Tag Archives: cost/benefit analysis

And the School Bus Seat Belt Debate Lives On. And On.

The question comes up often: If cars and trucks have seat belts, why not the buses carrying some tens of millions of kids each day? And the School Bus Seat Belt Debate Lives On

That headline tells it all: the Debate Lives On. And on. Endless tug-of-war over safety issues. Ad nauseum.

How is it that we can’t seem to get these life and death matters resolved? Cost/benefit analysis. There’s your answer.

Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles
Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles

My answer to end this stalemate:

Unfortunately, I know all too well from experience that raising questions and demanding action are mostly a wasted effort and won’t bring about needed change in time to save countless lives from joining the rank of those gone too soon — when perhaps such tragedies could have been avoided.

In my opinion, we aren’t going to see much progress in many areas of traffic safety until we as a country take vehicle violence seriously. That is why I continue to call for for a more effective and united strategy:

  1. Set a National Vision Zero Goal — make traffic safety a priority; Death by Motor Vehicle is one of the leading causes of preventable death.
  2. Establish a White House Vision Zero Task Force — it is a multifaceted problem, not just a transportation issue.
  3. Adopt Vision Zero Rulemaking.
  4. Appoint an independent National Traffic Safety Ombudsman to serve as a vigilant voice for vulnerable victims of vehicle violence.
  5. Mobilize citizens to be part of the solution through a nationwide network of Vision Zero/Traffic Safety community action groups.

Wake up, America! The Crash Death Clock is ticking away. . .

So, why aren’t we making a bigger dent in tragic crashes? America, we can do better than this!

What will it take to make a significant reduction in the number of people who die on our roads?


Do it, President Trump, for We the People of this United States of America!  Don’t let endless arguing over Cost rob us of loved ones who will never come back.


What happens when the economic interest of society is favored over the value of saving human lives?

I just did my morning reading as I ate my breakfast and ran across the word expropriation. I decided to look it up and found its meaning peculiarly and disturbingly relevant to my passion for traffic safety.

Expropriation: (from Wikipedia) The process of expropriation “occurs when a public agency (for example, the provincial government and its agencies, regional districts, municipalities, school boards, post-secondary institutions and utilities) takes private property for a purpose deemed to be in the public interest“.

Is that what happens when a cost/benefit analysis is interpreted in favor of the economic interest of society/industry over the value of saving human lives: Our government (on behalf of We the People) sacrifices human lives for a purpose deemed to be in the public interest?

Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles
Equal Justice For All, Legal Reader, artist Neal Angeles

‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Enough, you princes of Israel; put away violence and destruction, and practice justice and righteousness. Stop your expropriations from My people,” declares the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 45:9

Car Safety Wars

Thanks to Clarence Ditlow Review of 1981 Underride Rule Sheds Light on Current Rulemaking Concerns

In June 2016, I received a link from Clarence Ditlow to a regulations.gov Federal Register 1981 proposed truck underride rule. As I was reflecting on Clarence’s recent death and his life as a car safety advocate, I remembered that email.

When I was able to locate the email, I realized that I had not fully read the proposed rule, so I took some time this morning to do so and have recorded highlights of that document below. Points or questions not in quotes are my own thoughts.

Because this was a lengthy summary, I am going to include a link for the reader:                “Old Underride Petition”; Highlights of a 1981 Rear Underride Rule

Federal Register Docket and Full Proposed Rule pdf can be found here: Rear Impact Guards/Protection: Docket ID: NHTSA-1996-1827

What I would like to know is whether NHTSA will be reviewing prior documents and research (such as this represents) as well as take into account the impact that advances in technology and knowledge when preparing future underride rulemaking? Just for example, would the crashworthiness of “modern” passenger vehicles (e.g., the installation of air bags) change the conclusions drawn in this document?

I would also like to know what the actual cost/benefit analysis formula was which they used in this document as well as in the current underride rulemaking. Does it take a Vision Zero/Road to Zero approach? And would they think that my daughters were worth saving?

Some of the key points of this 1981 proposed underride rule include:

  1. “The agency had tentatively determined that a better regulation was needed because of the continuing problem of fatalities and serious injuries occurring in accidents involving excessive underride, and because of the absence of efforts by the vehicle manufacturers generally to go sufficiently beyond the BMCS requirement.”

  2. “In 1971, after evaluating cost and accident data and reviewing all information received in response to the notices, NHTSA terminated those rulemaking efforts. The Administrator of the agency concluded that the safety benefits achievable with the particular type of underride guard then contemplated would not be commensurate with the cost of implementing the standard.”

  3. “The agency had estimated that the proposed rule would save 50-100 lives per year at an annual cost to the consumer of $500,000,000 .”

  4. “Most of the implementation costs estimated by NHTSA were related to the increase in guard weight which it thought was necessary to meet the proposed requirements.”

  5. “Efforts to improve underride protection resumed in 1977, after the Auto-Truck Crash Safety Hearing was held by Senator Wendell H. Ford. This hearing was the direct result of a program conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 1976.”

  6. “This program focused on the problem of preventing excessive underride. IIHS performed five tests in which passengers car were crashed into the rear of a typical semi-trailer van.

  7. “In addition, the TTI program tested a hydraulic energy-absorbing guard manufactured by Quinton-Hazell Automotive Ltd. (Quinton-Hazell). (An energy-absorbing guard is one that dissipates the energy of the impact in a controlled manner.)”

  8. “The Quinton-Hazell device was very effective both at preventing excessive underride, reducing occupant injury responses, and reducing damage to the colliding vehicle.”

  9. “Despite their apparent advantages, NHTSA will not mandate the use of energy-absorbing underride devices at this time because the agency feels that they are heavy and costly to use.”
  10. “NHTSA encourages the use of energy absorbing guards in light of their ability to mitigate injuries, as evidenced by the testing and the risk analysis.”
  11. “NHTSA stresses that the requirements set forth in the proposed rule are minimum requirements. If adopted truck and trailer manufacturers and owners would be able to place any type of underride guard — rigid, energy-absorbing, moderate strength, etc. — on their vehicle that meets the requirements of the rule.”
  12. “In light of the results of the risk analysis, however, the agency suggests that manufacturers interested in guards stronger than moderate load design consider using hydraulics or other means to absorb energy rather than merely making the guards more rigid.”
  13. “NHTSA estimates that the proposed requirements could have prevented as many as 80 fatal injuries per year if they had been fully implemented in the period from 1977 to 1979. An even greater number of serious injuries would have been prevented.”

Read the other 80 points here: old-underride-petition

How do you interpret those statements? What does it look like to you? Am I the only one who is appalled at their apparent “washing of their hands” of responsibility for the lives lost due to their negligence in mandating the best possible underride protection?

Even if I were willing to overlook their actions in the past, I am not willing to settle for a future rule to continue this kind of travesty. In conjunction with voluntary improvement in underride protection which we are beginning to see, I want to see effective underride protection installed all around trucks because I know it is possible.

I am convinced that this kind of protection will be near to impossible to attain until this country understands and demands Vision Zero Rulemaking as an essential component of its Road to Zero Coalition strategy.

do-it-president-obamaCar Safety Wars

CBA Victim Cost Benefit Analysis Victim

What will President Trump and the next Secretary of Transportation do about this?

Cost/Benefit Analysis: Or, How to Put a Price Tag on a Person’s Life

Now I better understand why my dad had my mom’s dresser still full of her things in his bedroom when we emptied his house at age 90 — 24 years after she was gone. I cling to the things which are full of memories, full of them. Being a pack rat doesn’t help.

Today I found a moving box labeled by Mary: Mary’s Books, 4/27/13. Exactly one week before our crash on 5/4/2013. She loved to read. When she was little, she loved to be read to. She loved a good story. She loved to laugh.


In what universe, did we decide to put a price on a person’s life and use that to determine whether we should bother to save them — to prevent an unnatural death which would cut short their existence? If it is possible to do something which would give them a chance to live out their earthly life , then why on earth would we decide that it would cost too much? Too much?! For whom?!

Cost/Benefit Analysis: Or, How to Put a Price Tag on a Person’s Life

How We Can Protect Children From Dying in Hot Cars? To err is to be human. But we can do this.

I had read a blogpost before by a parent who had lost a child in a hot car death. And recently I have heard about the increase of such deaths and the push to get doable solutions to reduce these horrible tragedies.

Then I read an article today by Janette Fennell, director of KidsAndCars.org, who mentioned the need for parent education but along with other solutions:

. . . education is not enough. We cannot educate every single parent, grandparent, babysitter and caregiver in the country. And most parents don’t believe that the worst mistake a parent can make could happen to them. But blaming them only deepens the heart-rending impact of these incidents for families who are already overwhelmed by guilt and grief. To err is to be human. How We Can Protect Children From Dying in Hot Cars

Reading that immediately brought to mind the days and weeks after our truck underride crash, on May 4, 2013 (a date embedded in my mind) in which we lost AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13). I was in the hospital myself for almost a week and due to the circumstances it was some time before I heard the news that AnnaLeah had died instantly and later the news that Mary had died due to her injuries.

When I did find out, I can’t really describe it for you to fully grasp, but I just wanted it to be me instead of them. “Why couldn’t it have been me? They had so much life yet to live. Let me take their place.” But, of course, nothing was going to change the awful reality. They were gone. They would never come back.

And, as I learned the circumstances of the crash, that a truck had hit us spinning us around and hitting us again — sending us backwards into the back of another truck (whose weak, ineffective underride guard failed) and AnnaLeah & Mary in the back seat took the brunt of it, their bodies broken by the truck — I wanted it to have been me. [Especially since I had been driving and if we had simply rear-ended the truck, it would have been me that died.]

They were totally innocent; they had done nothing to deserve their lives to be snatched senselessly from them. I wasn’t sure that I could bear going on living with the knowledge that they were gone and I had lived.

Let it be me, Lord.

I think of that now — knowing that I was not responsible for their deaths (although I could have left the restaurant 5 minutes sooner and not been in that place at that time). And then I try to imagine the guilt those parents must feel for having left their child in a car — even though they did not do it on purpose. On top of the ongoing grief which will be a daily part of their lives.

Makes my heart break.

Today, I read another article by a professor of cognitive and neural sciences who has been researching this problem for some time now and says that it is a problem of habit memory taking over — especially when parents are stressed and sleep-deprived and. . . well, read more here to understand what could happen to any of us:

An epidemic of children dying in hot cars: a tragedy that can be prevented by David Diamond, June 20, 2016

Oh, my goodness! I just read a couple of the comments on this article. One person commented that it was high time that we make use of technology which could make these tragedies a thing of the past. The other person was disgusted that they would be expected to foot the bill for a feature that they would never make use of just to make up for “negligent parents!”

That attitude makes my blood boil!

I’m glad to see that one manufacturer has put a solution into one of their new cars:

This year, one manufacturer, GMC, finally stepped up and included a reminder system in one of their 2017 models. Just one vehicle, the Acadia, in the entire United States being sold will have a reminder system. GM unveils new feature to prevent child deaths in hot cars

But what about the rest of their models? And what about the rest of the car companies? What kind of society are we that would think it is okay to remind ourselves (and our consumers) that we forgot to turn off our lights (so our battery doesn’t get worn down) but refuse to pay the cost to protect innocent lives from being tragically ended?

Is it going to take a federal mandate to require manufacturers to put the available technology into every car? Is this one more safety matter that the industry would successfully block and declare that it is “not cost effective” because too few lives would be saved compared to the costs?

Another situation of preventable tragedies.

What will be the outcome, America? Will we do what is right? Will we be compassionate?

Hot car deaths


Where does underride prevention fit into ESV? I think it’s catch-up time for underride victims.

Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) is the designation for experimental concept cars which are used to test car safety ideas.

In 1973 the U.S. DOT announced its ESV project, the aim of which was to obtain safer vehicles by 1981.[1] A car produced by this effort was known as the Minicar RSV.

In 1991, the ESV abbreviation was backronymed to Enhanced Safety of Vehicles.[2]

Experimental Safety Vehicle From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What about truck underride prevention? This issue seems to fall between the cracks. Has anyone developed an Experimental Safety Truck (EST) for testing of underride prevention best practices? I’m no expert on how that could work, but surely there is potential there. Without a doubt (in my mind), this Goliath could be taken on as a collaborative effort.

How much money, by the way, has been put into this kind of safety research? Especially compared to trucking industry profit.

Every time I bring up a possible solution to underride crashes, the problem of cost comes up as an obstacle to moving forward — either for the research or the implementation. “Don’t ask for that because then the industry will oppose it.” It is like running into a brick wall.

Oh, well, it is safer to run into a brick wall than the back of a truck, they say.

And then there is the faulty (in my opinion) process of making regulatory decisions based on a cost/benefit analysis that compares industry costs with the worth of lost or shattered human lives. So far, we have gotten ZERO response to our 20,000+ Vision Zero Petitions delivered to Washington, DC, in March 2016.

We asked for President Obama and Secretary Foxx to take some very specific steps to rectify that situation. No response.

I have also asked for help in determining what percentage of trucking industry profit has been devoted to underride research. I have an idea that the results of  such fact-finding might prove an embarrassment to them and might even give safety advocates a leg to stand on.

When I find out, I’d like to take a cue from former Senator Robert Kennedy and ask the trucking industry to stop whining about what they “can’t” do to fix the underride problem — because of how much it would cost them — and to stop wielding their unfair lobbying advantage to delay or block needed underride prevention technology.

After all, if you do the cost/benefit analysis math for truck side guards — which DOT intended to mandate for large trucks as far back as 1969 — the cost/”life saved” is not likely to be something for them to complain about.

Truck Underride Fatalities, 1994-2014

I think it’s catch-up time for underride victims.

CBA Victim Cost Benefit Analysis Victim

Two documents to compare:

Vision Zero Petition Book 3rd Edition

Underride Network want list for topics at IIHS Underride Roundtable

Request for Law Review Articles on the Cost/Benefit Analysis in Traffic Safety Rulemaking

After losing our two youngest daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), due to a truck underride crash on May 4, 2013, our family has taken on the goal of improving the regulatory and voluntary standards for currently weak and ineffective truck underride guards. On May 5, 2016, we were co-sponsors, with IIHS and the Truck Safety Coalition, of an Underride Roundtable.

Current truck underride regulations too often do not prevent underride crashes—which led to 228 recorded crash fatalities in 2014. http://annaleahmary.com/2016/04/truck-underride-fatalities-chart-from-the-fars-1994-2014/truck-underride-fatalities-1994-2014/

As we have participated in safety advocacy, we have become aware of the challenges often faced by those who seek to bring about greater safety through legislative or rulemaking means. Because we have observed that the industry’s lobby exerts a great deal of influence and has been successful in delaying proven safety measures, we have petitioned the federal government to adopt a Vision Zero Rulemaking Policy.

In order to understand the details of our vision to bring about a process that would truly be concerned about saving lives more than saving profit, please see our Vision Zero Petition Delivery Book:


Also available from Lulu Publishing: http://www.lulu.com/shop/marianne-karth/the-vision-zero-petition/paperback/product-22648853.html

Also, read these Vision Zero Rulemaking posts: http://annaleahmary.com/tag/vision-zero-rulemaking/

We have not received any feedback from the White House or from the Department of Transportation in response to our petition. Therefore, we are proceeding to call upon experts in law to research this timely topic and write law review articles to shed light on the appropriateness of our requests to re-shape the process through which this country’s citizens are meant to be protected.

It is our hope that students of the law, as well as law professors, judges, and legal practitioners, will take it upon themselves to clarify the process by which safety measures – which are proven to save lives and/or prevent serious injuries – are determined to be cost effective or not, and what exactly that means. We will compile the results (or links to published articles) and make them publicly available.

This Call for Research & Review is available as a pdf: Request for Law Reviews on Cost Benefit Analysis in Rulemaking

Please send questions and submissions to:
Marianne Karth

2 crash deaths

CBA Victim Cost Benefit Analysis Victim

We will accept reviews at any time but encourage law students to incorporate this project into their university schedule. Please share this post with others whom you think would be interested in this opportunity to change the face of traffic safety rulemaking.

A Bereaved Dad Takes a Close Look at the Flaws in Underride Regulatory Cost/Benefit Analysis

Jerry Karth submitted some additional comments on the proposed underride rule–with reflections on what was learned through the Underride Roundtable. These comments have now been posted on the Federal Register: Additional Comments on Underride Rulemaking by Jerry Karth, May 19, 2016

Jerry submitted his original public comment regarding the proposed underride rulemaking on February 16, 2016. Here is an excerpt from that which addresses NHTSA’s preliminary cost/benefit analysis:

I would like to respond to the utilitarian logic approach that NHTSA has appeared to have applied to this issue. Their utilization of a cost/benefit analysis (called for by Executive Order 12866) is sadly lacking moral and ethical depth on the benefits side.

This type of logic was applied in 2000 by the Philip Morris Company in the Czech Republic when they funded a research study on the costs/benefits of smoking in the Czech Republic. http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/Philip-Morris-Czech-Study.htm The study concluded that it would be more beneficial for the people of the Czech Republic to smoke than not. What was this startling conclusion based on? A cost/benefit analysis.

The results are summarized in Figure 1:

Figure 1: The public finance balance of smoking in the Czech Republic in 1999 is estimated at +5,815 mil. CZK

Income and positive external effects 21,463 mil CZK
  Savings on housing for elderly 28,mil CZK
  Pension & soc. expenses savings due to early mortality 196 mil CZK
  Health care costs savings due to early mortality 968 mil CZK
  Customs duty 354 mil CZK
  Corporate income tax 747 mil CZK
  VAT 3,521 mil CZK
  Excise tax 15,648 mil CZK
Smoking related public finance costs 15,647 mil CZK
  Fire induced costs 49 mil CZK
  Lost income tax due to higher mortality 1,367 mil CZK
  Days out of work related public finance costs 1,667 mil CZK
  ETS related health care costs 1,142 mil CZK
  Smoking (first hand) related health care costs 11,422 mil CZK
NET BALANCE +5,815 mil. CZK

The study concluded that $1,227 was saved in pensions, health care, and housing every time a smoker dies. [Photo and caption from http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/Philip-Morris-Czech-Study.htm ]

$1,227 ?

That’s how much a study sponsored by Philip Morris said the Czech Republic saves on health care, pensions and housing every time a smoker dies.

photo: American Cancer Society full-page SF Chronicle advertisement 2aug01

In comparison, let’s look at how this approach could be applied to the underride issue. This type of cost/benefit analysis could lead us to conclude that it is not beneficial to require stronger underride guards because the benefits of keeping weak and ineffective standards for underride guards are greater than the cost of upgrading them to the best possible protection. What might those benefits be?

  1. Save the trucking industry money by holding down manufacturing and installation costs.
  2. Save the consumer money by holding down shipping costs.
  3. Reduce medical costs by killing people at a younger age (and avoiding costly medical costs of the elderly population).
  4. Preserve the Social Security fund by decreasing the number of people who draw from their account due to early Death by Motor Vehicle.
  5. Improve the job market due to the decrease in the workforce from the elimination of workers through Death by Motor Vehicle.

In both cases, the conclusions lack common sense. I hope that we can agree upon that.

In other words, this kind of analysis could potentially require that we decide whether we are willing to fork over money to protect people from Death by Motor Vehicle. It forces us to choose between saving a life or saving costs. When that life is one of your loved ones, what would you choose?

In contrast, a cost-effectiveness approach may be a better solution because it compares the relative costs and outcomes (effects) of two or more courses of action. “Cost-effectiveness analysis is distinct from cost-benefit analysis, which assigns a monetary value to the measure of effect.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost-effectiveness_analysis In this situation, the desired outcome of both courses of action would be an underride guard which did not fail upon collision with a vehicle. The two solutions could be compared based upon cost, but a performance standard of a successful crash test would guarantee that lives would be saved.

Cost.Benefit Analysis

Should manufacturers be held to a higher standard than those which have been proven to be ineffective?

Should manufacturers be held to a higher standard than those which have been proven to be ineffective?

The following paper is an interesting read related to that topic. . .

“The Case for a ‘Strong’ Regulatory Compliance Defense”

Richard C. Ausness, University of Kentucky, College of Law, 1996, Law Faculty Publications

Here are some excerpts:

“The regulatory compliance defense is another concept that can limit tort liability. In its strong version, the regulatory compliance defense provides that a product is not defective if it meets applicable regulatory standards or requirements. However, very few jurisdictions recognize regulatory compliance as a complete defense to tort liability. Instead, most courts allow juries to take compliance with regulatory standards into account, but steadfastly refuse to treat federal safety standards as anything more than minimum standards. 12″ [p. 1212]

“The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 35 directs the Secretary of Transportation to promulgate safety requirements for automobiles and other motor vehicles.36 Each safety standard must protect the public against “unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction, or performance of motor vehicles and … unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident.“”37 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards currently govern safety glass, door strength and latch design, fuel system integrity, occupant protection, and numerous other aspects of motor vehicle safety. 38″[p.1215]

“Regulatory safety standards may be either descriptive or performance oriented. Descriptive or specification standards mandate the use of particular materials, processes, designs, or labeling.65 Performance standards describe the performance characteristics of a product but do not specify how these characteristics are to be achieved.66 Performance standards are thought superior to descriptive standards because they allow for flexibility without sacrificing the benefits of specificity.67 However, both descriptive standards and performance standards are more specific than tort liability rules.68″ [p. 1218]

” Consequently, a product manufacturer may be held civilly liable as a matter of law for injuries caused by its failure to comply with applicable safety standards.’ It should be noted, however, that some courts conclude that noncompliance merely creates a presumption of negligence.182 Courts treat compliance with government safety standards somewhat differently than they treat noncompliance with such standards. Section 288C of the Restatement (Second) of Torts provides that compliance with a legislative enactment or an administrative regulation does not preclude a finding of negligence in cases where a reasonable person would take additional precautions.‘ 183 Most states appear to follow the Restatement’s approach in negligence cases. Thus, compliance with safety regulations is generally considered to be some evidence of due care,184 but it is seldom conclusive. 185

B. Effect of Compliance with Federal Product Safety Standards Ordinarily, regulatory compliance is treated the same in product liability cases as it is in negligence cases. Although there are some exceptions, 186 most courts agree that federal safety regulations are relevant evidence in products liability cases.187 On the other hand, few courts are willing to give much weight to such statutes. Instead, most have concluded that compliance with federal safety standards is merely evidence that a product is not defective, effectively allowing juries to substitute their judgment for that of a regulatory agency.”‘ 188″ [pp.1240-1242]

National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.-A number of courts have concluded that compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards does not foreclose tort liability.2″ 1 Dawson v. Chrysler Corp. 202 is illustrative. In Dawson, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s automobile was designed defectively because it did not have a continuous steel frame.2 °3 Chrysler maintained that its design was adequate because it complied with applicable federal safety standards.20 4 The court, however, relied upon a provision of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which expressly preserved tort claims against automobile manufacturers.205 In the court’s view, this authorized tort liability even though manufacturers complied with motor vehicle safety standards.206″ [pp. 1243-44]

Dorsey v. Honda Motor Co.207 involved a claim for punitive damages by the owner of a subcompact automobile who was injured when his vehicle collided with a larger car.208 The trial court concluded that compliance with federal motor vehicle standards precluded an award of punitive damages because it negated the element of recklessness as a matter of law. 209 The court of appeals observed, however, that the NTMVSA expressly preserved common-law tort claims. 210 The Dorsey court also relied on the Restatement (Second) of Torts to conclude that “compliance with regulatory standards. .. does not require a jury to find a defendant’s conduct reasonable.” 211 If compliance with a federal regulatory standard did not automatically cause defendant’s conduct to be considered reasonable, the court reasoned that it could be reckless, thereby justifying an award of punitive damages. 212″ [p.1244]

“Ordinarily, the best way to determine if a strong regulatory compliance defense should be adopted is to compare costs and benefits. If the benefits of a strong regulatory compliance defense exceed its social costs, the defense should be adopted. If the opposite is true, the regulatory compliance defense should be rejected. . . On the benefit side, a strong regulatory compliance defense will provide manufacturers with specific and uniform standards to follow. . . On the loss side, the lessening of tort liability would deprive manufacturers of some incentive to invest in product safety. Consequently, products would become more dangerous and product-related accidents would increase accordingly. . . ” [p. 1265]

(Note: Emphasis is mine.)

Read more here: http://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1488&context=law_facpub

Rebekah photo of crash


Human lives shouldn’t be a nickel and dime proposition. by Isaac J. Karth

My family has been through a lot in the aftermath of our truck crash on May 4, 2013. They each have their own story (some more closely-guarded than others). I was surprised but pleased that one of our sons was able to take the time to express his thoughts in the form of a Comment on our Vision Zero Petition a couple of hours ago.

Isaac said that I could share his comments here:

Isaac Karth, NC
about 2 hours ago

“Three years ago, I was sitting in my apartment, working on my class projects, when I got a phone call that turned my world upside down. My family’s car had been hit by a truck, and I was the first person that the hospital was able to reach. There was a lot of confusion; no one knew where my two sisters who had been in the back seat of the car had been taken.

“I had a pair of dice in my pocket that day, the same pair of dice that I had when my father called me later that evening with the news that my sister had died in the crash. Humans are bad at estimating probabilities. A one-in-a-million chance sounds rare, but that’s close to the odds the NWS reports for being struck by lightning, and 330 Americans are injured that way every year. It’s rare, but it happens. In probability theory, it’s called the law of large numbers. If you roll the dice often enough, or for enough people, the dice are going to come up as ones at a predictable, measurable rate.

“The IIHS reported that in 2013, there were 10.3 deaths from motor vehicle crashes per 100,000 people. That’s about one-in-ten-thousand, way more likely than one-in-a-million. And, unlike other leading causes of death, this is an entirely human-created problem, one that didn’t exist two hundred years ago.

“Automotive safety has been improving over time. But it is still one of the leading causes of death in America. Curing cancer, one of the other leading causes, is expensive and difficult, requiring research just to figure out if it is even possible. In contrast, for motor vehicle deaths there are many cases where we already know simple ways to reduce motor vehicle fatalities, such as effective underride guards, and we have promising research for even more.

“We shouldn’t settle for one-in-ten thousand, or even one-in-a-hundred-thousand. We should strive to be better than that. Human lives shouldn’t be a nickel and dime proposition. Even low chances of death are still too high. I shouldn’t have to roll the dice every time I need to leave my house. I shouldn’t have to wonder, every time my family is out on the road, if today is going to be the day that they roll too many ones again.”

A photo of Mary age 5 taken by her big brother, Isaac
Mary on hammock
Isaac wrote this facebook post on June 19, 2013, in memory of his sister AnnaLeah:

To all the creative people: I recently lost someone close to me. She didn’t know how creative she was and how talented she was becoming, but I did. She didn’t think that she would be able to live up to her siblings. She doubted her talent. She was embarrassed when anyone read her writing. But she kept reading, writing, making.

She was one of the people I relied on to find out about new books. I was counting on her writing the kinds of books I wanted to read. I didn’t realize how much I was expecting from her future until it was gone.

Every death is an irreplaceable loss, but that doesn’t mean we stop living. The absence left behind can’t be filled in this life. That’s all the more reason to build a monument to her memory. I can’t replace her life or her lost works, but I can create my own. They will be different than what could have been, because they’ll be my creations instead of hers. I can’t be her. I can be myself. My works can reflect the life and the hope she believed in, because I have the same hope. I am not justified by my merits (or by hers). I can do my best and no more. That won’t be enough, but it will be right.

To the writers, the readers, the makers, the designers: keep creating. The night will be long and the shadows of your doubts dark. Don’t let that stop you. When you think your work isn’t good enough, it’s a sign to keep going. Your work won’t justify anyone, least of all you, but every creative act that introduces something good to the world is an act of love to those around you.

In memory of those we have lost, and in love to those we have now, I ask you to continue. Keep creating, keep making, keep doing. This is the service you have been given, to love all of creation by creating.

After Isaac signed the Vision Zero Petition and wrote his comment, he shared it on facebook with this message:
 “We’ve made it to over 5,000 signatures, which is pretty nice given that we started last Tuesday. Looking at it, it struck me that number is still less than the number of lives lost this year to vehicle crashes.”