Identifying Benefits – NHTSA Prevention of Backover Pedestrian Accidents
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Identifying Benefits – NHTSA Prevention of Backover Pedestrian Accidents

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Submission at the Workshop on Risk Assessment in Regulatory Policy Analysis (RIA), Session 8, Mexico, 9-11 June 2014. Further information is available at http://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/

Submission at the Workshop on Risk Assessment in Regulatory Policy Analysis (RIA), Session 8, Mexico, 9-11 June 2014. Further information is available at http://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/

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  • 1. Identifying  Benefits  –  NHTSA  Prevention  of  Backover  Pedestrian  Accidents     In  2007  the  United  States  Congress  directed  the  National  Highway  Transportation  Safety   Administration  (NHTSA)  to  issue  a  final  rule  amending  the  agency’s  Federal  motor  vehicle   safety  standard  on  rearview  mirrors  to  improve  the  ability  of  a  driver  to  detect  pedestrians  in   the  area  immediately  behind  his  or  her  vehicle  and  thereby  minimize  the  likelihood  of  a   vehicle’s  striking  a  pedestrian  while  its  driver  is  backing  the  vehicle  (a  “backover”  crash).       NHTSA  undertook  a  regulatory  impact  analysis  to  evaluate  alternative  strategies  to  reduce   deaths  and  injuries  from  backover  crashes.    As  the  base  case,  NHTSA  found  that  “available   safety  data  indicates  that  on  average  there  are  292  fatalities  and  18,000  injuries  (3,000  of   which  we  judge  to  be  incapacitating)  resulting  from  backover  crashes  every  year.  Of  those,  228   fatalities  and  17,000  injuries  were  attributed  to  backover  incidents  involving  light  vehicles”   (GVW  <  10,000  pounds).    NHTSA  also  identified  key  attributes  of  the  accidents  including   “many  of  these  incidents  occur  off  public  roadways,  in  areas  such  as  driveways  and  parking   lots  and  involve  parents  (or  caregivers)  accidentally  backing  over  children.  Second,  children   under  five  years  of  age  represent  approximately  44  percent  of  the  1fatalities,  which  we  believe   to  be  a  uniquely  high  percentage  for  a  particular  crash  mode.”     NHTSA  evaluated  the  effectiveness  of  three  currently  available  technologies  (mirrors,  sensors,   and  rearview  video  systems)  to  determine  if  an  individual  was  in  a  10  x  20  foot  zone  directly   behind  the  vehicle  –  presumably  avoiding  a  backover  crash.    They  also  estimated  savings  from   property  damage  when  a  crash  is  avoided.         NHTSA  identified  the  rearview  video  system  as  the  most  effective  option,  saying,  “we  believe   the  annual  fatalities  that  are  occurring  in  backing  crashes  can  be  reduced  by  95  to  112.   Similarly,  injuries  would  be  reduced  by  7,072  to  8,374.”    Rearview  video  is  also  the  most   expensive  option  and  NHTSA  observed  “to  equip  a  16.6  million  new  vehicle  fleet  with  rearview   video  systems  is  estimated  to  be  $1.9  billion  to  $2.7  billion  annually.”    The  final  analysis   suggested  that,  using  “discount  rates  of  3  and  7  percent,  the  net  cost  per  equivalent  life  saved   for  camera  systems  ranged  from  $11.8  to  $19.7  million.  For  sensors,  it  ranged  from  $95.5  to   $192.3  million  per  life  saved.  According  to  our  present  model,  none  of  the  systems  are  cost   effective  based  on  our  comprehensive  cost  estimate  of  the  value  of  a  statistical  life  of  $6.1   million.”     • Is  this  an  example  of  actuarial  or  modeled  risk  information  informing  a  regulatory  impact   analysis?     • Are  there  non-­‐quantifiable  benefits  that  might  have  a  significant  influence  on  judgment  of  the   desirability  of  the  crash  avoidance  options?    Would  they  differ  between  options     • NHTSA  has  proposed  to  require  the  rearview  video  system.    Is  that  a  reasonable  judgment?                                                                                                                   1  NHTSA  Proposed  Rule  and  Analysis