Anyone Else See A Pattern Here?

Illustration for article titled Anyone Else See A Pattern Here?

Some have noticed a pattern between Toyota sudden acceleration cases and the age of drivers. We did too, so we updated their numbers and turned them into a pretty chart. We like pretty charts. Updated!


Commenters noted that we could actually make this chart useful if we provided some context. Fine, we did. We changed the values of Toyota sudden unintended acceleration over the past 20 years to percentages, and added a black line illustrating the # of road deaths in 2008 per age group — to give you an idea of the # of deaths normally attributed to driving. Does anyone else see the pattern now?

Also, I got the x- and y-axis correct this time.

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Ok, here's the thing. The instances of unintended acceleration are so few that any attempt to read into the statistics is futile. You really need much bigger sample size to do any sort of analysis. It’s like trying to look at a baseball player’s batting average after the first game of the season. It’s basically meaningless.

Another point: even if you had an adequate sample size, and the chart looked something like the one you posted, I strongly suspect that it would very closely mirror a chart showing the average age of a Toyota owner. In other words, even if it is measuring something, I don’t know if it is measuring what you think.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Toyota acceleration issue is a small issue that has been blown wildly out of proportion. I mean, there may be a grain of truth to the problem (drive by wire scares me), but it does seem like every idiot who hits a tree is now claiming their Prius is trying to kill them. Heh, I bet Tiger Woods was wishing he had a Prius, that would have been a convenient explanation.