West Virginia has more NASCAR fans per capita than any other state in the nation.

Fitting, then, that The Mountain State was chosen by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology for a study on what connection, if any, exists between watching crash-filled races on television and how viewers then drive in the real world.

The study's conclusion? Five days after a televised NASCAR race, aggressive driving-related accidents in West Virginia, a state with no NASCAR tracks of its own, rose significantly, with over 23 accidents recorded versus 19 on other days, according to The Wall Street Journal, reporting on the findings.

The study, which covered years 2003 to 2006, noted that bad weather had an effect on the number of wrecks, but maintains that the 156 televised NASCAR events in that time span also correlated with an uptick in crashes.


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  • 37 Comments
      ThinkAboutIt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bogus research. 1) There are only 36 weekends out of 52 where there are televised NASCAR races -- if you only include the cup races. Add two weeks of "special, non-points paying races, that's 38. If you include the minor series which always fill in the gaps between off weeks that's 43 weeks out of 52. 2) The weeks there are no races -- Mid November through the latter half of February, the worst weather period of the year in the hills of West Virginia. Bad weather, at the very least, is a damper to tendencies to drive aggressively. At worst, it's the most viable option/excuse for accidents where otherwise someone would "have" to be at fault. While the non-racing period includes Thanksgiving and Christmas, the "aggressive driving related" period includes all the summer travel holiday weekends and the summer vacation period when lots of travelers from out of state venture through West Virginia. 3) Since the link to the original source is dead, it's hard to determine exactly what specious "aggressive driving related" causes were. Would that include speeding? Something that would be much easier to do during better weather for weeks between NASCAR dates than it would be during black ice season in the Appalachians. How was it determined that, say, an illegal lane change was due to aggression and not inattention? I'd be interested in seeing the overall accident rate for those weeks during the same period. what were the actual numbers for those weeks? How much deviation was between weeks in those periods? How about the difference between how many passenger-miles were traveled through the state between the depths of winter and the rest of the year? If there are twice as many miles driven, but only a 15% variation in our specious "aggressive driving related" causes, this would disprove, rather than reinforce this suspect conclusion. And I suspect the weeks that the researchers cite for their "safer" period have far less traffic than most of the year, when it's likely literally safer to be on the road. Sorry to vent, but I hate junk surveys. Especially when they will be cited as "science" in the media for the next month, then periodically for years to come. Coincidence isn't the same thing as correlation, especially when other, significant factors are not ruled out.
      bonehead
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ironically every wreck was at a portion of the road where the driver was required to turn right.
      alfalimaindigo
      • 3 Years Ago
      The first rule I was taught in Statistics class was correlation does not imply causation.
        Kiiks
        • 3 Years Ago
        @alfalimaindigo
        Tell that to the insurance people.
      LifeLongCarGuy
      • 3 Years Ago
      I 100% agree with ThinkAboutIt. I'm no NASCAR fan by any stretch of the imagination and I'm not from WV but this "research" seems very subjective. If the suggestion is race fans are influenced to drive recklessly after watching a race on TV, then the same can be said (perhaps) about Formula 1 race fans all over the world. Oh, wait, the "research" suggests that this is a phenomenon that only occurs for NASCAR fans in WV. This begs the question, what are they REALLY trying to say about NASCAR fans in WV? Are they a bunch of adults that can't control their impulses after watching a race (like other "respectable" NASCAR fans in, say TX?) OR do they want you to extrapolate the conclusion that NASCAR fans, collectively, are morons? This "research" is pointed and bogus at worse; unscientific, incomplete and irrelevant at best.
      Stang70Fastback
      • 3 Years Ago
      Finally, a legitimate reason to ban NASCAR, lol.
      notbendingover
      • 3 Years Ago
      So crashes go up from 19 to 23.... that's significant? Better hope Ray "THE HOOD" LaHood doesn't hear about this - he'll try to ban NASCAR.
      QAZZY
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ironically, all of the accidents were on right turns.
      Agilis
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonder if those conducting this ridiculous study ever heard of the word coincidence?
      jragga
      • 3 Years Ago
      19 on normal days v.s. 23 So 4 more accidents? What's the big deal I think it's a problem that there are 19 accidents on any given day... Some crap drivers out there in West VA
      gtv4rudy
      • 3 Years Ago
      monkey see, monkey do
      Zack
      • 3 Years Ago
      People got dizzy after all those left turns.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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