Statistical Madness – Eating While Driving
More statistical madness was created with another shining example this month. Over time, a few Workers Comp statistics articles are published that basically have no basis in fact. For example, many pundits said that California SB 863 was going to save employers large amount of premium. That just did not happen. The WC system is a delayed system. The results are really not known for 4 – 6 years after any law is enacted in any state.
How can statistics be so far from reality? The following example is one the general public even caught onto very quickly. The comments section says it all. This was likely just a headline – attention grabber, better known as clickbait for website traffic.
This article on distracted driving from CBS Los Angeles has the title: Eating While Driving Significantly Increases Chances Of A Car Accident, Experts Say. Where did the reporter get the idea there was an 80% risk increase while eating? Of course, if someone says an expert says so, then it must be a fact.
A quote from the article:
Asked if the CHP has seen an increase in drivers who eat, Galvan said, “We did have a [Distracted Driving Awareness Month] in April. Over 10,000 enforcement contacts were made and over 240 citations were issued for an unsafe speed related to distracted driving. So, quite possibly, there could have been a good majority that were eating.”
That is 2.4% for speeding due to distracted driving, not 80%. The reference to 80% might have resulted from a 2009 study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). I followed three pages of Google search links and then tried to use the NHTSA website which is always very slow.
Regardless, I wonder if this would fall under distracted driving even though it was in a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot.