Transterrestrial Musings

Defend Free Speech!

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay

Site designed by

Powered by
Movable Type 4.0
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

The Moderate Muslim Supermajority   | Main | The Forgotten American

Proves Her Point About The Math Thing

Categories: Political Commentary, Popular Culture, Science And Society
| | Comments (14)

Charlotte Allen is embarrassed to be a woman. She gets the math wrong here, though:

Women really are worse drivers than men, for example. A study published in 1998 by the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health revealed that women clocked 5.7 auto accidents per million miles driven, in contrast to men's 5.1, even though men drive about 74 percent more miles a year than women.

Since the statistic is on a per-mile basis, the fact that men drive more miles a year is irrelevant. So the disparity--5.1 versus 5.7--is actually quite small, and perhaps within the statistical error.

Of course, the thing that statistics like this don't reveal is how many accidents they cause, unbeknownst to them, because they are oblivious to their surroundings. I'm always bemused by someone who I know to be a terrible driver bragging about the fact that they've never had an accident. Not to imply that men don't do this as well, of course.


Bob Hawkins wrote:

As the old joke goes, "I'm a good driver, but the people I see in my rear-view mirror..."

Raoul Ortega wrote:

The one time I got into an collision requiring the cops and insurance and all that, it was caused by a guy who drove off after giving the kid coming out of a corner parking lot the favor of waving him right into my side. In the years since, I've seen several, similar near misses of this type. I just hope the kid learned the expensive lesson: when taking such favors, make sure the guy giving it gets hit, too, if something goes wrong.

rickl wrote:

That reminds me of a minor incident from a few years ago:

I was at the exit of a shopping center, preparing to merge into the road. A woman pulled up behind me. I watched the light change, and began to accelerate into the road. She followed me. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pickup truck come barreling through the red light at full speed. I slammed on my brakes and the woman rear-ended me. We both got out of our cars, and saw that there was no damage. She was all apologetic and flustered, but I told her, "It wasn't your fault. It was that guy who just went screaming through the red light." He was a mile down the road by that time, and was certainly oblivious to what happened.

I'm a fairly conservative driver, and even after seeing the truck run the red light, if I had gunned my engine and peeled out of there, I would have been OK. But if she had followed right behind me, she probably would have been T-boned on the driver's side.

Robin Goodfellow wrote:

Per above, the accident was partly the follower's fault. If you can't stop without hitting the car ahead of you, even if they slam on their brakes in an emergency stop, YOU ARE FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY. Period. Following too close, far more than speeding, probably causes more accidents than anything else.

George Skinner wrote:

It'd be interesting to see if there's a correlation with cell phone usage. The most appalling driving acts I see are usually committed by somebody distracted while talking on a cell. It's maddening to hear people claim "Hey, I can multi-task - I'm still better driving talking on my cell phone than most other people!" They usually can't drive as well as they think while multi-tasking, and even if they can, don't the rest of us deserve the benefit of their full attention so that they can use their superior driving skills to avoid collisions initiated by the other, sub-standard drivers?

One other thought - how much of the female driver accident rate is associated with having kids in the car? Kids can be a tremendous distraction while driving, and women tend to get stuck with chaffeuring the kids more often than men.

ech wrote:

I found the press release for the JHU study and it has the "more miles" tag at the end. The difference is likely to be statistically significant given the huge numbers of miles driven in the US each year. The DOT shows that in 1998 there were 2,632 Billion vehicle miles driven in the US. The data do show that men are more often in fatal and severe accidents, since they speed more, are DUI more, and less compliant with seatbelt laws.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Kids can be a tremendous distraction while driving, and women tend to get stuck with chaffeuring the kids more often than men.

Did you see the opening sequence of The Simpsons last night?

Carl Pham wrote:

I don't understand the cell-phone issue. It seems to me that if you have a proper sense of priorities then there's no problem with using a cell phone while driving. You may just stop making sense, or drop the phone suddenly, if the Priority #1 job (driving) suddenly needs more attention than the Priority #2 job. This is what happens to me. If I'm talking on the phone and driving suddenly needs more attention, I just forget I've got the phone. I may trail off in the middle of a word into an extended uhhhhh or plain silence.

It's not like there aren't already about fifty million tasks going on while you're driving that you need to properly order in terms of priorities. Are you looking ahead, in the mirror, or to the side? Do you have music playing? Are you talking to someone in the car? Arguing with your teenager? Are you thinking about the grocery list as you drive to the store? Checking the speedometer and the speed-limit sign you just passed? Looking at the gas gauge and the sign giving the mileage to the next exit? Following behind someone whose speed fluctuates randomly between 3rd and 4th gear? And so forth. It seems to me either you are good at ordering the priorities -- that is, you're a good driver, and can be trusted with adding a cell phone to the mix -- or you are not, in which case, you're going to have and cause accidents whether or not you've got a cell phone in there with you.

The public emphasis (e.g. California's new law) worries me a bit, too, because it's more of that collectivist spirit of intrusive monitoring of your actions rather than of the results of those actions. I've no problem with legislating that anyone who causes an accident while talking on the phone should be forbidden from having a cell phone for 10 years. But it's too much nanny-statism when folks start talking about forbidding me from doing something before they've got factual evidence that it's a problem when I in particular do it. Who the heck are you fools to decide what I can and can't handle, in advance of evidence one way or the other? This is so much pure Marxism, people as interchangeable predictable cogs that must be put into the proper social machine in the proper way, with proper restraints, to function. Phooey.

Jethro wrote:

You entered collectivism the moment you pulled onto our collective roads. You don't like, start a campaign to get 'em privatized.

George Skinner wrote:


Certainly there are other distractions when you're driving a car. In general, I'd say that a driver has to understand that their first priority on the road is driving, not playing with the stereo, talking to somebody, putting on their make-up, drinking coffee, or talking on a cell phone.

That said, I suspect that a cell phone is a different class of distraction than the other ones listed. Studies have found that there's a difference in the level of distraction drivers experience talking on a cell phone vs. talking to someone in the car. One possible explanation is that a passenger in a car is more aware of events outside the car and adjusts conversation per the demands on the driver (e.g. stops talking while the driver is trying to merge onto the freeway.) Another potential explanation is that talking to somebody on a cell phone requires a different cognitive space than talking face-to-face.

Finally, I agree with your distaste for nanny state regulations. The unfortunate fact is that laws are written for the lowest common denominator - the ones who can't figure out that they need to focus on driving first, everything else second.

Jeff Mauldin wrote:

Although I'm not a disaster waiting to happen, my wife is probably a better and safer driver than me. We've both only ever had fender benders, but both of hers were clearly the other driver's fault with her doing absolutely nothing wrong, while I've done a couple bone headed things at low speed. At least I haven't done the SAME boneheaded things over and over again.

However, the one thing I've noticed that I am better about than my wife: if the kids are asking questions or being distracting while a lot is going on with driving, I am much better at simply ignoring them than she is.

myregfo fcmgkb zvism qaltwghy pjnla fxlqy kjyslzef

myregfo fcmgkb zvism qaltwghy pjnla fxlqy kjyslzef

myregfo fcmgkb zvism qaltwghy pjnla fxlqy kjyslzef

Leave a comment

Note: The comment system is functional, but timing out when returning a response page. If you have submitted a comment, DON'T RESUBMIT IT IF/WHEN IT HANGS UP AND GIVES YOU A "500" PAGE. Simply click your browser "Back" button to the post page, and then refresh to see your comment.