Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Watch Out For Angry Texting Women Drivers

Recently, in the online Interweb news, there was a report of a survey done on workers who drive to work and the road rage they've experienced. You can find all the news articles here. They're pretty much identical except for the photo showing either a man or woman making an angry gesture while driving.

I couldn't find the survey, which is a shame, but here's the original press release from Career Builder.

Check out the first sentence.

A new study from CareerBuilder shows workers may have more than heavy traffic to contend with on their way to work. Fifty-eight percent of workers who drive to work said they experience road rage at times while traveling to and from the office, similar to findings in 2006 when the study was last conducted.

I like how the first sentence makes it seem like this is a new or growing problem. Then the end of the second sentence informs us that things haven't changed much in six years. Go figure. But the key verbiage here is "experience road rage". Without seeing the survey and how the questions were worded, "experience road rage" could mean being on the giving end, the receiving end, or both. It's not that clear. Then it states that 9 percent of workers who drive to work have gotten into a fight with another commuter. I have to question a couple of things here because that's a lot of fighting going on around town. What time period are we talking about? Did they get in a fight during the survey period or any time in the last ten years? What exactly does a fight consist of in this context? Actual blows? A heated exchange? Flipping the bird?

In the gender and age comparisons we're told:

Women were more apt to feel road age – 61 percent compared to 56 percent of men. In terms of age groups, workers ages 25 to 34 were the most likely to experience road at 68 percent while workers 55 and older were the least likely to experience it at 47 percent.

This is why I question the use of "experience" earlier because now they use "feel". Women are more apt to feel road rage. What does that mean exactly? If you become exasperated at a driver who swerves from lane to lane in front of you, are you feeling road rage? (Is that like feeling child rage when your kid quickly reaches for a glass of milk and knocks it over?) The remainder goes on with the use of "experience".

Next they mention texting.

Nearly one-in-four workers (24 percent) who drive to work reported they have been involved in an accident. While a variety of factors contribute to accidents, cell phone use can be a culprit. Three-in-ten workers (30 percent) admitted they have texted while driving to and from work.

Again, what's the time period involved here? One fourth of all drivers involved in an accident is a lot of accidents. Did the accident(s) occur during the survey period or some time in the last 10 years? And, yes, we all know that a variety of factors contribute to accidents, but without any data to support their position they're going with texting as a possible major cause. I get that texting distracts a driver, but a better question for a survey such as this would have been to ask whether they were involved in an accident while texting.

Last of all, the methodology.  With a pure probability sample of 3,892, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-1.57 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

One could say that if one wanted to, but with the ambiguousness of this press release one couldn't say for sure what the sampling error is since what's being presented as the samnple is vague in the first place. There is something you can take from this survey that isn't mentioned.

Ride a bike.

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