SOCIETAL PRIORITIES IN OCCUPANT CRASH PROTECTION

Analysis of accident data and vehicle trends, using the Minicars benefit-cost model, has led to predictions of the societal economic impact of various crash injury countermeasure strategies. The analysis shows unquestionably that casualties and costs will climb, despite the transient decreases seen in 1974. Unless decisive action is taken now to introduce passive restrains, annual fatalities will rise by more than 35% by 1985. Introduction of passive restraints can lead to huge economic benefits. Lap/shoulder belts, because of usage and effectiveness, cannot be expected to achieve equal economic or statistical benefit to those of air cushions. Even with 100% lap/shoulder belt use, airbag-lap belt systems will produce twice the predicted payoffs. Further, there is no practicable means likely to be implemented soon which will provide usage levels needed to achieve belt system benefit/cost ratios equal to those achievable by early implementation of passive restraints. Practical and political considerations relating to adoption of mandatory use laws in 50 states suggest a minimum of 6 years for full adoption. Implementation of passive restraints in the same time frame will yield greater benefits. The great advantage accrued to the driver position by occupancy is reflected in any economic study, but the economics of the proposed passive restraint requirements of NVSS 208 make the right front passenger seat a sound investment also, even at its lower occupancy. Airbags are needed now in all front seats if the nation is to significantly reduce highway casualties. The societal cost of further delays can be measured in terms of tens of thousands of fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries per year. The rank-ordered apportionment of benefits by position, class, and crash intensity suggests that future restraints improvements (beyond the 30 mph first step) may rightly be implemented for drivers first, with other positions lagging in time. The model also suggests that lower economic priority could be assigned to rollover, rear seat, and upgraded (above 30 mph) right front passenger protection, and that delaying or reverting to optional systems in these modes and seats might be considered. (A)

  • Corporate Authors:

    International Congress on Automotive Safety

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Washington, DC  USA  20590
  • Authors:
    • WARNER, C Y
    • Withers, M R
    • Peterson, R
  • Publication Date: 1975-7

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00144395
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Proceeding
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: May 31 1977 12:00AM