Lies, Damned Lies, and Statstics

The Wall Street Journal had the moronic graphic below associated with an article about All-Terrain Vehicles. The industry is arguing that teens hurt themselves on ATVs because there are only two flavors of ATVs on the market for them: smallish ATVs (“Y-12” models) and adult ATVs (for the over-16 crowd). The industry wants to build ‘transitional’ ATVs, for, effectively, the 14/15/16 crowd. Opponents of this argue that ATV accident rates of children under 16 are bad, to wit:

p1-ah680a_atvfr_20070416204108.gif

Of course the graphic fails to capture the fact that injury rates are seriously declining. In 1995 the injury (ER visit) rate for kids under 16 was nearly 9/10ths of one pecent based on the number of ATVs in use. In 2000 it was less than 8/10ths of one percent. In 2005 it was just barely 5/10ths of one percent. So in the ten year period from 1995 to 2005, the injury rate for kids under 16 fell by half.

But I guess annoying facts like that wouldn’t have made for as nice a graphic.

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