Background Since 1979, NHTSA has issued over 40 comprehensive evaluations of FMVSS or other vehicle safety programs or technologies. The last section of this document summarizes them. In general, each report estimated the benefits of a FMVSS (lives saved, injuries avoided, crashes avoided) by applying an effectiveness estimate to a baseline number of annual fatalities, injuries or crashes. The "baseline" was typically the year that the report was written. The estimates in the various reports are not directly comparable, and they are not strictly accurate today, because they involve many different, past baselines.
Objectives Estimate the lives saved by each of the individual FMVSS and vehicle safety technologies evaluated to date - and the total number of lives saved - in each individual calendar year since 1960. The process will take into account: (1) the variation of baseline fatalities from year to year; (2) even after a FMVSS takes effect, many pre-FMVSS vehicles remain on the road, and the benefits are achieved only on the newer, post-FMVSS vehicles; (3) Safety technologies are often introduced before a FMVSS takes effect. The procedure must be designed to avoid "double-counting" of benefits when the same life is "saved" by two different FMVSS. Project the future benefits when all vehicles on the road meet all the existing FMVSS. Provide a single document describing the FMVSS and safety programs evaluated by NHTSA, and summarizing the evaluation methods and findings.
Approach The actual fatality cases on FARS will be inflated to estimate the number of fatalities that would have occurred if none of the FMVSS or safety technologies had been implemented. For example, one actual fatality case on FARS of a person who used 3-point safety belts, given that safety belts reduce fatality risk by 45 percent, corresponds to 1.82 hypothetical fatalities if safety belts did not exist. Cases are inflated one step at a time, starting with the most recent applicable FMVSS (depending on the crash type, occupant's seat position, etc.) and working back to the earliest.
Status Completion expected in 2004 or 2005.