March 19, 2008
More proof that too many adult brains just can’t think in new ways was revealed in the latest National Highway Traffic Safety administration press release and the typically ask-no-questions May 19 Associated Press story on the NHTSA’sseat-belt study. Standard quotes on supposed teenage recklessness, peer pressure, delusions of invulnerability, etc., followed the headline that more than 60% of teens killed in traffic crashes were not wearing seat belts–a rate the study actually showed applied to adults as well. The study really found that men perpetrated the deadliest seat-belt-less risks.
That study found the following percentages of persons killed in traffic crashes in 2006 by age were not wearing seat belts or other restraints: age 16-20, 63%; 21-24, 65%; 25-34, 65%; 35-44, 60%; 45-54, 52%; 55-64, 46%; 65+, 34%. That is, teens killed in traffic accidents (which the press keeps confusing with all teens) had statistically similar rates of seat belt use as drivers ages 21-44.
More compelling and unmentioned, the study found that men of all ages comprise a shocking 73% of all persons killed in traffic accidents who were not belted–2.7 times the rate for women. But the obsession with teens obscured every other risk, including the large gender discrepancy that should be the focus of attention. Of course, men have power and teens don’t.