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Costs, Benefits, Effectiveness and Safety: Setting The Record Straight
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
Published February 01, 1974 by SAE International in United States
Annotation ability available
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-effectiveness nor cost-benefit studies in this field can be relied upon. Pending legislation may resolve this.
CitationO'Neill, B. and Kelley, A., "Costs, Benefits, Effectiveness and Safety: Setting The Record Straight," SAE Technical Paper 740988, 1974, https://doi.org/10.4271/740988.
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