Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » POST HOC, ERGO PROPTER HOC

    Filed at 10:17 pm under by dcobranchi

    The Federal Trade Commission is looking at teen alcohol use. As Skip Oliva points out via email, this seems a bit of a mission creep for the FTC. On top of that, they play a little fast and loose with the data:

    Did you know?

    Since laws established 21 as the minimum drinking age, the likelihood that a 15 to 20-year-old driver will be involved in a fatal crash has dropped by more than half.

    But down at the bottom of the page, they admit that it’s not quite that cut & dried.

    Q. I don’t believe that the reduction in teen drinking and driving accidents since 1983 is entirely due to the minimum drinking age. There must be more to it.

    A. Seat belt requirements, zero tolerance laws, increased enforcement, and frankly, increased public education and information on the dangers of teen drinking have contributed to the downturn in teen drinking and accidents. However, after careful study, the U.S. Department of Transportation concluded that the minimum drinking age law, by itself, has played an important role in reducing both teen drinking and driving after drinking.

    Important? How important? Was 5% of the reduction due to the law changes? 10%? I find it more than a little suspicious that they’re more than willing to trumpet that 50% claim but completely hide the only truly relevant statistic.

    Disraeli(?) knew what he was talking about.

    One Response to “POST HOC, ERGO PROPTER HOC”

    Comment by
    Skip Oliva
    October 18th, 2006
    at 11:28 pm

    I suspect there’s more than mere mission creep involved. The FTC has a pattern of taking up issues to preclude legislative debate. In other words, the FTC wants to prevent state legislatures from even *thinking* about lowering the drinking age back to 18. Much of the website is concerned with defending the federal government’s decision–via coercing the states–to raise the age.