A Benefit-Cost Analysis of Auto Safety Features
Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
THERE HAS been increasing recognition of the cost of the automobile in recent years. With few exceptions (see GALBRAITH, 1958), economists have not quarreled with tile resource expenditure on producing, maintaining, and providing operating facilities for automobiles. These choices are made by consumers in a free society and to disagree with them is to disagree with consumer sovereignty. Associated with the automobile, however, is another cost: the destruction of people and property in accidents. In U.S. auto accidents in 1965 over 32,000 people were killed and about 2,400,000 were injured severely enough to lose time from work. These figures are increased to 50,000 fatalities and 3,600,000 injuries when all motor vehicle accidents are taken into account. In addition, the National Safety Council estimates that 83.1 billion of property damage was done in motor vehicle accidents in 1965.
Applied Economics , 2, 4.