Who needs facts when you can make them up? (Updated)

March 17, 2014
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WNYT: Activists call attention to ‘drugged driving’

The exhibit details deadly accidents caused by drugged driving — responsible for about 100 deaths a day in this country, explained the dean of the college, Dr. James Gozzo.

100 drugged driving deaths a day. That’s a lot.

According to the NHTSA, in 2011 there were a total of 32,367 people killed in all traffic accidents, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

That comes to about 88 deaths a day.

Somehow the math doesn’t quite work.

I wrote to ask Dr. Gozzo about it, but got no reply.

And you certainly can’t expect WNYT to look up facts. Their job is to merely report what people tell them, not what’s true.

Update: I received the following response:

Pete,

Hi. My name is Gil Chorbajian, and I am the Director of Communications at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Dr. Gozzo forwarded me your note as I was the one who compiled the statistics for his remarks. The information he shared was that, according to the CDC, approximately 100 people die each day from a drug overdose.

This statistic was cited to shed light on the broader problem of drug abuse, but it appears to have been mistakenly attributed in this instance to drugged driving related deaths.

/ gil

Given some incoherence in the WNYT piece, I’m willing to believe this explanation, as it makes sense in context, and put the blame squarely on inexcusably shoddy reporting at WNYT.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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