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Arts Graduates- Neither The Mail Nor Guardian Understands Drug Driving Numbers

This is really rather worrying – the arts graduates who write both the Daily Mail and The Guardian seem to have no clue at all about either numbers or basic logic when dealing with drug driving. The worry stemming from the fact that they are the two leading outlets insisting upon how we should live, telling both us and our rulers what the law should be. One advocates a hellish fascism in which every detail of our lives is controlled by the right thinking and the other is the Daily Mail.

But what price their having such power over us if they can’t even get the simple things right?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Half of motorists failed drug-driving tests in England and Wales[/perfectpullquote]

Blimey, that’s a number, isn’t it? And it’s the Guardian’s headline. And it’s also quite obviously the most total cod whether walloped or not. Yes, yes, we know drug intake is up in this modern world but even so it’s most certainly not half the adult population, is it? Not even that many take aspirin regularly. Therefore we simply cannot have half of drivers doped to their eyeballs at any one time, can we?


[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] More than half of motorists screened during a summer crackdown on drug-driving failed roadside tests, figures have shown. An average of 37 drivers a day were caught driving under the influence of banned substances, or 57% of the 1,962 motorists tested. [/perfectpullquote]

They’re missing a vital point here. The British police don’t have the right to just stop everyone. They’ve got to have reasonable cause. Therefore they don’t stop everyone and our sample here isn’t all drivers. But then arts graduates and numbers, eh? Anyone even vaguely numerate will catch this immediately, there’s something wrong with these numbers. Anyone who has ever had to do a hard subject – you know, anything not from the grievance studies curriculum – would also know the logic here.

Seriously, The Guardian’s headline is like sampling the oncology department and finding that lots of people have cancer. Rilly?

The Mail’s intro isn’t much better:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] The number of drug-drivers caught on Britain’s roads has hit a record level, figures reveal today. In a nationwide police crackdown, an average of 37 motorists a day failed tests for banned substances. The figure represented more than half of those stopped by officers. Accidents involving drug-drivers also rose by more than 50 per cent compared with a similar operation last year. Alarmingly, police stopped fewer drivers in this year’s operation, but the rate at which motorists failed roadside tests for substances such as cannabis or cocaine increased. [/perfectpullquote]

Sigh. So, what’s the important line that the Mail does eventually give us?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]During the month-long operation by 38 police forces, officers stopped a total of 1,962 motorists after they were seen driving erratically, or had been involved in an accident.[/perfectpullquote]

Bayesian probability folks! The probability of someone driving while doped up is one thing. The probability of someone already stopped for driving like a bozo being on drugs is rather higher. And what about that rate going up? Well, if you test only the more obvious cases then you’re going to have a higher probability of finding that obviousness, aren’t you?

To return to the oncology department, one year we test all the women, the next we test only those women with one tit three times the size of the other. Then clam that we’ve seen a worrying rise in the incidence of breast cancer.

Come along now people it’s supposed to be them driving like bozos, not us writing like one.

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Dodgy Geezer
Dodgy Geezer
2 years ago

…Come along now people it’s supposed to be them driving like bozos, not us writing like one….

Unfortunately, writing the truth does not sell papers.

If we were more discriminating, the papers would be more accurate…

2 years ago

I saw the headline and thought that can’t be right. I didn’t read further because reading Guardian articles raises my blood pressure to dangerous levels – ie describing masked thugs trying to break up peaceful meetings and marches as antifascists whilst they act out the SA playbook from the 1930s. I did wonder if the police’s testing equipment might be a teensy weensy bit inaccurate (ie giving false positives) I wonder what proportion of road side tests results agree with actual lab results – as i understand it the roadside kit is supposed to detect a whole range of illegal… Read more »

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