Automobile Safety

Key Questions

What is the Size of the Automobile Safety Problem?

Highway fatalities have declined from 5.30 per 100,000 vehicle miles traveled in 1965 to 1.16 per 100,000 in 2009, the lowest rate on record.

Accident externalities related to congestion are substantial with the increase in traffic density from a typical additional driver increasing total statewide insurance costs of other drivers by $1,725–$3,239 per year in California, depending on the model. On balance, accident externalities are so large that a correcting tax per driver could raise $66 billion annually in California alone, and over $220 billion per year nationally (Abstract).

What is the Nature of the Automobile Safety Problem?

Part of the problem relates to auto congestion. Externalities appear to be substantial in traffic-dense states: in California, for example, we find that the increase in traffic density from a typical additional driver increases total statewide insurance costs of other drivers by $1,725–$3,239 per year. High–traffic density states have large economically and statistically significant externalities in all the statistical models used. In contrast, the accident externality per driver in low-traffic states appears quite small (Abstract).

What Are the Options for Improving Automobile Safety?

Federal Policy Options

State Policy Options

  • Given both that states regulate auto insurance and that the external accident-related cost of insurance imposed on other drivers due to congestion varies vary considerably across states, it would be more efficient to allow states rather than the federal government to tax drivers on the basis of the size of that cost: in a high-congestion state such as California, this could amount to $1,725 to $2,239 per driver (Abstract).

Local Policy Options

Links

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One Response to “Automobile Safety”

  1. William Says:

    Such a diverse range of aspects to consider, and whether or not they can be related to other Western countries is a question which may also be asked.

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