Chart: Comparative Automobile Deaths

While US government regulations dramatically improved automobile safety and reduced US highway deaths per million miles driven, in recent years we have fallen behind other industrial countries.

The US now lags behind many industrialized countries in road safety. Had we kept up with the other countries, 30 fewer people would die in highway accidents every day or 10,000 fewer each year.

Auto Deaths - NYT - 2017-11-20

Source: NYT 2017-11-20

Who Says Bureaucracy Doesn’t Add Value?

It’s a favorite trope of conservatives and libertarians to claim that government regulation only reduces productivity and increases cost of goods and services.  From the

Auto Car Crash 1960s

manufacturing firm’s point of view, this is true.

However, we live in a

republic of people, not firms, and that one-

sided point of view leaves out the other side of market failure situations, such as consumer safety.

The cost of dangerous automobiles and highways still existed back in the days before airbags and seatbelts, only the cost did not appear on the publicly held companies financial ledgers. Rather, those very real costs were transferred to the consumers, who died at a rate more than 8 times as high as before the imposition of “bureaucratic” safety standards.

Regulations did not make the cost of cars go up, rather they merely made the true costs of safe cars transparent.

Highway Deaths Rates 1946-2016 - NYT - 2017-11-09.jpeg

Source: NYTimes 11/7/17.