Markey malarkey on trial in home state with Boston editorial

Posted Monday, September 3, 2001 8:03 PM | Contributed by Jeff

You can't get much through Washington without someone ripping apart everything you stand for. A DC-based think-tank has pointed out that the injury sampling method to determine amusement park injuries is seriously flawed. Of the 101 hospitals sampled, only two would ever receive injuries from the 40 biggest parks, which constitute the bulk of the rides given in the US. The Boston Herald points out in an editorial that the panic is unfounded, and you're more likely to survive that roller coaster ride than the ride home in your car.

Read more from The Boston Herald.

Monday, September 3, 2001 8:05 PM
When you consider that flaw in the stats, it's a real kick in the jimmy. No appeal to emotions there... that makes the margin of error astronomical.

If you're going to send more tax dollars to the CPSC, hire some real statisticians!

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
"From the global village... in the age of communication!"
Watch the grass grow!

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Monday, September 3, 2001 8:13 PM
Jeff, you are right on the money here.  If they are going to cut and grind into things, they should have accurate statistics that reflect what is really going on, not something so broad.  This reminds me of something else but I can not think of it.  This also was a recent thing as well.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 4:09 AM
Yeah, but the first rule of statistics is to manipulate them to get what you want. In my previous job, management would actually hire consultants until they got the answers they wanted.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
"From the global village... in the age of communication!"
Watch the grass grow!

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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 4:48 AM
Even taking the CPSC numbers at face value, the numbers of ride injuries do not begin to approach automotive fatalities. Our industry is a target because it is visible and convenient; Markey is trying to ride the headlines (or rather the live converage of a coaster getting stuck without injury) into promenance.

Let's see him try to eliminate private automobile traffic in the name of safety, since he's so concerned about it.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 8:30 AM
In the article, the study mentions how injuries rose from 1997 to 2000.  It would be interesting to see how overall attendance rose during that same time period.  But, as Jeff pointed out, statistics are designed to convey the point you want to make; not the facts.


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Theme Park Employee Site - http://www.themeparkemployees.com/

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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 9:17 AM
Here's the link to the original Statistical Assessment Service article: http://www.stats.org/newsletters/0006/amuse.htm

Several points:

1)  Since the multiplier used to get the CPSC's estimated total injuries is about 70 times the actual number of injuries reported by the emergency rooms , if the primary emergency rooms for 2 of the 40 largest parks are included in the sample then the estimate will greatly overstate the number of injuries. The STATS article almost makes it sound like parks are under represented, but it seems more likely that they are over represented, but in any case not accurately represented.

2) The number of ride injuies don't just not approach automotive injuries, they also don't approach golf injuries or garden hose injuries.

3) The CPSC's number of estimated injuries has been going up faster than park attendance, but the increase has been completely driven by just one emergency room in the sample.  If you ignore that one ER, the number of injuries reported is unchanged.

4) While the hospital near one of the two major parks is a children's hospital.  It would still probably get most of the injuries, since most of the injuries reported are to children. *** This post was edited by Jim Fisher on 9/4/2001. ***

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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 11:12 AM
Let me state this simply, there is nothing sweeter than the truth!
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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 12:27 PM
Amen!!! What a bunch of ....  Wonder if Mrkey was wearing a cup when this kick in the jimmy came down!
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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 12:33 PM
Reminds of Fox 8 news (Cleveland.) When reporting about the MF breakdown, they put the number 90% really big on the screen and says "Injuries on rides are up 90% this year!!!"
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A bad day at Cedar Point is better than a good day at work.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 12:37 PM
Way to go Boston Herald!
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Got a problem with RWB? you've got a problem with me! Rollercoasters are the secret of life!
http://www.woodencoaster.com
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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 12:54 PM
Anyone read Time?  A person I work with tore out page 26 from the September 3 issue, which says something about the consumber saftey report.  Kinda funny I read this at the same time as the post about the numbers being flawed.
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UCSigep
"I always wondered what a fridge full of pudding would look like."
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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 1:24 PM
There's a little bit on the main report talking about the error rate for the stat was 50%. That's huge!

Political polls are between 2-5%, and we know how reliable they are.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 4:51 PM
If anyone is interested, there is a great book called
"Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists" by Joel Best. Very good reading and will help show you what a bunch of crap the numbers you hear on the news are.
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