Starting TZD Traffic Safety Conversation: Who should pay for the cost of Saved Lives?

The Economics of Traffic “Safety” has been on my mind for awhile. I am not really ready and/or qualified to write a full-fledged commentary on the topic, but I did want to jot down some of the thoughts and questions I have about this vital area.

Feel free to put in your 2 cents worth.

  1. Who should pay for the cost of Saved Lives?
  2. Who already pays for the cost of Lost Lives?
  3. In Michael Lemov’s book Car Safety Wars, he mentions, numerous times, the long-prevailing belief/attitude of the automotive industry that “Safety doesn’t sell.” It impacted their decisions and actions for many years and led to the delay of/opposition toward many safety measures.
  4. If traffic safety measures are adopted, how are they currently “paid” for?
  5. How might they best be paid for?
  6. In our quest to help prevent countless more lives from being foreverchanged, we have come up against the brick wall of attitudes which appear callous and too-accepting of crash deaths as an inevitable outcome of highway travel. See what an Australian engineer has to say about that attitude:
  7. Are we ready, as a society, to instead embrace the notion that a large percentage of traffic deaths could and therefore should be prevented?
  8. Are we willing, as a society, to commit to sharing the burden of the cost of safety measures to Save Lives rather than involuntarily sharing the burden of paying for the cost of tragically-Lost Lives (and those with serious life-changing injuries)–including the immeasurable worth of those no longer with us?
  9. See what some Americans are doing about this in a Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) effort:
  10. And here are the thoughts of Ted Miller, an economist, on “Looking at Violence in America with a Financial Lens”
  11. What would a Vision Zero philosophy/goal/policy mean to us as a country? Here is how Neil Arason, Canadian author of No Accident, views Vision Zero: “I think people have different views about vision zero but here is mine.  The airline industry does not apply cost benefit analysis to fixing aviation problems. They just fix problems and that is that.  Using a cost benefit model is incompatible with vision zero because it applies trade-offs and vision zero does not entail that. Vision zero is about making the system a safe one and does not assign value to a human life because doing that, the thinking goes, is unethical. “

We want to change this situation for the better; we want to bring Americans together in a massive movement Toward Zero Deaths. Stay tuned for our upcoming online launch of a Vision Zero Executive Order Petition.

Marcus and Vanessa & the memorial bricks

Memorial bricks placed for AnnaLeah & Mary Karth by Midland College (viewed by their niece & nephew)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *