Cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness
As in other areas of road safety policy, socio-economic appraisals of vehicle safety measures need to be carried out to ensure that reasonable societal benefits can be derived from any additional manufacturing costs. In general, new safety design can be more easily assimilated into new car manufacturing costs at the original design stage rather than during subsequent stages of production
Two examples of vehicle safety measures where the benefits exceed the costs are the mandatory installation of seat belt reminders and daytime running lights (DRL) to cars. One analysis shows that the introduction of DRL in EU countries could lead to an annual reduction of 2,800 deaths. The calculation of the cost/benefit ratio (CBR) illustrates that the costs of DRL are considerably lower than the benefits (value 1:4.4). With even more favourable if special DRL-lamps equipped with economical bulbs were installed increasing the CBR to 1:6.4. An audible seat belt reminder is a device that gives an audible warning whenever a seat is occupied by an unrestrained occupant. Taking into account the injury and fatality reducing potential injuries, it was estimated that the value of benefits of mandating audible seat belt reminders for the front seats of cars in the EU amounts to 66,043 million Euro. The value of the costs amounts to 11,146 million Euro, giving a cost benefit ratio of 1:6 .
However, while the task of evaluating the costs and benefits of relatively simple systems is not difficult, new methodologies need to be devised to help estimate more accurately the cost of more complicated systems.