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GRE Argument: In An Attempt To Improve Highway Safety, Prunty County Last Year Lowered Its Speed Limit - With Free Essay Review



“In an attempt to improve highway safety, Prunty County last year lowered its speed limit from 55 to 45 miles per hour on all county highways. But this effort has failed: the number of accidents has not decreased, and, based on reports by the highway patrol, many drivers are exceeding the speed limit. Prunty County should instead undertake the same kind of road improvement project that Butler County completed five years ago: increasing lane widths, resurfacing rough highways, and improving visibility at dangerous intersections. Today, major Butler County roads still have a 55 mph speed limit, yet there were 25 percent fewer reported accidents in Butler County this past year than there were five years ago. - Write a response in which you discuss what specific evidence is needed to evaluate the argument and explain how the evidence would weaken or strengthen the argument.”

The author claims that the decrease in speed limit has not reduced the number of accidents in Prunty County. Hence, it has been unsuccessful and should be replaced by a system adopted by Butler county, which has seen a fall in the number of reported accidents.

The first evidence needed to evaluate the argument is statistics for the percentage decrease in the number of accidents in Butler county, a year after the road system project was completed. This will be helpful because we have been given information on the decrease in the number of accidents in Butler County over a period of 5 years. Therefore, we cannot make a comparison between both the measures taken : lowering of speed limit by Prunty County and the road improvement system by Butler County. If the percentage decrease in the number of accidents in Butler county over the first year was low than the argument will be weakened. It can then be assumed that improvement in highway safety comes over time, and the law by Prunty County cannot be discarded.

The second evidence required to evaluate the argument is a road analysis of Prunty County. The author is making the implicit assumption that the road conditions in Prunty county are the same as that in Bounty County five years ago. If the road analysis shows that Prunty county roads are as good as those of butler county today,the argument will become flawed, since there would be no need to have an improvement project in Prunty County.

Finally, evidence required to evaluate the argument is the intensity of the accidents in the year before implementation of the law for reduction in the speed limit and the year after its implementation. This will provide evidence to test the authors claim that the decrease in the speed limit has had no effect on highway safety.The argument will be weakened if it is found out that there has been decrease in the number of serious accidents in Prunty County ,although, the total no of accidents has remained the same.

To conclude, the evidences given above need to be examined to evaluate the argument.

________________________

Essay Review

The first argument here is just a bit odd to me; it makes sense only if one assumes that the judgment of the failure of Prunty County's attempt to reduce the number of accidents depends in some way on the success of Butler County's approach to the problem, which does not seem to be the case, and would certainly be an odd way to judge that failure. I suppose it is conceivable that it might take a longer time for the Prunty measure to take effect than this report suggests should be given, but comparison with Butler County's different approach should have no say in the matter (in other words, you cannot assume "that improvement in highway safety comes over time" just because there is evidence of the impact of one particular approach taking a certain amount of time to be felt).

The primary point of comparison is to explain why Prunty should do what Butler has done. But what exactly has Butler done? What might be worth finding out, that is to say, is whether anything else has changed in Butler County over that five year period other than the noted improvements. For example, there may have been reductions in the speed limit on certain roads (the report only refers to a 55 mph speed limit on major roads); there may have been no reduction in the number of accidents on major roads (the report only refers to a reduction in Butler County); there may have been stronger enforcement of speed limits so that Butler drivers might be, regardless of changes in the speed limit, driving more slowly than before; there may have been improvements in drivers education; there may have been a plague that reduced the number of drivers and thus improved the safety of the roads. Who knows?

The rest of your arguments are fine and they are articulated with clarity. Bravo.

Best, EJ.

Note that "evidence" has no plural.
Submitted by: 13100021
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