Banish the Toyota scaremongers - Macleans.ca

Banish the Toyota scaremongers

Why it’s important to do the math, and get a grip

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So just how scared should Toyota drivers be? Not scared at all, opines Robert Wright, who has crunched the risk numbers for the New York Times.
Driving one of the suspect vehicles raises your chances of dying in a car crash over the next two years from .01907 percent (that’s 19 one-thousandths
of 1 percent, when rounded off) to .01935 percent (also 19 one-thousandths of one percent), he claims, with a lengthy footnote explaining his calculation. And this seems like flimsy grounds to excoriate and humiliate a company that employs tens of thousands and transports millions worldwide—especially when the critics are professional bloviators in Congress. “We live in a world where responding irrationally to risk (say, the risk of a terrorist attack) can lead us to make mistakes (say, invading Iraq),” Wright argues. “So the Toyota story is a kind of test of our terrorism-fighting capacity—our ability to keep our wits about us when things seem spooky.”

Opinionator (New York Times)

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