COSTS, BENEFITS, EFFECTIVENESS AND SAFETY: SETTING THE RECORD STRAINGHT

The concepts of "cost-benefit" and "cost-effectiveness" are increasingly cropping up in debate over present and future motor vehicle standards. Often they are introduced to attack, or justify, a particular standard. Just as often, they are misunderstood and misused. Since a motor vehicle safety performance standard has no costs per se, it cannot be evaluated either in cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness terms. It is the particular design alternatives available to manufacturers to achieve the objectives of a standard that have societal costs. The various design alternatives can be evaluated. Cost-effective designs should be chosen to minimize societal costs, and until there is evidence that cost-effective designs have been chosen, cost-benefit studies are premature. Even then, because of the major conceptual and methodological difficulties in the valuation of life and limb, cost-benefit studies will be appropriate only in the evaluation of designs not primarily intended to save lives and reduce injuries -- that is, vehicle designs to reduce property damage. Until manufacturers are forthcoming with accurate cost data, neither cost-effectivenss nor cost-benefit studies in this field can be relied upon. Pending legislation may resolve this.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This report from the Automobile Engineering Meeting in Toronto, Canada from October 21-25, 1974.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)

    400 Commonwealth Drive
    Warrendale, PA  United States  15096
  • Authors:
    • O'Neill, B
    • Kelley, A B
  • Publication Date: 1974-10

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 13 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00265316
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: SAE #740988
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 11 1975 12:00AM