This week NTSB ordered all passenger vehicles to have back up cameras in 2018. Kids are killed each year as folks back up over them. This seems like a great idea to save all these kids, right?
NTSB estimate this will save 204 lives per year. Activist group Kids and Cars says the number is 104.
The estimated cost of this is $2.7 billion per year on a sales level of 16.6 million cars a year (or $160 per vehicle - sounds doable).
So, we are going to spend $26 million for each child's live we save.
This is the kind of resource allocation that prevents us from doing the things that we should really focus on: social safety nets, helping the build human capital through job training to climb the well being ladder.
In order to provide some context, the seat belt law is estimated to save approximately 13,000 lives per year. At a rough estimate, at about the same cost. Meaning this order costs $207,000 per life saved.
Accurate Reality: There is no free lunch. Yes, 100-200 children getting run over a year is a tragedy. So is drug abuse. So is poverty. If we continue to allow our government to order is to misallocate our resources, we will not have the resources available to spend on the things on which we need to spend.