IMAT 2011 Q14 [Assumption | Young Drivers]

There is a higher than average risk of death or injury to young drivers and their passengers. In 2007, 32 per cent of car driver deaths and 40 per cent of car passenger deaths were people aged between 17 and 24. Young male drivers were much more likely to be killed or seriously injured than young female drivers. So in order to reduce the number of road accidents and the numbers of people killed or injured, young people should not be allowed to drive until they reach the age of 24.

Which one of the following is an assumption on which this argument depends?

A. Young people would not accept the raising of the legal driving age.

B. Most of the accidents involving young people were the fault of the young drivers.

C. The driving test does not effectively test the skill of drivers.

D. The majority of drivers aged between 17 and 24 drive dangerously.

E. Amongst drivers aged between 17 and 24 there are more male drivers than female drivers.

To find the assumption that this question relies on, we should remember a few concepts;

  • In the absolute majority of the time, assumptions won’t appear in the text itself.
  • Before looking for the assumption, we must find the conclusion of the driver and the reasoning we could see in the text.
  • The assumption should strengthen the writer’s conclusion, and without it, the writer’s reasoning might not be valid.
  • Watch out for inclusive words such as “the majority”, “All”, “Every time” etc.

Before everything, let’s find the conclusion of our paragraph. As you remember from out Appendix, to find a conclusion, you can look for “signal” words, such as “In order to.” Our conclusion is, “So in order to reduce the number of road accidents and the numbers of people killed or injured, young people should not be allowed to drive until they reach the age of 24.”

Now that we find both the conclusion and the reasoning of the writer, let’s review the options and see which assumption strengthens the writer’s logic and the writer relies on for his conclusion to be valid.

A. Young people would not accept the raising of the legal driving age. - The reaction of the young people is irrelevant. The writer didn’t discuss it but the fact it should be outlawed, not considering the opinions of the young people. Because the writer never mentioned their opinion in the text, it can’t be our answer.

B. Most of the accidents involving young people were the fault of the young drivers. - If this is true, it strengthens the writer’s conclusion. The writers assume that if we stop allowing young people under the age of 24 to drive, the number of people killed or injured will be reduced. The argument won’t be valid if it’s not the driver’s fault! Therefore, this option is the correct answer.

C. The driving test does not effectively test the skill of drivers. - If this is true, it actually weakens the writer’s argument.

D. The majority of drivers aged between 17 and 24 drive dangerously. - Watch out! While there is a higher than average risk of death or injury to young drivers than the general population, it doesn’t mean that the majority of young drivers drive recklessly!

E. Amongst drivers aged between 17 and 24, there are more male drivers than female drivers. - This one isn’t an assumption but a false fact that the writer never mentioned in the text.

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