law — experienced a dramatic decrease in alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the 80s and their inclusion in previous studies led many researchers to falsely conclude that the FUDAA was the key factor in the national trend.

That trend, however, began well before the FUDAA was passed in 1984. As the study notes: “[T]he decline began in the year 1969, the year in which several landmark improvements were made in the accident avoidance and crash protection features of passenger cars.” The study also recognizes that medical advances probably deserve a great deal of credit for the reduction

Like 'em or not, airbags, belts, and collapsable bumpers actually do reduce fatalities and injuries--no matter the condition of the driver.

As to the "legal age," all you have to do is scan the newspapers' 'Police Reports' section to find out that children are drinking, indeed.

HT: The Agitator

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