Seatbelts and Higher Education

I found this statistic today (as I was cleaning off my desk at the writing center) in a document we got during convocation. The topic of seatbelts drew my attention just because it drives me crazy when people don’t wear them (especially when people actually argue that there’s no need to “because when it’s your time, it’s your time”!). But it also points to a corelation between education and safety consciousness. Interesting.

Percent who “regularly wear seatbealts while driving”:

Not high school graduate 39%
High school graduate 41%
Some college 51%
Bachelor’s or higher 66%

Okay — it’s not surprising that higher education correlates with less crime, less need for economic assistance, less poverty, as well as with knowing things like the first ten amendments to the constitution, etc. But it’s interesting that safety consciousness would also correlate to it. I mean, it’s not as if you study those kinds of lessons (e.g., “Let’s see how we’re safer if we wear seatbelts.”) in college. You’ll study statistics and surveys and such in psychology, sociology, etc. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll get the “smarts” to take action and apply them to yourself. Still, obviously education somehow brings on greater practical knowledge, too — even though you’d think that that kind of practical knowledge wouldn’t correlate so strongly with higher education. You’d think it would mainly correlate with experience. Or ? Hmmm

— from Making the Grade: Washington Higher Education and the Global Challenge, page 8.


2 thoughts on “Seatbelts and Higher Education

  1. Laura,

    I think what we are really seeing with these statistics is a self-selection process. What I mean is that people who complete college are simply more careful, more risk-averse, than people who don’t. People who take risks and want to become millionaires by playing poker or the stock market or want to lead the wild life do not slog through all of those boring classes, earning credits, semester after semester, filling in the gaps in gen-ed and their required courses. This sort of thing is for people who fear that they won’t be able to get a good job if they don’t get a degree.

    That’s not to say that that isn’t true, of course. And the job market seems to favor those who can put up with college over those who are bored by it or who can’t pay attention for that long, who can’t keep achieving these small victories and putting up with bs to get their BS.

    I am speaking in general, of course, there are lots of exceptions. But check out the CIRP surveys or the YFCY done by the Higher Education Research Institute and you’ll see what I mean.

  2. caveblogem,
    Thanks so much for your thoughts, for one, and for being my first comment, for two! I’ve been blogging (typepad now here at wordpress) only for a few weeks, and so it’s a little thrill to get my first comment and a thoughtful one at that.

    I hadn’t thought of the risk-aversion angle, but that does make a lot of sense. I know I’m risk-averse :-), and I spent a lot of time in school (and now I work at a community college).

    Very interesting. Thanks again!


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