PT 37 Section 2 Question 17

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PT 37 Section 2 Question 17

Postby buck » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:51 am

Can you help me understand this question?

Seat belt laws are supposed to reduce traffic fatalities but in one town the number of traffic fatalities remain the same. We are asked to find the choice that doesn't resolve the paradox.

I understand how E (correct answer) could deepen the mystery (why don't people wear their seat belts even though they know that failing to wear it is the cause of many deaths) but couldn't it also explain the paradox? That is, traffic fatalities don't go down because people aren't wearing their seat belts so continue to die in crashes...similar to D.


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Re: PT 37 Section 2 Question 17

Postby rbkl » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:23 am

This was an interesting question. The first sentence in the stimulus is key and it states that "on average, traffic fatalities decline by about 7 percent in those areas in which strict laws requiring drivers and pass drivers and passengers to wear seat belts have been passed." If we continue to read, it says that in a certain city, they have passed such laws -- qualifying that city for the decrease.

What the first sentence is saying is that the requirement for the average percentage decrease in traffic fatalities is the fact that the laws are passed. It doesn't matter whether or not people are actually wearing the seat belts (answer choice E). In fact, the stimulus says nothing about that at all. Again, the requirement is that the laws have been passed.

It seems like you eliminated the first few choices, so you can probably skip this paragraph. Here is what we are looking for: because the city passed these laws, we should see a DECREASE in the amount of fatalities. Since the number of fatalities have remained EVEN, all answers that do help resolve the discrepancy (in our case, we are looking for the only answer that does not resolve the paradox), will have to explain some sort of INCREASE to the number of fatalities so that the current level can be EVEN. Answer choice A says that the speed increased, so that fatalities could be more common. Answer choice B now includes additional data points not added previously. Answer choice C says that the amount of traffic has increased, thus increasing the potential for deaths.

We are down to D and E.

The difference between answer choice E and D is that Answer choice D eliminates the original qualification mentioned in the above paragraphs, which would resolve the paradox. Though the city has met the original requirement of "passed laws," in reality, the law has not actually changed anything. So the original requirement has been practically unmet, thus disqualifying it. Answer choice E does not explain an increase nor does it disqualify the original requirement.

Lastly, this helped my thinking: there is a difference between most of the people in the city were not wearing seat belts vs. most of the people killed in car accidents in the city were not wearing seat belts. As you can see, the former may resolve the paradox, but merely explaining the composition of the number of deaths (the latter statement, which is also Answer E), doesn't move the case at all.

Hope it helps, sorry for the length

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Re: PT 37 Section 2 Question 17

Postby Errzii » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:46 am

You'll notice that choices A through D share one thing in common, that is, there is something about the city itself or what it does that explains why the law does not have the intended effect or at least why it's not observed.

A) city changed speed limit
B) city includes pedestrian fatalities
C) city receives increase in traffic
D) city cannot enforce the law.

The correct choice (E) does not explicitly say anything about the city itself or what it does that makes it so that it might be exempt from the expected outcome. You might think (E) resolves the paradox if you read it as "People in the city wear seat belts less frequently than other areas" or something along those lines.

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Re: PT 37 Section 2 Question 17

Postby buck » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:53 am

Thank you both for very clear (and thorough) answers! You are both right--I misinterpreted the answer choice as saying that the fact that the people weren't wearing seat belts somehow explained or influenced the number of deaths. I see from your explanations that it simply gives the composition.

Still, I had to read your answer a few times to get it. Amazing how hard it is to shake an idea once it gets stuck in your head.


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