Friday, June 10, 2005

Is it true?

The Knoxville News Sentinel has printed today the third article about the claim made by Allstate Insurance Company that Knoxville is the 5th safest driving city in the country. The second KNS article had a poll and over 72 percent of the people that responded did not agree that Knoxville was a safe driving city. So the KNS thought a third article and a second poll would be appropriate. So far 88 percent of the people responding do not agree that Knoxville is a safe driving city.

Consider this an as letter to the editor of the KNS.

Mr Editor,

You are stating an opinion as a fact. There is no basis to make this claim. All the insurance companies would need to be polled plus the traffic accident information from the police department. Then you would have to add the hit and run statistics. Then you would have to add the number of people that decide not to report the accident because they do not have insurance or do not want their insurance rates to go up. Many people drive cars with body damage because they decide not to report the accident. Just look around you.

Allstate is just one insurance company in Knoxville. 12 months is too short a time frame to derive this conclusion. The Knoxville Police department said that over a 5-month period that accidents were down 5 percent. This is even a shorter time frame. Is it due to more police patrols or is it due to higher gas prices and road construction?

I appreciate your trying to find the good. I only wish the article, Allstate’s claims, and the claims of the KPD were correct.

You deliver a false sense of hope when you state an opinion as a fact. You also give comfort to those drivers that choose to ignore the speed limit talk on their cell phones and run red lights.

I would rather you use your paper to educate people on driving safety. For example you could have an article about how dangerous tailgating is. Professional driving courses advise that you keep a three second space between you and the car in front of you. Simply look at a landmark and count to three. Keep that space between you and the car in front of you. Most people do not understand how long it takes to stop a car traveling 60 mile per hour. According to Edmonds it takes 4.5 seconds and a distance of 271 feet.

Why? From Edmonds, "Because there's more involved in braking than the actual time your brakes are applied to the wheels (called "effective braking"). In particular, "perception time" and "reaction time" add considerable distance to stopping your car. Perception time is the three-quarters of a second it takes for you to realize that you need to brake. Reaction time is the three-quarters of a second it takes to move your foot to the brake pedal. When you combine perception and reaction time, a full 132 feet will pass before your car even begins to slow down from 60 mph. So from the time you perceive a braking situation until the time your car comes to a complete stop, a total of 4.6 seconds elapses. During that time your car travels — it bears repeating — a total of more than 270 feet. That's almost the length of a football field. Of course, the faster you go, the more time and distance it takes to stop."

I wish you would do more to help the community than trying to spin a positive message out of a faulty opinion. The KNS can do better than this and I look forward to a time when you will. I challenge you to write articles that will help local drivers understand how they can be better drivers.

Comments:
Pretty good analysis. It is sad the KNS has stretched this claim from Allstate into a proclamation that our roads are safer. That is a damned lie as Mark Twain used to say.

What has happened is that Allstate will not insure drivers unless they have good driving history. They do this with their rate structure and by increasing rates after a customer has an accident. Allstate simply charges outrageous rates for people with poor driving history so they cannot be accused of discrimination, which of course is illegal.

This was just a ploy to lure safe drivers from other insurance companies. Just like Geico wants you to call for a rate quote so does Allstate. State Farm is no different. This is an old insurance trick.

Ask the high risk insurance agencies that sell auto insurance in Knox County if their claims have gone down and you will get a much different answer.

So why is the Knoxville News Sentinel so desperate to make this case? Does Allstate have a two page fold out ad coming soon in the News Sentinel?
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Ignore the deletion you see above. I have been trying to post the source for the Allstate article but cannot seem to list the long URL. Below is my comment to CL who was kind enough to provide the Allstate link. To see this go to Michael Silence's blog at the KNS. The topic is "Knoxville 5th safest driving city".


CL,

Thanks. I have been searching for the link you provided.

I think the study is accurate as it applies to Allstate drivers. I do not agree that it can be extrapolated that Knoxville is the 5th safest driving city. There are too many other variables that are unknown. It would be helpful to know for example what the Allstate market share is in Knoxville. What about the other insurance companies? How many people do not file claims? How many hit and run accidents are there?

This does bring up an opportunity. Wouldn’t it be great if the KPC and KSD released traffic accident data and it was printed in the KNS or was posted on the KPD or KSD websites? That way people would know where the dangerous places are and they could avoid them or take extra care. Wouldn’t you like to know about your neighborhood and where the greatest number of accidents occur?

Since I spend more time in the county than I do the city I wonder what the ranking of Knox County is compared to other counties. I only wish this were true but my daily observations do not bear it out.

Another point I would make is that we have no idea how this compares to the past. Is it Allstate’s assertion that this is a reduction in traffic accidents from ten years ago? There has been a nationwide reduction in fatalities and this is mostly attributed to safer vehicle design.

What do you observe when you drive? Are we making progress or are other factors at play?
 
You could put in the link into your orginal post as an "Update".
 
CL,

I put the hyperlink in the main post where it says "Allstate Insurance Company."

Now people can see what Allstate has to say.

Let’s think about how we can have safer drivers all across Knox County including those drivers that are just passing through.

One suggestion I have read on another blog is that emergency vehicles should obey the speed limit unless they have their lights on. I mentioned in an earlier post that sharing traffic accident information to the public would be helpful. What other ideas are there?
 
Allstate Driving Study

There you go.

It gives almost no information of how the statistical analysis was done. The broadest of generalizations. Complete crap. Violates every know parameter of statistical analysis. In other words, it is marketing. I like the gecko better. Even the Aflack goose beats this scam.

Same kind of crap politicians use when they use statistics to make/blur a point.
 
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