Statistics show clearly that in those countries with the most severe penalties for driving while intoxicated, a small...

CMarr on September 11, 2020

Please explain the argument

I don't really understand the stimulus... and how to get to the answer choice

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shunhe on September 12, 2020

Hi @CMarr,

Thanks for the question! So let’s break it down sentence by sentence. We have some statistics that show that in countries that have the most severe penalties for driving while intoxication, fewer drivers by proportion have traffic accidents involving alcohol use than in other countries. So seems like in countries with these harsh penalties, less people are drinking and driving. This, argues the author in the conclusion, refutes the claim that would-be drunk drivers won’t be deterred by severe penalties. So basically some people think harsh penalties won’t make it less likely that people will drive. This author is saying those people are wrong, look at these statistics! Now we are looking for something to undermine the author’s argument. In other words, we want to make it seem like harsh penalties still don’t actually affect the drink and drive rates.

So now let’s take a look at (B), which tells us that very severe penalties against driving while intoxicated are in effect only in countries in which alcohol use is rare. Well, that makes it seem like the harsh penalties might not be doing the work anyway, right? There’s just naturally lower drinking rates, and so obviously there’s lower drinking and driving rates too. So (B) weakens the argument, and is the correct answer. It suggests an alternate cause for the low drink and drive rates in the countries with severe penalties.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.

Eaten on September 30, 2022

@shunhe can you explain why A isn't correct? I narrowed it down to A or B, but I remember reading that a way to undermine percentages is to argue in regards to population. That is why I ended up choosing A- even though B looked great because of the effect without cause explanation.

Emil-Kunkin on December 18, 2022


If it is true that harsh penalties are correlated with lower rates of drunk driving, we have to ask ourselves why it matters if the largest countries are not included in this sample. I would say nothing. If china and India do not have harsh laws, but in the countries that do have harsh laws there is less drunk driving, the fact that china and India are not Included does not undermine the idea that harsh laws reduce drunk driving.