Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Monday, April 04, 2016

The USDOT uses a number for the Value of Life - VSL, is partition removal worth the savings in reduced injury and death?

The USDOT wrote in 1984;

"Proof of a violation of the others (FMVS standards and provisions of the Act) would require testing by the Government." 

"Because of our limited testing budget," 
(2017 USDOT Budget $98.1 Billion)

"the number of vehicles involved," 
(In Boston and NYC, very few vehicles, all regulated by only two agencies, involve 14,825 taxis, carry 325 million people each year)

"and 

the controversial trade-off of occupant safety for the safety of the vehicle operator from assailants," 
(This so-called trade-off is a strictly illegal one, not a controversial one and is actually more of a give-away. Driver protection from assailants is not achieved at all)

"we have no plans to test the involved vehicles for violations of other FMVSS to which you refer."

This USDOT VSL Letter 2004 explains the methods used to determine if the cost of a standard or requirement has a positive cost benefit ratio, when compared with savings from reduced risk/losses.

Partition removal passes the cost/benefit ratio analysis test. Contacting two agencies, who control 15,000 vehicles, which convey 325 million people every year, could save 40 lives/yr and with a nearly 50% reduction in bodily injury losses. 

At $1.25 Million per life, or $50 Million invested in 15,000 cabs is $3,333 per cab which could be used to enhance safety, not by spending more money, but by collecting money from the repurchase of illegal equipment. We are really looking at a benefit/benefit ratio, not a cost/benefit ratio.
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