GRE Argument Essay 99

The following appeared in an editorial in a Prunty County newspaper.

“In an attempt to improve highway safety, Prunty County recently lowered its speed limit from 55 miles per hour to 45 on all major county roads. But the 55 mph limit should be restored, because this safety effort has failed. Most drivers are exceeding the new speed limit and the accident rate throughout Prunty County has decreased only slightly. If we want to improve the safety of our roads, we should instead undertake the same kind of road improvement project that Butler County completed five years ago: increasing lane widths and resurfacing rough roads. 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.”

The author of the editorial claims that the safety effort of reducing the speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph on all major county roads in Prunty County has failed in curtailing the number of road accidents. It has also failed to reduce the number of drivers who resort to over speeding by not sticking to the laid down speed limit. The arguer uses this assumption to recommend that the 55 mph limit should be restored. The arguer states that Prunty County should also carry out a road improvement project that is similar to the one carried out by Butler County five years ago. He asserts that the speed limit in Butler County is 55 mph and the number of accidents reported in the past year were 25 percent lesser than what were reported five years ago. Despite the evidence provided by the arguer, the argument stands unconvincing as it is plagued by several flaws.

A major flaw in the given argument is that it makes no reference to the other factors that may cause accidents. Ill trained drivers, inclement weather and hilly terrain may be contributing to the accident rate in Prunty County. It is likely that the lowering of the speed limit is actually effective in reducing the number of accidents, but the other factors are more responsible for causing accidents thereby resulting in a minor change in the overall accident rate.

The arguer does not provide an exact time frame for which the new speed limit has been enforced. Since the speed limit has changed recently, it would be unfair to pass a judgment on the effectiveness of the lowering of the speed limit. The speed limit has been decreased on the major roads of the county and the argument refers to the accident rate throughout the county which has decreased only slightly. It is likely that the slight decrease in the accident rate is because the accidents on the minor roads are contributing to the accident rate in a big way. Therefore, the claim that the reduction in speed limit has had little effect on the rate of accidents throughout the county is not justified. Hence, the accident rate throughout the county could be held as credible evidence if it clearly mentions the percentage of accidents that have occurred on major roads where the speed limit has been decreased to ensure highway safety.

Evidence provided by the arguer in the form of a comparison between the accidents rates and speed limits of Butler County and Prunty County does little to substantiate the recommendation made by the arguer. It is possible that the driving safety regulations have been made much stricter in Butler County in the past five years. It is likely that now the driving tests in Butler County have more stringent passing standards and hence, the drivers in Butler County are well trained. Therefore, the lower rate of accidents in Butler County cannot be attributed to good conditions of roads alone. On the contrary, it is likely that the increased speed limit of 55mph and the good condition of the roads have prompted the drivers in Butler County to drive rashly leading to road accidents.

There is no mention of similarities in the terrain of Prunty County and Butler County. If Prunty County has a hilly terrain, then widening the road may be a difficult task in Prunty County. Even if the terrains are the same and the road improvement project is undertaken in Prunty County, it is not necessary that the results will be the same as those observed in Butler County. This is because the arguer has not been able to establish a link between the reduction of accidents and the condition of roads in Butler County. The same line of reasoning holds true for the speed limit of 55 mph as well. Due to lack of evidence that specifically links the speed limit and condition of roads to the rate of accidents, the arguer fails to convince the reader that his recommendation is viable.