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#14- The number of serious traffic accidents (accidents

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Lucas Moreau wrote:Hello, SLF,

E is not the best answer choice for this question. The term "serious accidents" is defined at the beginning of the stimulus, and there is no indication that its meaning drifted at all over time. (Besides, if E is right, does that mean that accidents that caused immediate death aren't serious?! :0 )

C is better, since it is providing an alternate cause for the conclusion asserted. For Weaken questions like this one, you're not just trying to disprove the conclusion: you're trying to show that the stated premise(s) do(es) not lead to the conclusion.

In this case, the assertion is that the lowered speed limit was the cause of the lowered rate of serious accidents. If C is true, however, then that provides a significant possible alternate cause for the conclusion asserted - and that would weaken the argument more than any other of the answer choices.

Hope that helps,
Lucas Moreau

I now understand why C is correct but I am still confused why E is not correct. For this kind of weaken question, the answer choice can surely add extra information as a support. For me, I think E is exactly the kind of example. Yes, according to the stimulus, the author indeed defines what serious traffic accidents are. However, no one says the answer choice cannot change/modify the definition to make its own argument strong. Right?

As Lucas mentions that "if E is right, does that mean the accidents that caused immediate death aren't serious"? I know it doesn't make any sense but what if that's really answer choice E mean? It modifies the definition so it indeed can be counted as an alternative cause.

Please help me figuring out why E is not right!
Brook Miscoski
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(E) strengthens the argument instead of weakening it. (E) states that until 1986 accidents were considered serious only if they resulted in an extended hospital stay. That means that the criteria loosened after 1986. So the second time period, when there are fewer serious accidents, is actually including more kinds of accidents as serious (anything involving a hospital stay, not just an extended stay). That would tend to strengthen the argument by indicating that even when more types of accidents are included from the later period, there are still fewer accidents in that later period.