[ip]In an attempt to improve highway safety, Prunty County last year lowered its speed limit from 55 to 45 miles per hour on all county highways. But this effort has failed: the number of accidents has not decreased, and, based on reports by the highway patrol, many drivers are exceeding the speed limit. Prunty County should instead undertake the same kind of road improvement project that Butler County completed five years ago: increasing lane widths, resurfacing rough highways, and improving visibility at dangerous intersections.
Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.[/i]
Measures taken in Prunty County to improve highway safety
The author concludes that Prunty County should undertake the same kind of road improvement project that Butler County completed five years ago. The author uses the 25 percent decrease in reported accidents in Butler County in the past year as the evidence to support his/her conclusion. However, the author makes several major assumptions which need to be addressed before Prunty County accepts or rejects the above argument.
Firstly, the author assumes that the drivers of Butler county and Prunty County share the same driving and safety skills. No evidence has been cited which gives us an idea of the behavior of drivers in both the counties. For this assumption to be true, we need to know the way in which the drivers of both the Counties drive their vehicle. There lies a possibility that drivers of Prunty County drive in a reckless manner while drivers of Butler County drive safely. Further, there might be some campaigns organized in the Butler County which promotes road safety. Thus, until we get to know specific evidence regarding the on road behavior of the drivers of both the Counties, the assumption is flawed.
Furthermore, the author asserts that the lowering of the speed limit from 55 to 45 miles per hour on all county highways had no effect on the number of accidents as people are exceeding the speed limit. As an evidence, the author cites the report by the highway patrol which states that many drivers are exceeding the speed limit. Here no other information has been provided which correlates the number of accidents with over speeding vehicles. There exists a possibility that accidents are happening due to numerous faulty old vehicles, which are still being used in the Prunty County. Or, it may be that Prunty County highways go through a jungle, and wild animals often come in the way of vehicles. Thus, we need a proper report specifying the number of accidents that were caused due to over speeding of vehicles. Additionally, we would also need the geographical map of the Prunty County specifying the surroundings of the area.
Finally, the author asserts that there was 25 percent fewer reported accidents in Butler County this past year. First of all, a 25 percent decrease in reported accident is a vague statistical number. Suppose there were 10000 reported accidents five years ago which came down to 7500 in the last year. In this case, the decline in the number of reported accidents is quite significant. But what if the total number of accidents five years ago was just 4 which came down to 3 in the last year. Now the decline is almost negligible. It should be noted that the percentage decline in both the cases is still the same (25 percent) but the results are varying considerably. Thus, the exact number of reported accident data is required for the above assertion to be credible. Additionally, relying on the data of just one year might be implausible. Maybe there was a hike in gasoline prices in the last year in Butler County which decreased the number of vehicles on the road as people started carpooling and using public transport. Therefore a more detailed report is required which mentions the number of accidents reported in the preceding years too.
I concede that although the author of this argument makes a potentially good point. However, without proper pieces of evidence and information on the topics enumerated above, the author does not make a plausible case at all.