Author Topic: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features  (Read 37171 times)

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #100 on: March 15, 2016, 10:36:11 AM »
 I would recommend books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile, Black Swan), as he talks extensively about risk, outcomes and probabilities.

If you think like an actuary no insurance is every going to be a rational decision. Safety features are insurance. You have to consider outcomes.

Comparing insurance on an iPhone to purchasing a car with better safety features makes no sense. If you approach risk management with the "iPhone insurance model" you probably wont buy a safer car. 30,000 people don't die every year from losing their iPhone. It is a loss that makes so little difference in your life it's crazy to insure. Insuring your house against fire does make sense, even though it is mathematically a losing proposition in aggregate. There is so much asymmetric downside risk to having your house burn down. A serious car crash is like a house burning down, not losing an iPhone. If the average risk/reward (expected premium to payout ratio) is the same, you buy the home insurance but not the iPhone insurance.

I think if you understand the nature of probabilistic outcomes you buy the safer car.

Ponder this. There is a reason certain safety features are now mandated. They save lives and as a society we feel they are cost effective enough to legislate them. I'm sure those already arguing for saving money at any cost of risk will just dismiss it as too much government regulation, nonsense, etc. Airbags, seat belts and car seats were all considered not worth it at some point.

Do what you want. Live your life how you want, but don't dismiss purchasing additional safety as irrational, because for most people at moderate income levels it is not.

TheLazyMan

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #101 on: March 15, 2016, 10:52:31 AM »
How anyone "feels" about it is irrelevant. People's personal experiences are irrelevant. Anecdotes are not data.

The difference in overall safety between a 10-year-old car and a brand-new one is very, very small. (And it's absolutely not that "37%" statistic some of you keep throwing around!) That is a statistical fact.

If you're so risk-averse that you want to spend thousands of dollars to be a tiny bit more safe, by all means, have at it. Just don't try to pretend you're acting rationally!

Here is a statistical fact:
ESC led to a 33% reduction in fatal crashes. "Based on all fatal crashes in the United States during 10 years, ESC was found to have reduced fatal crash involvement risk by 33 percent 20 percent for multiple-vehicle crashes and 49 percent for single-vehicle crashes. " http://www.iihs.org/frontend/iihs/documents/masterfiledocs.ashx?id=1740

The original poster is likely to reduce their risk by 33% if they upgrade to a vehicle with ESC even if that vehicle is 10 years old.


TheLazyMan

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #102 on: March 15, 2016, 11:08:15 AM »
@Jack It doesn't take that slippery of a road for these things to happen. I was in an accident myself from spinning out when it had barely started to rain. It's not practical to stop driving anytime it starts to sprinkle or any time there's a wet road.

But anyways, great job on actually getting some statistics! But it's more than just the % of occurence. It's also how bad the result could be.

If we were trying to get at the expectation value of this decision, the equation might be:

EV = Lowered rate of death for improved safety factor*Cost of life (adjusted by the # of people in the car and how often they are in the car)*(fudge factor for how likely you are to encounter the scenario vs. the rate of the average population)
+
EV = Lowered rate of disability for improved safety factor*Cost for lowered quality of life after the disability (adjusted by the # of people in the car and how often they are in the car)*Fudge factor

If this value is about the cost of the upgrade, probably worth it.

For ESC:

For EV (disability):

EV(disability) = 0.77%*$300k for 1 person*.5 (assumes you wear a seat belt at all times)= $1,150

I made up the 300k number -- couldn't find a good number for it. Maybe average pain and suffering awarded in a car accident settlement, if I could find such a thing.


For EV(death):

DOT has the value of a life around $6 million.
Using the same statistics as above, the rate of death is 2.08/100,000,000*10,000= .0208.
Divide that in half for ESC = 0.0104
EV(death) = 0.0104%*6 mil for 1 person*.5 (wear a seat belt) = $312

Total EV for ESC = $1462

Then add the EV for side airbags as well. Just to make it easy, assume the above x2.
Total EV of the upgrade is then $2,924.

If you spent the ~$3k, you wouldn't be able to use it for investing. The present value of the opportunity cost of investing the money for 10 years at 8% return, 3% inflation is ~$1,800.

So if you can make the upgrade for ~$1,100, not a bad idea. It's in the ballpark of a positive EV. If you weight all of the factors above differently, you'll be OK with spending more or less on the upgrade.

Let's not forget that these figures are per person per year.

If you typically have 4 people in the car and drive it for 10 years, multiply your figures times 40.

Jack

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #103 on: March 15, 2016, 11:09:30 AM »
Ponder this. There is a reason certain safety features are now mandated. They save lives and as a society we feel they are cost effective enough to legislate them. I'm sure those already arguing for saving money at any cost of risk will just dismiss it as too much government regulation, nonsense, etc. Airbags, seat belts and car seats were all considered not worth it at some point.

On the contrary: they only needed to be mandated in the first place because they failed the cost/benefit analysis and politicians, deciding based on their emotions instead of logic, decided to override the natural outcome. (Either that, or the politicians thought there was a Pinto-esque situation going on and didn't trust the auto industry's estimate of the cost.)

Either way, it's almost tautological that if the public thought the safety features were worth it then cars lacking them could not be profitably sold because nobody would want them, and regulation would not have been necessary.

How anyone "feels" about it is irrelevant. People's personal experiences are irrelevant. Anecdotes are not data.

The difference in overall safety between a 10-year-old car and a brand-new one is very, very small. (And it's absolutely not that "37%" statistic some of you keep throwing around!) That is a statistical fact.

If you're so risk-averse that you want to spend thousands of dollars to be a tiny bit more safe, by all means, have at it. Just don't try to pretend you're acting rationally!

Here is a statistical fact:
ESC led to a 33% reduction in fatal crashes. "Based on all fatal crashes in the United States during 10 years, ESC was found to have reduced fatal crash involvement risk by 33 percent 20 percent for multiple-vehicle crashes and 49 percent for single-vehicle crashes. " http://www.iihs.org/frontend/iihs/documents/masterfiledocs.ashx?id=1740

The original poster is likely to reduce their risk by 33% if they upgrade to a vehicle with ESC even if that vehicle is 10 years old.

So what? That was NEVER IN DISPUTE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

The issue is that 33% of a number that's really small to begin with is also a really small number. And your post does not even address that.

TheLazyMan

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #104 on: March 15, 2016, 11:23:34 AM »
Ponder this. There is a reason certain safety features are now mandated. They save lives and as a society we feel they are cost effective enough to legislate them. I'm sure those already arguing for saving money at any cost of risk will just dismiss it as too much government regulation, nonsense, etc. Airbags, seat belts and car seats were all considered not worth it at some point.

On the contrary: they only needed to be mandated in the first place because they failed the cost/benefit analysis and politicians, deciding based on their emotions instead of logic, decided to override the natural outcome. (Either that, or the politicians thought there was a Pinto-esque situation going on and didn't trust the auto industry's estimate of the cost.)

Either way, it's almost tautological that if the public thought the safety features were worth it then cars lacking them could not be profitably sold because nobody would want them, and regulation would not have been necessary.

How anyone "feels" about it is irrelevant. People's personal experiences are irrelevant. Anecdotes are not data.

The difference in overall safety between a 10-year-old car and a brand-new one is very, very small. (And it's absolutely not that "37%" statistic some of you keep throwing around!) That is a statistical fact.

If you're so risk-averse that you want to spend thousands of dollars to be a tiny bit more safe, by all means, have at it. Just don't try to pretend you're acting rationally!

Here is a statistical fact:
ESC led to a 33% reduction in fatal crashes. "Based on all fatal crashes in the United States during 10 years, ESC was found to have reduced fatal crash involvement risk by 33 percent 20 percent for multiple-vehicle crashes and 49 percent for single-vehicle crashes. " http://www.iihs.org/frontend/iihs/documents/masterfiledocs.ashx?id=1740

The original poster is likely to reduce their risk by 33% if they upgrade to a vehicle with ESC even if that vehicle is 10 years old.

So what? That was NEVER IN DISPUTE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

The issue is that 33% of a number that's really small to begin with is also a really small number. And your post does not even address that.

You're the one that disputed it!!!

ooeei

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #105 on: March 15, 2016, 11:28:44 AM »
I would recommend books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile, Black Swan), as he talks extensively about risk, outcomes and probabilities.

If you think like an actuary no insurance is every going to be a rational decision. Safety features are insurance. You have to consider outcomes.

Comparing insurance on an iPhone to purchasing a car with better safety features makes no sense. If you approach risk management with the "iPhone insurance model" you probably wont buy a safer car. 30,000 people don't die every year from losing their iPhone. It is a loss that makes so little difference in your life it's crazy to insure. Insuring your house against fire does make sense, even though it is mathematically a losing proposition in aggregate. There is so much asymmetric downside risk to having your house burn down. A serious car crash is like a house burning down, not losing an iPhone. If the average risk/reward (expected premium to payout ratio) is the same, you buy the home insurance but not the iPhone insurance.

I think if you understand the nature of probabilistic outcomes you buy the safer car.

Ponder this. There is a reason certain safety features are now mandated. They save lives and as a society we feel they are cost effective enough to legislate them. I'm sure those already arguing for saving money at any cost of risk will just dismiss it as too much government regulation, nonsense, etc. Airbags, seat belts and car seats were all considered not worth it at some point.

Do what you want. Live your life how you want, but don't dismiss purchasing additional safety as irrational, because for most people at moderate income levels it is not.

I guess one thing I hadn't considered is that you can value your life higher than the DOT estimate of $6,000,000 or whatever your insurance values you as.  In that case, you could make a rational argument for purchasing insurance or safety features that at first glance would seem wasteful.  Either that, or you can admit you're making an irrational choice and be done with it. 

The question I'd have for the path you suggest, is how much safer of a car should he buy?  There's typically not a "cap" on the amount you can spend on safety, so if we argue that the possible outcomes dictate the spending, we should be willing to spend a near limitless amount on preventing death or disability.  Should he spend $5000 more on a better car?  Why not $10,000, or $20,000, or $50,000?  The reason running the numbers helps is it tells you where to stop.

The vibe I get from most of the people in favor of buying a safer car is that they pick an arbitrary "safe enough" car that is middle of the road in current technology, and say that's the one to pick because it gives them the warm and fuzzies.  This strategy isn't necessarily bad, but it needs to be supported by more than "my cousin got in a bad wreck and would've been fine with side airbags" or "your life is worth more than a few thousand dollars" to convince me it's a rational decision. 

Assuming his current risk of dying in a car crash is .01% per year, and it's reduced by 1/3 to .0067% with these safety features, it means he's reducing his fatality risk by .0033%.  This means if we use the DOT $6 million value for his life, he should reasonably spend $198 ($6 million times .000033) per year for that reduction in risk.  Assuming he keeps the car for 10 years, he should be willing to spend around $1980 for that reduction. 

Adjust the numbers as you see fit for your situation, but you have to be able to quantify it to make a rational choice.  Either that, or as has been suggested multiple times, make the irrational choice because it helps you sleep at night.  That's totally fine, but just admit it for what it is.

Jack

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #106 on: March 15, 2016, 11:47:50 AM »
You're the one that disputed it!!!

Really? Quote the post where I denied that "ESC led to a 33% reduction in fatal crashes," please.

I guess one thing I hadn't considered is that you can value your life higher than the DOT estimate of $6,000,000 or whatever your insurance values you as.  In that case, you could make a rational argument for purchasing insurance or safety features that at first glance would seem wasteful.  Either that, or you can admit you're making an irrational choice and be done with it. 

The question I'd have for the path you suggest, is how much safer of a car should he buy?  There's typically not a "cap" on the amount you can spend on safety, so if we argue that the possible outcomes dictate the spending, we should be willing to spend a near limitless amount on preventing death or disability.  Should he spend $5000 more on a better car?  Why not $10,000, or $20,000, or $50,000?  The reason running the numbers helps is it tells you where to stop.

The vibe I get from most of the people in favor of buying a safer car is that they pick an arbitrary "safe enough" car that is middle of the road in current technology, and say that's the one to pick because it gives them the warm and fuzzies.  This strategy isn't necessarily bad, but it needs to be supported by more than "my cousin got in a bad wreck and would've been fine with side airbags" or "your life is worth more than a few thousand dollars" to convince me it's a rational decision. 

Exactly.

TheLazyMan

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #107 on: March 15, 2016, 11:51:43 AM »
The issue is that 33% of a number that's really small to begin with is also a really small number. And your post does not even address that.

Let's use some real figures.

In 2004 there were 31,750 vehicle occupant fatalities in the US.
In 2014 that had decreased to 21,102.
A decrease of 33.5%

US population in 2004: 292,800,000
US population in 2014: 318,900,000

Vehicle occupant fatalities per million people in 2004: 108.43
Vehicle occupant fatalities per million people in 2014: 66.17
A decrease of 39%

An individual risk in 2004 would be 0.0108%
An individual risk in 2014 would be 0.0066%
So the difference in risk would be .0042%

Your family risk would be this amount times the number of family members.  My family has 4 people.
.0042 * 4 = 0.0168%

And this is the yearly risk.  If we keep the car for 10 years, multiply by 10.
0.168%

Now if I value the life of myself, my spouse or my child at $6 million...
$6,000,000 * 0.168% = $10,080.  And that only considers fatalities.  Include horrible injuries and the number goes up.  Kick the risk down for using seatbelts and you're still looking at $5,040 for the expected value.

If it's just you alone cruising around in the car maybe it doesn't make financial sense to spring for the safety upgrades.  If you regularly carry other passengers the equation quickly changes.


TheLazyMan

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #108 on: March 15, 2016, 12:00:17 PM »
You're the one that disputed it!!!

Really? Quote the post where I denied that "ESC led to a 33% reduction in fatal crashes," please.

Quote from: Jack
The difference in overall safety between a 10-year-old car and a brand-new one is very, very small. (And it's absolutely not that "37%" statistic some of you keep throwing around!) That is a statistical fact.

My bad, you were just generally wrong, not quoting ESC specifically.  Considering the person who originally asked the question doesn't have ESC on their vehicles I assumed your comment  was relative to their situation.  My apologies.  However, the overall vehicle occupant fatality rate has dropped 39% over 10 years, so I'm not sure where your statistical facts are originating.

Jack

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #109 on: March 15, 2016, 12:06:50 PM »
Quote from: Jack
The difference in overall safety between a 10-year-old car and a brand-new one is very, very small.

So the difference in risk would be .0042%

See? WE AGREE!

Jack

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #110 on: March 15, 2016, 12:10:26 PM »
Your family risk would be this amount times the number of family members.  My family has 4 people.
.0042 * 4 = 0.0168%

And this is the yearly risk.  If we keep the car for 10 years, multiply by 10.
0.168%

Now if I value the life of myself, my spouse or my child at $6 million...
$6,000,000 * 0.168% = $10,080.  And that only considers fatalities.  Include horrible injuries and the number goes up.  Kick the risk down for using seatbelts and you're still looking at $5,040 for the expected value.

All of these are valid points, IF you actually have four people in the car every time you drive it and IF you actually keep the car for 10 years.

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #111 on: March 15, 2016, 12:21:43 PM »
I would recommend books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile, Black Swan), as he talks extensively about risk, outcomes and probabilities.

If you think like an actuary no insurance is every going to be a rational decision. Safety features are insurance. You have to consider outcomes.

Comparing insurance on an iPhone to purchasing a car with better safety features makes no sense. If you approach risk management with the "iPhone insurance model" you probably wont buy a safer car. 30,000 people don't die every year from losing their iPhone. It is a loss that makes so little difference in your life it's crazy to insure. Insuring your house against fire does make sense, even though it is mathematically a losing proposition in aggregate. There is so much asymmetric downside risk to having your house burn down. A serious car crash is like a house burning down, not losing an iPhone. If the average risk/reward (expected premium to payout ratio) is the same, you buy the home insurance but not the iPhone insurance.

I think if you understand the nature of probabilistic outcomes you buy the safer car.

Ponder this. There is a reason certain safety features are now mandated. They save lives and as a society we feel they are cost effective enough to legislate them. I'm sure those already arguing for saving money at any cost of risk will just dismiss it as too much government regulation, nonsense, etc. Airbags, seat belts and car seats were all considered not worth it at some point.

Do what you want. Live your life how you want, but don't dismiss purchasing additional safety as irrational, because for most people at moderate income levels it is not.

I guess one thing I hadn't considered is that you can value your life higher than the DOT estimate of $6,000,000 or whatever your insurance values you as.  In that case, you could make a rational argument for purchasing insurance or safety features that at first glance would seem wasteful.  Either that, or you can admit you're making an irrational choice and be done with it. 

The question I'd have for the path you suggest, is how much safer of a car should he buy?  There's typically not a "cap" on the amount you can spend on safety, so if we argue that the possible outcomes dictate the spending, we should be willing to spend a near limitless amount on preventing death or disability.  Should he spend $5000 more on a better car?  Why not $10,000, or $20,000, or $50,000?  The reason running the numbers helps is it tells you where to stop.

The vibe I get from most of the people in favor of buying a safer car is that they pick an arbitrary "safe enough" car that is middle of the road in current technology, and say that's the one to pick because it gives them the warm and fuzzies.  This strategy isn't necessarily bad, but it needs to be supported by more than "my cousin got in a bad wreck and would've been fine with side airbags" or "your life is worth more than a few thousand dollars" to convince me it's a rational decision. 

Assuming his current risk of dying in a car crash is .01% per year, and it's reduced by 1/3 to .0067% with these safety features, it means he's reducing his fatality risk by .0033%.  This means if we use the DOT $6 million value for his life, he should reasonably spend $198 ($6 million times .000033) per year for that reduction in risk.  Assuming he keeps the car for 10 years, he should be willing to spend around $1980 for that reduction. 

Adjust the numbers as you see fit for your situation, but you have to be able to quantify it to make a rational choice.  Either that, or as has been suggested multiple times, make the irrational choice because it helps you sleep at night.  That's totally fine, but just admit it for what it is.

I  think we are talking past one another here a bit, and I think the reason is that you are looking at averages, and I'm looking at outcomes. I think you are underestimating the difficulty in making 'rational' decisions when possible outcome range from tiny scratch to life altering disability to death. Maybe it is an irrational choice for your life, but not for me.

Let me ask you this. If there was a loaded gun that had a 0.01% change of shooting you and killing you or your family every year you used your front door, and you could pay 5k to lower that risk by 1/3 would you do it? I sure as hell would, in fact I would probably try to figure out how get in and out of my house a different way most of the time (ie: Not drive in the first place).

I think your question about where to stop is a good one, and worth some thought. For me it is side air bags, ABS, stability control and a car that performs well in crash tests (even though the methodology may be somewhat suspect). The amount of money to get a car that meets these criteria is so small in comparison to the negative effect of spending the money it is a completely rational decision for me. It is cheap insurance for the reduction in mortality and morbidity. Reducing the risk of black swans from my life is what matters at this point, not saving a few hundred dollars a year so I can get a cooler phone. At some point spending money on safety become immeasurable. My guess is there is not any measurable difference in spending 20,000 and 50,000, and therefore 50,000 would be wasteful. This and the extra 30,000 loss would have a negative impact on other areas of my life.

Your example of 200$/yr may be right "on average". Maybe this is rational from a population based policy decision, but clearly the people in the fatal or disabling accidents would have been much better off spending more money, and everyone else would have been better off spending less money. The probable is, you don't know which group you will be in. This is why is is 'rational' to 'overpay' for insurance.

ooeei

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #112 on: March 15, 2016, 12:49:14 PM »
I  think we are talking past one another here a bit, and I think the reason is that you are looking at averages, and I'm looking at outcomes. I think you are underestimating the difficulty in making 'rational' decisions when possible outcome range from tiny scratch to life altering disability to death. Maybe it is an irrational choice for your life, but not for me.

Let me ask you this. If there was a loaded gun that had a 0.01% change of shooting you and killing you or your family every year you used your front door, and you could pay 5k to lower that risk by 1/3 would you do it? I sure as hell would, in fact I would probably try to figure out how get in and out of my house a different way most of the time (ie: Not drive in the first place).

It's tough to imagine a situation where that would be the case.  Most likely I would, but I'd do everything else that was cheaper first.  Driving is very different from a loaded gun.  Driving carefully reduces your risk, driving less reduces your risk, wearing a seatbelt reduces your risk, etc etc.  There are countless other things besides buying safety features that will reduce your risk in a much bigger way for less money.  It's very different than the situation you proposed where the ONLY way to stop it is with money. 

Same question, but now you must pay $20,000 for that reduction in risk.  Would you do it?  $40,000?  $75,000?

Quote
I think your question about where to stop is a good one, and worth some thought. For me it is side air bags, ABS, stability control and a car that performs well in crash tests (even though the methodology may be somewhat suspect). The amount of money to get a car that meets these criteria is so small in comparison to the negative effect of spending the money it is a completely rational decision for me.

How small is it relative to the benefit you receive?  You say it's so small it's worth it, but do you know the actual cost and benefit, or is this just your gut feeling?

Quote
It is cheap insurance for the reduction in mortality and morbidity. Reducing the risk of black swans from my life is what matters at this point, not saving a few hundred dollars a year so I can get a cooler phone.

How about if it was saving an extra few thousand a year, and it allowed you to FIRE a year earlier than you otherwise would've, thus getting rid of those risks a year sooner?  What if it allowed you to move to a job closer to home that requires less commuting, or allowed you to work fewer hours and spend more time with your kids?  Money is limited, what is used on one thing can't be used on another.  Most people on this forum aren't saving their money to buy new phones.

Quote
At some point spending money on safety become immeasurable. My guess is there is not any measurable difference in spending 20,000 and 50,000, and therefore 50,000 would be wasteful. This and the extra 30,000 loss would have a negative impact on other areas of my life.

Your guess, so basically you have no information to support it.  I'm fairly certain car companies could design a safer car if you gave them an extra $30,000 budget and told them that's what you wanted.  In any case, my example was meant to show an extreme, and that there IS a point where $ wins out over safety.  Where that line is depends on your personal value of safety.  If you value your life at a figure >$6,000,000, adjust your figures accordingly. 

Quote
Your example of 200$/yr may be right "on average". Maybe this is rational from a population based policy decision, but clearly the people in the fatal or disabling accidents would have been much better off spending more money, and everyone else would have been better off spending less money. The probable is, you don't know which group you will be in. This is why is is 'rational' to 'overpay' for insurance.

It's rational if you value a feeling of security over optimization, yes.  But by that logic it's also "rational" to buy a brand new car every year that is at the top of the safety rankings, as safety is generally improved every year.  This year's top rated sedan is the Volvo S60 T5 according to KBB, and costs ~$30,000.


I think it's very interesting where our society chooses to put their fears.  The government mandates safety features, people go bonkers for them, and yet it's very normal in many places to commute 30+ miles to work every day.  I've never talked to anyone in the real world who thinks through the danger of driving when buying a house.  Yet cutting your distance to work in half, cuts your risk of dying in a car in half (generally).  That shows how insignificant that risk is to the average person.  Yet mention a safety upgrade that reduces their chances of dying in a crash by 12%, and they go nuts for it.  Is it a coincidence that these upgrades are tied to selling them stuff?  I haven't ever seen a government PSA about living close to work for safety reasons, why is that?
« Last Edit: March 15, 2016, 12:53:00 PM by ooeei »

tobitonic

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #113 on: March 15, 2016, 03:18:45 PM »
How does doing something for FREE that reduces probability in the future of you spending money, irrational?

Because rationality is not exclusively tied to the probability of whether something costs money or not. This is precisely what makes your argument cherrypicking (and hypocritcal); you're choosing a value that's important to you (i.e., not spending money on car safety features) and holding it as the standard for everyone else. But it isn't. It's just your personal value system (i.e., something subjective) that you're attempting to portray as something objective (i.e., rationality).

tobitonic

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #114 on: March 15, 2016, 03:24:26 PM »
It's rational if you value a feeling of security over optimization, yes. 

Once again, if you're wearing a seat belt, you're already choosing a feeling of security over optimization (of time), which by your definition, is irrational. It would be much faster to simply enter your car and start it, wouldn't it? Think of all the minutes you'd save each week! But perhaps you were talking about optimization of money. In that case, the most optimal thing to do, car-wise, would be not to own a car and walk everywhere (no, not even bike; that costs money in purchase and/or maintenance costs). So unless you're walking everywhere, 100% of the time, you're once again choosing something else over optimization. It doesn't matter whether you're driving to save time, for security, for pleasure, or any other reason--you're still being irrational.

Jack

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #115 on: March 15, 2016, 03:40:39 PM »
How does doing something for FREE that reduces probability in the future of you spending money, irrational?

Because rationality is not exclusively tied to the probability of whether something costs money or not. This is precisely what makes your argument cherrypicking (and hypocritcal); you're choosing a value that's important to you (i.e., not spending money on car safety features) and holding it as the standard for everyone else. But it isn't. It's just your personal value system (i.e., something subjective) that you're attempting to portray as something objective (i.e., rationality).

If money isn't a proxy for value, what is?

It's rational if you value a feeling of security over optimization, yes. 

Once again, if you're wearing a seat belt, you're already choosing a feeling of security over optimization (of time), which by your definition, is irrational. It would be much faster to simply enter your car and start it, wouldn't it? Think of all the minutes you'd save each week! But perhaps you were talking about optimization of money. In that case, the most optimal thing to do, car-wise, would be not to own a car and walk everywhere (no, not even bike; that costs money in purchase and/or maintenance costs). So unless you're walking everywhere, 100% of the time, you're once again choosing something else over optimization. It doesn't matter whether you're driving to save time, for security, for pleasure, or any other reason--you're still being irrational.

This is several kinds of fallacious:

1. You paint the decision as being all-or-nothing when the entire point is to carefully quantify the benefit and act accordingly. The time it takes to buckle a seat belt is sufficiently small as to make it worth it. It does not have to be zero! The benefit of having a car is sufficiently large as to make it worth driving in some cases, even if the cost is large enough to outweigh that benefit in other cases.

2. That kind of consideration is exactly the opposite of the bullshit absolutism you're trying to pretend ooeei and I have arguing for. That makes your statement a red herring fallacy too.

Optimization, by definition, means considering all factors against each other. What part of that don't you understand?!

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #116 on: March 15, 2016, 03:41:12 PM »
ooeii:

It is clear you do not agree with me nor do you see the point I am making (but failing). That is fine. There is probably nothing more I can say to convince you. I think your analysis is flawed and you are looking at risk in a way that I do not. I think my approach is rational, pragmatic and supported by data. It seems many agree with me.

A few things to consider:

1. In the instant before your death money has no value, and time has near infinite value.
2. If driving a less safe car somehow lowers risk in other ways (causes you to drive less, slower, etc.) then one has to take that into account. I agree with you on this point. This seems like a quite rare event to me. I drive when necessary and the quality of my car has little influence on this.
3. There is no 'safety feature' more effective than decreasing total transportation miles. I also agree. But this does not invalidate my points.
4. The loaded gun scenario was an intentionally ridiculous thought experiment to try and get you to understand asymmetric risk. Buying a safety upgrade, or buying a lower probability of a catastrophic outcome has a fixed downside (cost of the upgrade) but unlimited upside (avoidance of death). Yes, at some point it becomes silly, but probably further down the cost/mortality reduction curve than you think.
5. In my experience people that don't think paying for insurance or safety features are worth it do not appreciate the randomness of accidents. They feel they have more control than they do. This is not to say we can't mitigate some risk by behavior, but remember - most people think they are above average drivers...maybe you really are one of them ;)

Jack

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #117 on: March 15, 2016, 03:52:11 PM »
A few things to consider:

1. In the instant before your death money has no value, and time has near infinite value.

True, but irrelevant. If you think it makes sense to behave as if it's the instant before your death, then you should have as much fun as possible, as fast as possible, until you go broke.

tobitonic

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #118 on: March 15, 2016, 06:55:17 PM »
How does doing something for FREE that reduces probability in the future of you spending money, irrational?

Because rationality is not exclusively tied to the probability of whether something costs money or not. This is precisely what makes your argument cherrypicking (and hypocritcal); you're choosing a value that's important to you (i.e., not spending money on car safety features) and holding it as the standard for everyone else. But it isn't. It's just your personal value system (i.e., something subjective) that you're attempting to portray as something objective (i.e., rationality).

If money isn't a proxy for value, what is?

Being alive, for one. Being alive and not permanently disabled, for another. There are an infinite number of things that can be described as valuable; it depends completely on the person, which is why this entire argument is a subjective, and not an objective one, and why it's silly to go around calling people irrational for not agreeing with other people's values.

Quote from: Jack
It's rational if you value a feeling of security over optimization, yes. 

Once again, if you're wearing a seat belt, you're already choosing a feeling of security over optimization (of time), which by your definition, is irrational. It would be much faster to simply enter your car and start it, wouldn't it? Think of all the minutes you'd save each week! But perhaps you were talking about optimization of money. In that case, the most optimal thing to do, car-wise, would be not to own a car and walk everywhere (no, not even bike; that costs money in purchase and/or maintenance costs). So unless you're walking everywhere, 100% of the time, you're once again choosing something else over optimization. It doesn't matter whether you're driving to save time, for security, for pleasure, or any other reason--you're still being irrational.

This is several kinds of fallacious:

1. You paint the decision as being all-or-nothing when the entire point is to carefully quantify the benefit and act accordingly. The time it takes to buckle a seat belt is sufficiently small as to make it worth it. It does not have to be zero! The benefit of having a car is sufficiently large as to make it worth driving in some cases, even if the cost is large enough to outweigh that benefit in other cases.


Nope. That's you using your personal benchmarks for what's "sufficiently small" and "sufficiently large." Your values are subjective, no matter how hard you try to make them seem objective. There isn't an objective way to "quantify the benefit"; that's subjectivity, 100%.

Quote
Optimization, by definition, means considering all factors against each other. What part of that don't you understand?!

Nah, you're wrong here too. To optimize something means to make it as good or effective as possible, per the dictionary.

What you're doing is rationalization. You're trying to justify your subjective value system as an objective one. But it's not.

ooeei

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #119 on: March 16, 2016, 06:35:46 AM »
ooeii:

It is clear you do not agree with me nor do you see the point I am making (but failing). That is fine. There is probably nothing more I can say to convince you. I think your analysis is flawed and you are looking at risk in a way that I do not. I think my approach is rational, pragmatic and supported by data. It seems many agree with me.

A few things to consider:

1. In the instant before your death money has no value, and time has near infinite value.
2. If driving a less safe car somehow lowers risk in other ways (causes you to drive less, slower, etc.) then one has to take that into account. I agree with you on this point. This seems like a quite rare event to me. I drive when necessary and the quality of my car has little influence on this.
3. There is no 'safety feature' more effective than decreasing total transportation miles. I also agree. But this does not invalidate my points.
4. The loaded gun scenario was an intentionally ridiculous thought experiment to try and get you to understand asymmetric risk. Buying a safety upgrade, or buying a lower probability of a catastrophic outcome has a fixed downside (cost of the upgrade) but unlimited upside (avoidance of death). Yes, at some point it becomes silly, but probably further down the cost/mortality reduction curve than you think.
5. In my experience people that don't think paying for insurance or safety features are worth it do not appreciate the randomness of accidents. They feel they have more control than they do. This is not to say we can't mitigate some risk by behavior, but remember - most people think they are above average drivers...maybe you really are one of them ;)

I don't think you're understanding me either.  I'm perfectly fine with your point and your decision, I fully support it!  I also support looking at it in a pragmatic way with an eye on optimizing the cost/benefit ratio.  You simply give it a larger benefit than I or the DOT do, and are willing to pay more for that benefit.  You also seem to be saying that since death is such a big deal there should be no limit what we do to prevent it, then you pick an arbitrary limit with some safety features you like, you say at a point it becomes silly but don't quantify at what point.  That's a perfectly fine choice to make, but not particularly analytical.  Luckily for you we don't have to analyze and MONETARILY (I went ahead and added the word to clarify it for other posters who may get confused) optimize every decision.

It's rational if you value a feeling of security over optimization, yes. 

Once again, if you're wearing a seat belt, you're already choosing a feeling of security over optimization (of time), which by your definition, is irrational. It would be much faster to simply enter your car and start it, wouldn't it? Think of all the minutes you'd save each week! But perhaps you were talking about optimization of money. In that case, the most optimal thing to do, car-wise, would be not to own a car and walk everywhere (no, not even bike; that costs money in purchase and/or maintenance costs). So unless you're walking everywhere, 100% of the time, you're once again choosing something else over optimization. It doesn't matter whether you're driving to save time, for security, for pleasure, or any other reason--you're still being irrational.

Obviously it depends on your values.  I made the rather bold assumption that someone on this forum is interested in optimizing their spending.  Maybe that's not the case, and you drive around in a new $30,000-$50,000 car every year to make sure you're ahead of the safety curve, and would recommend everyone else do the same.  If you value that marginal increase in safety over the money, that is the rational choice for you to make.  Personally I think there is value in finding the most efficient path with regard to finances, as well as time and safety.  The OP mentioned the "safety being an expensive illusion" article (note the word "expensive"). When I posted some statistics very early in this thread, the OP said that's the kind of info he was looking for, so I continued with the analysis.  Perhaps I should've just said "IT'S YOUR LIFE, SPEND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO GET THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF SAFETY YOU FOOL!" instead.

If I literally sat still and spent a significant amount of time buckling my seatbelt and could make money or do something productive instead it might make sense not to wear it.  As is I don't get paid for being 2 seconds early to work.  For me putting on a seatbelt is done while I'm doing other things, like turning on the ignition or shifting into reverse/drive.  The marginal cost is simply the amount of calories it takes me to make the movement, which is not something I'm concerned with conserving at all, as there are plenty of other ways I could do it more effectively.


How does doing something for FREE that reduces probability in the future of you spending money, irrational?

Because rationality is not exclusively tied to the probability of whether something costs money or not. This is precisely what makes your argument cherrypicking (and hypocritcal); you're choosing a value that's important to you (i.e., not spending money on car safety features) and holding it as the standard for everyone else. But it isn't. It's just your personal value system (i.e., something subjective) that you're attempting to portray as something objective (i.e., rationality).

If money isn't a proxy for value, what is?

Being alive, for one. Being alive and not permanently disabled, for another. There are an infinite number of things that can be described as valuable; it depends completely on the person, which is why this entire argument is a subjective, and not an objective one, and why it's silly to go around calling people irrational for not agreeing with other people's values.

Quote from: Jack
It's rational if you value a feeling of security over optimization, yes. 

Once again, if you're wearing a seat belt, you're already choosing a feeling of security over optimization (of time), which by your definition, is irrational. It would be much faster to simply enter your car and start it, wouldn't it? Think of all the minutes you'd save each week! But perhaps you were talking about optimization of money. In that case, the most optimal thing to do, car-wise, would be not to own a car and walk everywhere (no, not even bike; that costs money in purchase and/or maintenance costs). So unless you're walking everywhere, 100% of the time, you're once again choosing something else over optimization. It doesn't matter whether you're driving to save time, for security, for pleasure, or any other reason--you're still being irrational.

This is several kinds of fallacious:

1. You paint the decision as being all-or-nothing when the entire point is to carefully quantify the benefit and act accordingly. The time it takes to buckle a seat belt is sufficiently small as to make it worth it. It does not have to be zero! The benefit of having a car is sufficiently large as to make it worth driving in some cases, even if the cost is large enough to outweigh that benefit in other cases.


Nope. That's you using your personal benchmarks for what's "sufficiently small" and "sufficiently large." Your values are subjective, no matter how hard you try to make them seem objective. There isn't an objective way to "quantify the benefit"; that's subjectivity, 100%.

Quote
Optimization, by definition, means considering all factors against each other. What part of that don't you understand?!

Nah, you're wrong here too. To optimize something means to make it as good or effective as possible, per the dictionary.

What you're doing is rationalization. You're trying to justify your subjective value system as an objective one. But it's not.

Dude, we get it.  You could make a rational argument for driving a tank if you had a super high value of safety over cost.  You could also make an argument for never leaving your home and covering your home in nerf foam.  The big crazy assumption we made was that the idea was to optimize the cost/benefit ratio, as that's what the OP implied he wanted to see.  If all you want to do is say "follow your heart" I'm not sure how that helps anyone.

Congratulations, you win.  We could all make an argument for whatever we want to.  I can rationally choose to drive 200mph through a city on a motorcycle if I value adrenaline over safety.  We assumed OP wanted to see the monetary cost vs benefit of having a few safety features, and ran some appropriate numbers.  Depending on his/your personal assumptions a few of the numbers may change, but the methodology is pretty darn close for the stated goal.  If you want to get into a big philosophical discussion about how you could have different assumptions behind the analysis then that's fine, but I don't care to be involved in it.

TheLazyMan

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #120 on: March 16, 2016, 10:20:46 AM »
Here's an interesting metric.

Occupant deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old
2004: 114 per million
2014: 44 per million

That's a decrease of 61%!!

Cars went from 114 to 53, a drop of 53%
Pickups went from 145 to 47, a drop of 68%
SUVs went from 103 to 24, a drop of 77%

Late model vehicles are vastly safer than they were in 2004.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/passenger-vehicles/2014

JLee

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #121 on: March 16, 2016, 10:28:41 AM »
Here's an interesting metric.

Occupant deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old
2004: 114 per million
2014: 44 per million

That's a decrease of 61%!!

Cars went from 114 to 53, a drop of 53%
Pickups went from 145 to 47, a drop of 68%
SUVs went from 103 to 24, a drop of 77%

Late model vehicles are vastly safer than they were in 2004.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/passenger-vehicles/2014

It may also be due to younger/newer drivers driving older vehicles.  I'd be curious to have an age/gender breakdown added to that mix.

TheLazyMan

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #122 on: March 16, 2016, 10:30:24 AM »
Here's an interesting metric.

Occupant deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old
2004: 114 per million
2014: 44 per million

That's a decrease of 61%!!

Cars went from 114 to 53, a drop of 53%
Pickups went from 145 to 47, a drop of 68%
SUVs went from 103 to 24, a drop of 77%

Late model vehicles are vastly safer than they were in 2004.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/passenger-vehicles/2014

It may also be due to younger/newer drivers driving older vehicles.  I'd be curious to have an age/gender breakdown added to that mix.

This is comparing the rate for new vehicles in 2004 to the new vehicles today.  Unless there were more young drivers in new vehicles in 2004 than there are now age shouldn't matter.

ketchup

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #123 on: March 16, 2016, 10:39:17 AM »
Here's an interesting metric.

Occupant deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old
2004: 114 per million
2014: 44 per million

That's a decrease of 61%!!

Cars went from 114 to 53, a drop of 53%
Pickups went from 145 to 47, a drop of 68%
SUVs went from 103 to 24, a drop of 77%

Late model vehicles are vastly safer than they were in 2004.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/passenger-vehicles/2014
Numbers taking into account miles driven (instead of number of vehicles) would be more useful I'd think.  Is that available?
Here's an interesting metric.

Occupant deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old
2004: 114 per million
2014: 44 per million

That's a decrease of 61%!!

Cars went from 114 to 53, a drop of 53%
Pickups went from 145 to 47, a drop of 68%
SUVs went from 103 to 24, a drop of 77%

Late model vehicles are vastly safer than they were in 2004.

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/passenger-vehicles/2014

It may also be due to younger/newer drivers driving older vehicles.  I'd be curious to have an age/gender breakdown added to that mix.
This is also true.  As "older" cars have become well, newer, and gradually more reliable and longer-lasting, that means fewer younger (and less experienced) people bothering to get newer cars, theoretically.  Also, "the economy and stuff" doing the same.  It's tricky to really make an apple to apples comparison.

I'm not saying the number is wrong, but perhaps overstated.  Too many variables to be conclusive.

TheLazyMan

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #124 on: March 16, 2016, 11:00:08 AM »
Numbers taking into account miles driven (instead of number of vehicles) would be more useful I'd think.  Is that available?

Not that I'm aware of.

This is also true.  As "older" cars have become well, newer, and gradually more reliable and longer-lasting, that means fewer younger (and less experienced) people bothering to get newer cars, theoretically.  Also, "the economy and stuff" doing the same.  It's tricky to really make an apple to apples comparison.

I'm not saying the number is wrong, but perhaps overstated.  Too many variables to be conclusive.

Maybe.  Though the numbers have been on a basically steady march downward since 1979, if there is an effect from the latest or earlier recessions it's not vastly apparent in the data. 

Vehicle miles per capita did decrease about 6-7% during that time so could account for some of the effect.
http://www.ssti.us/2014/02/vmt-drops-ninth-year-dots-taking-notice/


Guses

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #125 on: March 16, 2016, 11:07:01 AM »
Cut your driving distance in half -> Cut your risk of dying in half.

Cost: 0$, It will even SAVE you money!

I think that it is ridiculous to justify buying a slightly newer car saying it is safer when the very obvious choice for reducing risk is to drive less.

If you have a lower tolerance for risk related to driving, arrange your life so you don't have to drive as much. Win-Win.

If you disagree and want to drive the same amount regardless, you have accepted the inherent risks related to driving. I don't think a minuscule improvement in "safety" is worth several thousand dollars.

TheLazyMan

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #126 on: March 16, 2016, 11:11:05 AM »
I did find some data by age group, but it includes all cars not just new cars.

Passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 people by age group

Ages 16-19 went from 34.7 to 15.5 (55% decrease)
Ages 20-34 went from 26.9 to 18.3 (32% decrease)
Ages 35-69 went from 16.4 to 11.6 (29% decrease)
Ages 70+ went from 16.9 to 12 (29% decrease)

So there's been a decrease among all age groups.

tobitonic

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #127 on: March 16, 2016, 03:15:40 PM »
It's rational if you value a feeling of security over optimization, yes. 

Once again, if you're wearing a seat belt, you're already choosing a feeling of security over optimization (of time), which by your definition, is irrational. It would be much faster to simply enter your car and start it, wouldn't it? Think of all the minutes you'd save each week! But perhaps you were talking about optimization of money. In that case, the most optimal thing to do, car-wise, would be not to own a car and walk everywhere (no, not even bike; that costs money in purchase and/or maintenance costs). So unless you're walking everywhere, 100% of the time, you're once again choosing something else over optimization. It doesn't matter whether you're driving to save time, for security, for pleasure, or any other reason--you're still being irrational.

Obviously it depends on your values.

Bingo! And as a result, there isn't an objective benchmark for rationality here. This is pretty much what most people who've been arguing for spending a few grand extra for ESC and side airbags have been saying over and over again. This entire discussion does not depend on "rationality" or "irrationality." It completely depends on your personal value system.

Quote
The big crazy assumption we made was that the idea was to optimize the cost/benefit ratio, as that's what the OP implied he wanted to see. 

The problem with your big crazy assumption is that you're still making a lot of subjective assumptions, including the big one that it's not worth making any vehicular changes because that would require spending money, hence the monolithic focus on driver variables rather than on vehicle variables. That's not rational thinking; that's just good old fashioned rationalization that your personal, subjective value system is the most optimal and rational point for everyone. But it isn't.

As an aside, the OP hasn't been back to this thread since I pointed out on page one that s/he clearly agreed that safety upgrades were valuable, but didn't want to spend money on them.

Stachetastic

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #128 on: March 16, 2016, 06:53:53 PM »
As an aside, the OP hasn't been back to this thread since I pointed out on page one that s/he clearly agreed that safety upgrades were valuable, but didn't want to spend money on them.

I'm still here! I've been keeping up with all the responses, and I have appreciated every one of them. Obviously this is proving to be a very divisive topic.

You've definitely got me on one thing here. I don't enjoy spending money. That's a big reason why I like this community so much. Spending/upgrading/rewarding are not the default modes around these parts, unlike in most of my life with family, friends, and coworkers. I like questioning whether or not spending my money is the best use of my resources. And there are times, like this, that I like to see how others feel about the same topic. So you're right-- I don't WANT to spend my money on upgrading safety features. But having read through every response, I definitely find that it is something that is important to me and that I will be doing in the near future.

And I fully accept that to some mustachians, this is a completely irrational response. And I'm okay with that.

Daleth

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #129 on: March 16, 2016, 09:29:15 PM »
Sure, everyone could drive around in $200,000 tanks and be safe from crashes, but at some point the cost outweighs the benefit, even if it's human life.  If every car in the US cost $200,000 and prevented every single death in vehicle crashes (which it still probably wouldn't), that would cost an extra 253 million x $180,000 (I'm assuming a current car costs $20k).  That's an extra $45 trillion dollars in car costs, to save 33,000 lives per year. That's a value of a little over a billion dollars per life.

My point here isn't that money is worth more than people.  The point is, you can add safety to anything if money is no object, but eventually it doesn't make sense.

Sure, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about whether it makes sense to spend only $5000-$10,000 to reduce your risk of death and disability by something on the order of 30%-50%.

And nobody has mentioned what the numbers are on lesser degrees of serious injury. Would I spend $5k or $10k to avoid breaking several bones and spending, say, 3 weeks in the hospital and another 8 weeks recuperating? HELL YES I would! I have a life--a good marriage, kids to take care of, friends and family, things I enjoy doing, a job, etc. I would gladly spend that kind of money not to spend 2-3 months in pain, unable to do the things I enjoy, unable to take care of my kids, unable to work, etc. And when you factor in that the same $5-$10k could also spare any or all of my immediate family members the same unpleasant fate, I'm like, "Five or ten grand?! Hell yes! Sign us up!"

Even looking solely at the prospect of not being able to work for a couple of months, and even factoring in that unlike many people I have good disability insurance provided for free by my job (6 weeks at 100%, the rest starting at 80% and decreasing to 60%), being unable to work for 3 months would actually come out costing several grand in lost salary alone, not to mention the possible cost of hiring someone to help with the things I normally do around the house and/or having to spend a lot more on food (having restaurant food delivered, etc.) in order to spare my husband the stress of having to do twice as much housework/cooking/childcare on top of working, visiting me in the hospital, taking care of me at home, etc.

And remember your copay for the hospital stay! If you're an American with a high-deductible health plan, as many Mustachians (including me) are, not spending a couple of weeks in the hospital will pay for your massive safety increase (from 2004 Corolla to 2008-11 Subaru) right there.

We're not talking about $200k tanks. We're talking about $5-$10k.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 09:54:11 PM by Daleth »

Daleth

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #130 on: March 16, 2016, 09:45:22 PM »
Same question, but now you must pay $20,000 for that reduction in risk.  Would you do it?  $40,000?  $75,000?


Again... that's not what we're talking about. Getting a car that is significantly safer than the average 2004 car does not require anyone to spend $20k, $40k or $75k. You can get a used 2008-2011 car with safety features that 2004 cars didn't have, as well as top crash test results, for under $10k.

And even if you WANTED to spend an extra $20-$75k on your car, it wouldn't get you increased safety over, say, a $10k 2010 Subaru Outback, since there aren't any more safety features on a $100k Mercedes or any new car of any model than there are on the 2010 Outback. There haven't been any significant new safety features since then; all that's happened between, say, a 2008-11 car and a 2016 one is that more models now come with convenience features like MP3 players, built-in GPS, hybrid engines, etc.

Long story short, your argument is a total red herring. Not only is it not what we're talking about, it's not even possible to spend that much money just to get increased safety. If you spend your hypothetical extra $20k-$75k, you're also getting a bunch of bells and whistles such as a new car, a high-end brand, a V8 engine, heated leather seats, a Bose sound system, a moon roof, locks that recognize your fingerprints, and a ton of other crap that has nothing to do with safety.


« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 09:57:02 PM by Daleth »

ooeei

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #131 on: March 17, 2016, 06:54:55 AM »
Bingo! And as a result, there isn't an objective benchmark for rationality here. This is pretty much what most people who've been arguing for spending a few grand extra for ESC and side airbags have been saying over and over again. This entire discussion does not depend on "rationality" or "irrationality." It completely depends on your personal value system.

All right, I'll change my response to OP then.  OP, do whatever feels right.  There's no possible way to make a rational choice here, because everyone is a snowflake and no two people are alike. Danger is scary, so spend money to avoid it.  I have no idea how much you should spend, just feel it out.  Have you been to a hospital lately?  Scary stuff. 

Quote
The problem with your big crazy assumption is that you're still making a lot of subjective assumptions, including the big one that it's not worth making any vehicular changes because that would require spending money, hence the monolithic focus on driver variables rather than on vehicle variables. That's not rational thinking; that's just good old fashioned rationalization that your personal, subjective value system is the most optimal and rational point for everyone. But it isn't.

As an aside, the OP hasn't been back to this thread since I pointed out on page one that s/he clearly agreed that safety upgrades were valuable, but didn't want to spend money on them.

The assumption was that the benefit should outweigh the cost.  Maybe you don't care about that, I figured OP did.  We used the DOT "value of human life" as the benchmark, and pointed out that the OP could change the numbers if he felt the assumptions were different (it sounds like your numbers are different, so change them).  If you are concerned with the cost/benefit ratio, which it appears the OP is, it's irrational to choose safety features not based on an effective cost/benefit ratio.  I suppose I should have qualified "rational" with "is rational for someone who is interested in optimizing their cost/benefit ratio", but I assumed it was implied.  Oh well. 

Sure, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about whether it makes sense to spend only $5000-$10,000 to reduce your risk of death and disability by something on the order of 30%-50%.

As has been discussed many many times, it is not a reduction of your risk of death by 30-50%.  It is a reduction of your risk of death by .003-.005%.  It only reduces your risk IF you are in a fatal car wreck, which is an extremely unlikely event.  Someone without those features has a .010% chance of dying in a car wreck this year.  Someone with those features has a .007% chance.

My example was meant to show that you are not choosing based on the math and numbers, but on gut feeling.  You still haven't given me a cutoff where it's worth it, and a justification for it.  If you don't look at the rate of occurrence, it's ALWAYS going to make sense to spend more money on safety.  For some weird reason you decided $5,000-$10,000 makes sense and $20,000-30,000 doesn't, but you can't seem to explain why. 

Maybe Delta has safer airplanes than United, but tickets cost twice as much.  Should you fly Delta because the consequences of dying in a plane crash are terrible?  Probably not, because it's such a low risk activity the risk is still basically 0.

Quote
And nobody has mentioned what the numbers are on lesser degrees of serious injury. Would I spend $5k or $10k to avoid breaking several bones and spending, say, 3 weeks in the hospital and another 8 weeks recuperating? HELL YES I would! I have a life--a good marriage, kids to take care of, friends and family, things I enjoy doing, a job, etc. I would gladly spend that kind of money not to spend 2-3 months in pain, unable to do the things I enjoy, unable to take care of my kids, unable to work, etc. And when you factor in that the same $5-$10k could also spare any or all of my immediate family members the same unpleasant fate, I'm like, "Five or ten grand?! Hell yes! Sign us up!"

Even looking solely at the prospect of not being able to work for a couple of months, and even factoring in that unlike many people I have good disability insurance provided for free by my job (6 weeks at 100%, the rest starting at 80% and decreasing to 60%), being unable to work for 3 months would actually come out costing several grand in lost salary alone, not to mention the possible cost of hiring someone to help with the things I normally do around the house and/or having to spend a lot more on food (having restaurant food delivered, etc.) in order to spare my husband the stress of having to do twice as much housework/cooking/childcare on top of working, visiting me in the hospital, taking care of me at home, etc.

And remember your copay for the hospital stay! If you're an American with a high-deductible health plan, as many Mustachians (including me) are, not spending a couple of weeks in the hospital will pay for your massive safety increase (from 2004 Corolla to 2008-11 Subaru) right there.

We're not talking about $200k tanks. We're talking about $5-$10k.

Plenty of people mentioned injuries and disabilities earlier in the thread.  We get it, bad things happen. 

Maybe reading the article the OP mentioned: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/ will be a good exercise here.  It turns out MMM made the EXACT SAME decision we are!  He used gas prices instead of purchase prices, to justify driving his Scion instead of a Tahoe which reduces his risk of death in a car crash by 37%, almost EXACTLY the reduction we're talking about.  Sure, he's not the authority on everything/anything, but good lord you're 99.99% likely to survive driving the old car, and 99.993% likely to survive with the new one.  Do you buy the antibacterial soap with 99.993% germ killing power instead of 99.99% germ killing power, or do you not even look at such a small number like everybody else? Disclaimer:  I don't buy antibacterial soap, but as I'm finding out in this thread I'm quite the risk-taker.

It says something about our extreme levels of safety we have when everyone's up in arms about something that requires rounding to 3 decimal places to even be measured.

Yes, maybe OP decides his numbers are different than what we pointed out, but pretending we're some sort of crazy reckless risk takers for suggesting he not buy the new car is just ridiculous.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 07:09:28 AM by ooeei »

JordanOfGilead

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #132 on: March 17, 2016, 07:10:55 AM »
Based on the fact that you do home visits as your job, having a backup camera, even as an after-market add-on, protecting you and kids and pets wherever you are, would be prudent.  Especially in a newer car because the morons who design them have been making them harder and harder to see out of for years.

Given everything you have told us, Id agree youd be happier to upgrade your car to newer used car with the features like ABS brakes and add the backup camera.
The reason those "morons" have been "making cars harder and harder to see out of" is directly correlated to improved crash test safety ratings. Thicker a-pillars, higher dash, and higher doors are all design features that help distribute impact around the cabin in an impact, thus protecting occupants as much as possible. Adjusting your mirrors properly can compensate for this to a great degree. I have had two <5 year old cars with "terrible visibility" but was still able to drive with virtually no blind spots thanks to proper mirror adjustment.

There are also studies that show that cars with backup cameras are more likely to back into something than ones without because drivers tend to focus on the camera and don't actually look around the car.

Those things being said, my response to OP is that my daily driven car is a 1991 CRX with no airbags, no power steering, no abs, no back seat, and door-mounted seat belts so my first inclination is to say that spending a lot of money for safety is a waste. I also don't have any kids and would not let them ride in the CRX with me if I did. My wife drives a 98 civic and I have no safety concerns with that car at all.
Given that both of your cars are relatively new, I wouldn't recommend considering a replacement until one of them becomes unreliable.

neo von retorch

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #133 on: March 17, 2016, 07:17:01 AM »
I don't know the math terms, but everyone agrees on the actual statistics. "Deaths reduced by 37%" is the exact same as "Risk reduced by 0.03%" because they are looking at the same numbers in different ways. Buying "excessive" safety based on fear is what's being discussed. Can you afford to spend $5000-10000 right now in your financial journey? Hair on fire? $500,000 in the bank? The risk difference is very small, so you have to make an intelligent decision based on how much this will affect other aspects of your life. Yes, injuries and death suck, but it's really, really unlikely in both the 2004 cars and the 2014 cars. So try not to fixate on that risk because you have better things to do with your life, living your life, carefully allocating your money. But if you have a few hundred thousand in the bank, it's not even slightly unreasonable to just spend the money, because it will likely have almost zero negative impact on your life, but it does make you a little (or some may even argue, a lot) safer just in case.

Jack

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #134 on: March 17, 2016, 08:20:05 AM »
Sure, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about whether it makes sense to spend only $5000-$10,000 to reduce your risk of death and disability by something on the order of 30%-50%.

FSM on a pogo stick! You still don't understand probability!

It is 30%-50% conditioned upon an already-rare event, making the total reduction in risk several orders of magnitude lower. Repeating your bullshit has not, does not, and will not EVER make it fucking true!

And nobody has mentioned what the numbers are on lesser degrees of serious injury. Would I spend $5k or $10k to avoid breaking several bones and spending, say, 3 weeks in the hospital and another 8 weeks recuperating? HELL YES I would!

No shit, Sherlock! So would everybody else, solely because of disingenuous way you framed the question! It's yet another red herring: you say "avoid" as if it's guaranteed that both (a) the undesirable event is guaranteed, and (b) the avoidance of said event will be successful. But neither of those things are true.

Would you still spend $5k or $10K to reduce the chance by 1%? By 0.01%? By 0.000001%? By 0.0000000000000000000001%? Where does it end? How small would the reduction have to be for it to be no longer worth it to you?!

JLee

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #135 on: March 17, 2016, 08:45:52 AM »
Same question, but now you must pay $20,000 for that reduction in risk.  Would you do it?  $40,000?  $75,000?


Again... that's not what we're talking about. Getting a car that is significantly safer than the average 2004 car does not require anyone to spend $20k, $40k or $75k. You can get a used 2008-2011 car with safety features that 2004 cars didn't have, as well as top crash test results, for under $10k.

And even if you WANTED to spend an extra $20-$75k on your car, it wouldn't get you increased safety over, say, a $10k 2010 Subaru Outback, since there aren't any more safety features on a $100k Mercedes or any new car of any model than there are on the 2010 Outback. There haven't been any significant new safety features since then; all that's happened between, say, a 2008-11 car and a 2016 one is that more models now come with convenience features like MP3 players, built-in GPS, hybrid engines, etc.

Long story short, your argument is a total red herring. Not only is it not what we're talking about, it's not even possible to spend that much money just to get increased safety. If you spend your hypothetical extra $20k-$75k, you're also getting a bunch of bells and whistles such as a new car, a high-end brand, a V8 engine, heated leather seats, a Bose sound system, a moon roof, locks that recognize your fingerprints, and a ton of other crap that has nothing to do with safety.

Collision avoidance systems.

Side note, I have a turbocharged engine, heated leather seats, a Bose sound system, a moon roof, AWD, and HIDs (not to mention stability/traction control and side curtain airbags) on a car that I bought for $6k. That doesn't have to be expensive either. :P

dess1313

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #136 on: March 17, 2016, 09:09:28 AM »
Sure, everyone could drive around in $200,000 tanks and be safe from crashes, but at some point the cost outweighs the benefit, even if it's human life.  If every car in the US cost $200,000 and prevented every single death in vehicle crashes (which it still probably wouldn't), that would cost an extra 253 million x $180,000 (I'm assuming a current car costs $20k).  That's an extra $45 trillion dollars in car costs, to save 33,000 lives per year. That's a value of a little over a billion dollars per life.

My point here isn't that money is worth more than people.  The point is, you can add safety to anything if money is no object, but eventually it doesn't make sense.

Sure, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about whether it makes sense to spend only $5000-$10,000 to reduce your risk of death and disability by something on the order of 30%-50%.

And nobody has mentioned what the numbers are on lesser degrees of serious injury. Would I spend $5k or $10k to avoid breaking several bones and spending, say, 3 weeks in the hospital and another 8 weeks recuperating? HELL YES I would! I have a life--a good marriage, kids to take care of, friends and family, things I enjoy doing, a job, etc. I would gladly spend that kind of money not to spend 2-3 months in pain, unable to do the things I enjoy, unable to take care of my kids, unable to work, etc. And when you factor in that the same $5-$10k could also spare any or all of my immediate family members the same unpleasant fate, I'm like, "Five or ten grand?! Hell yes! Sign us up!"

Even looking solely at the prospect of not being able to work for a couple of months, and even factoring in that unlike many people I have good disability insurance provided for free by my job (6 weeks at 100%, the rest starting at 80% and decreasing to 60%), being unable to work for 3 months would actually come out costing several grand in lost salary alone, not to mention the possible cost of hiring someone to help with the things I normally do around the house and/or having to spend a lot more on food (having restaurant food delivered, etc.) in order to spare my husband the stress of having to do twice as much housework/cooking/childcare on top of working, visiting me in the hospital, taking care of me at home, etc.

And remember your copay for the hospital stay! If you're an American with a high-deductible health plan, as many Mustachians (including me) are, not spending a couple of weeks in the hospital will pay for your massive safety increase (from 2004 Corolla to 2008-11 Subaru) right there.

We're not talking about $200k tanks. We're talking about $5-$10k.

^^^^This.  All of this!!!

Not all of us are able to drive as little as MMM does. he's done a risk assessment based on his driving habits. I still have to drive 4+ days a week and about 20,000+kms a year.  I'm saving like hell but it will be a while before i can retire due to pension setup.  I have a lot of years of risk ahead of me because of that.  some may not. 

I never in any of my posts mentioned driving tanks, but i have mentioned choosing cars that rate high on the IIHS safety ratings.  Choosing between car A and car B, there might be a big difference in crash ratings, or safety features depending on what year it is and what model of car it was. 


one day these will be standard features on many vehicles and could save many lives and prevent many injuries. Eventually it filter down to more consumers at a lower price. i look forward to seeing less trauma in my hospital.  Yes the % rate of crashes is low, but it still happens every day to someone out there.
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/crash-avoidance-technologies/qanda

6. If the new technologies work as intended, how many crashes could they potentially prevent or mitigate?

If all passenger vehicles were equipped with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot detection and adaptive headlights, about 1 in 3 fatal crashes and 1 in 5 injury crashes could potentially be prevented or mitigated. 11 Those numbers are from an Institute analysis of 2004-2008 crash data and represent the best-case scenario, presuming the systems perform as advertised and drivers respond to them correctly. They reflect known limitations of crash avoidance systems available at the time of the study. However, they don't take into account potential reductions in effectiveness due to driver interactions with the systems or increased effectiveness due to enhanced system capabilities. Of all four features, current forward collision warning systems have the potential to prevent or mitigate the most crashes, and lane departure warning could come into play in the most fatal crashes.

Another Institute study looked at crash avoidance technologies in large trucks. Based on an analysis of 2004-2008 crashes, it found that blind spot detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and ESC together could prevent or mitigate as many as 28 percent of large truck crashes a year, including 1 out of 5 fatal ones. 12 Of the four technologies, blind spot detection is applicable to the largest number of crashes. ESC showed the most potential for fatal crashes, possibly preventing or mitigating 15 percent of fatal large truck crashes each year.

As crash avoidance technologies become increasingly common, more data will be available to determine how effective these systems really are in preventing or mitigating crashes.

neo von retorch

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #137 on: March 17, 2016, 09:16:28 AM »
Clearly it's worth a very large sum of money to move to Massachusetts if you live in South Carolina...
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview

Reduce your risk from 1.65 (per 100 million vehicle miles traveled) to just 0.57! 65% reduction! Much better than 37%. Who wouldn't spend $20,000 to do this?

JLee

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #138 on: March 17, 2016, 09:17:18 AM »
Clearly it's worth a very large sum of money to move to Massachusetts if you live in South Carolina...
http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/general-statistics/fatalityfacts/state-by-state-overview

Reduce your risk from 1.65 (per 100 million vehicle miles traveled) to just 0.57! 65% reduction! Much better than 37%. Who wouldn't spend $20,000 to do this?

That's pretty amazing, because MA drivers suck. :P

hedgefund10

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #139 on: March 18, 2016, 08:36:50 PM »
No. Everybody has to go sometime.  I felt safer in my 1988 S10 than my 2013 Honda Civic.

Daleth

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #140 on: March 21, 2016, 11:53:42 PM »
Sure, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about whether it makes sense to spend only $5000-$10,000 to reduce your risk of death and disability by something on the order of 30%-50%.

FSM on a pogo stick! You still don't understand probability!

It is 30%-50% conditioned upon an already-rare event, making the total reduction in risk several orders of magnitude lower. Repeating your bullshit has not, does not, and will not EVER make it fucking true!

Swearing does not make your point more convincing. Also, repeatedly hammering home your only real point (that the risk of death and disability is small in absolute terms) does not change the fact that these safety features reduce your risk of death or disability by 30-50%. It also in no way suggests that I or anyone else here "doesn't understand probability." Jack, tell me this: can you reduce a small risk by 30-50%? ........Answer: Yes you can. And as several people have pointed out, although the absolute numbers are small, it's the single most common cause of death and disability in healthy young adults.

Let's just jump to another example for the sake of illustration: giving birth at home vs. giving birth in the hospital. Assuming you have a low-risk baby (full term, not a multiple, not abnormally small [being abnormally small at full term is a risk factor for reasons we don't need to get into], with no congenital abnormalities), the risk that your baby will die or be brain damaged is small in absolute terms either way. However, a massive recent study with solid methodology (see links and explanation below) shows that giving birth at home with a midwife--in other words, planned home births, not ones that happen by accident because labor is too fast or whatever--is 2.5 times as likely to kill the baby as giving birth in the hospital. And when you break hospital births down by whether it's attended by a hospital midwife or a doctor--which matters because hospital midwives, like home birth midwives, serve far lower-risk mothers than doctors do--home births are more than four times more likely to kill the baby.

If we carry your attitude from this thread over to this new topic, it seems you would say, "Hell, give birth in your bedroom--the risk that the baby will die is really low at only 1.32/1000!" But most people expecting a baby would, if faced with these statistics, choose hospital birth because why the hell would they want to triple or quadruple the risk of killing their baby? The absolute numbers are small but every one of them is a real person and a real family tragedy.

Here's an overview of the study:
http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/02/new-cornell-study-shows-homebirth-has-4x-higher-death-rate-than-comparable-risk-hospital-birth.html

And the actual study:
http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378%2813%2901155-1/fulltext

Brief summary of the methodology: They defined low-risk babies as full term singletons weighing at least 2500g (5.5 pounds). Then they looked at EVERY low-risk baby born in the US over a three-year period (2007-09), or more than TEN MILLION babies. Then they broke those births down by place (home, birthing center or hospital) and attendant (midwife*, doctor, or for home births, "other"--that reflects the "surprise" home births and the ones where the mom decided to give birth without even a midwife). Then they looked at the rate at which babies in each group died. Note, by the way, that even this excellent methodology makes home births look slightly less dangerous and hospital-with-doctor births slightly more dangerous than they really are, because looking at where the baby was actually born means that home birth disasters where mom was transported to the hospital and gave birth there--which is always attended by a doctor and all too often results in a baby who is DOA--were counted as hospital-with-doctor births.

* In the US the midwives who attend home births are almost universally not real, university trained midwives (CNMs); that's part of the reason home births here are comparatively so dangerous.

And nobody has mentioned what the numbers are on lesser degrees of serious injury. Would I spend $5k or $10k to avoid breaking several bones and spending, say, 3 weeks in the hospital and another 8 weeks recuperating? HELL YES I would!

No shit, Sherlock! So would everybody else, solely because of disingenuous way you framed the question! It's yet another red herring: you say "avoid" as if it's guaranteed that both (a) the undesirable event is guaranteed, and (b) the avoidance of said event will be successful. But neither of those things are true.
Would you still spend $5k or $10K to reduce the chance by 1%? By 0.01%? By 0.000001%? By 0.0000000000000000000001%? Where does it end?

No, I fully understand that the risk of being seriously injured in a car accident is relatively low in absolute terms. However, the point you keep dodging is that $5000 or $10,000 is also relatively little money in absolute terms. It's not going to make or break my ability to FIRE, not by a very long shot. And I would gladly spend it to slash my risk of serious injury in half.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 11:59:24 PM by Daleth »

Daleth

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #141 on: March 21, 2016, 11:56:38 PM »
No. Everybody has to go sometime.  I felt safer in my 1988 S10 than my 2013 Honda Civic.

Um... feeling safe is not the same thing as being safe. Determining whether X is safer than Y is what statistics are for.

neo von retorch

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #142 on: March 22, 2016, 05:31:25 AM »
However, the point you keep dodging is that $5000 or $10,000 is also relatively little money in absolute terms. It's not going to make or break my ability to FIRE, not by a very long shot. And I would gladly spend it to slash my risk of serious injury in half.

Your bold statement is only true for some people!

For example, earn $34,000, have $100,000 in debt. By some miracle, you're saving $2000 / year. But... you increase your automotive spending by $2000 / year to upgrade from a 2004 to a 2014. Now you've pushed back any hope of retirement, because you're saving $0 / year. This person does not need to spend a "trivial amount of money" to increase their safety a "trivial amount." They have bigger fish to fry.

Jack

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #143 on: March 22, 2016, 09:18:46 AM »
If we carry your attitude from this thread over to this new topic, it seems you would say, "Hell, give birth in your bedroom--the risk that the baby will die is really low at only 1.32/1000!" But most people expecting a baby would, if faced with these statistics, choose hospital birth because why the hell would they want to triple or quadruple the risk of killing their baby? The absolute numbers are small but every one of them is a real person and a real family tragedy.

Here's an overview of the study:
http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/02/new-cornell-study-shows-homebirth-has-4x-higher-death-rate-than-comparable-risk-hospital-birth.html

And the actual study:
http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378%2813%2901155-1/fulltext

Brief summary of the methodology: They defined low-risk babies as full term singletons weighing at least 2500g (5.5 pounds). Then they looked at EVERY low-risk baby born in the US over a three-year period (2007-09), or more than TEN MILLION babies. Then they broke those births down by place (home, birthing center or hospital) and attendant (midwife*, doctor, or for home births, "other"--that reflects the "surprise" home births and the ones where the mom decided to give birth without even a midwife). Then they looked at the rate at which babies in each group died. Note, by the way, that even this excellent methodology makes home births look slightly less dangerous and hospital-with-doctor births slightly more dangerous than they really are, because looking at where the baby was actually born means that home birth disasters where mom was transported to the hospital and gave birth there--which is always attended by a doctor and all too often results in a baby who is DOA--were counted as hospital-with-doctor births.

* In the US the midwives who attend home births are almost universally not real, university trained midwives (CNMs); that's part of the reason home births here are comparatively so dangerous.

I'd do a cost/benefit analysis for that, too! (In fact, when at some point we have kids, my wife has said that she'd prefer not to have the baby in a hospital. Probably not at home either; more like someplace like a 'birthing center' and attended by a midwife or a doula or some other New-Age-y crap like that. I was actually thinking of saying "no" on the grounds that it would cost more than a hospital birth, but it turns out that either would probably max our out-of-pocket for that year anyway so it wouldn't really matter.)

And that last sentence brings me to another point: the situations aren't really comparable because the prevalence of insurance and/or Planned Parenthood etc. and/or the ability for indigent people to go to the ER and just default on the bill means that home birth vs. hospital birth isn't decided on a financial basis in the way picking which car to drive is.

JordanOfGilead

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #144 on: March 22, 2016, 02:31:35 PM »
FOOOOOAAAAAAMMMMMM

dogboyslim

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #145 on: March 22, 2016, 04:01:07 PM »
Someone is wrong on the internet!  I must reply!

I am amused by this discussion because I work with actuaries familiar with the private passenger auto market in the US.  According to them, the biggest determinant of crash risk while driving a vehicle is the driver's habits and the amount (hours/miles) the vehicle is driven.  When looking at insurance company discounts for those devices that monitor driving habits, the biggest discounts seem to be near 50% of premium.  That means that insurance losses are at least 50% lower for good drivers vs. bad drivers.  Since insurance losses include both the likelihood of a crash as well as the severity of the crash (in $ damages), I think you can see that driving habits are a big deal when it comes to risk.  The other discount to pay attention to is the discount given for vehicles with ESC, backup cameras etc.  I've never seen a discount larger than 10% in aggregate for all combined safety equipment.

So you have a choice.  Choice 1: Drive less.  When you do drive, slow down and pay attention.  This can reduce your crash risk by up to 50% (using insurance losses as a proxy for crash risk).  Cost for Choice 1: Free
Choice 2:  Buy a newer car and reduce your crash risk by up to 10%  Cost: Price of new car net of sale of old car.
Choice 3: Do both and reduce your crash risk by 55%.  Cost: Price of new car net of sale of old car.
Choice 4: Do nothing

As a side-note, the newest car driven by the actuaries in my group is a model year 2006.  Although one of them is looking to buy a brand new pickup truck.

dess1313

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #146 on: March 22, 2016, 08:16:20 PM »
However, the point you keep dodging is that $5000 or $10,000 is also relatively little money in absolute terms. It's not going to make or break my ability to FIRE, not by a very long shot. And I would gladly spend it to slash my risk of serious injury in half.

Your bold statement is only true for some people!

For example, earn $34,000, have $100,000 in debt. By some miracle, you're saving $2000 / year. But... you increase your automotive spending by $2000 / year to upgrade from a 2004 to a 2014. Now you've pushed back any hope of retirement, because you're saving $0 / year. This person does not need to spend a "trivial amount of money" to increase their safety a "trivial amount." They have bigger fish to fry.


Lets say someone drives into your 2004 car and its written off.  You have a choice of these cars both similar price.
2008 with good IIHS crash ratings
2010 with accepteble/poor crash ratings
What would you pick? I would pick the 2008 car with good ratings. 
You have then bought used, saved money AND have a safer car. 

Some NEW model cars still get crummy ratings.  Its buyer beware. 
I see so many people on here spend hours researching different investments, tax strategies, why wouldnt you spend some time researching how safe your potential new to you car is?
You may only need to move up a few years or to a different model/make of vehicle to be safer. 

dess1313

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #147 on: March 22, 2016, 08:23:28 PM »
No. Everybody has to go sometime.  I felt safer in my 1988 S10 than my 2013 Honda Civic.

Just because you feel does not mean you are.  The civics are actually rated good on many parts.  Just because its smaller and you are lower to the ground it can feel very differnent, as well as be harder to see trafic over obsticles.

http://http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/honda/civic-4-door-sedan/2013

madmax

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #148 on: March 22, 2016, 09:51:49 PM »
Quote
Side note, I have a turbocharged engine, heated leather seats, a Bose sound system, a moon roof, AWD, and HIDs (not to mention stability/traction control and side curtain airbags) on a car that I bought for $6k. That doesn't have to be expensive either. :P

Audi?

JLee

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Re: Is it worth upgrading car for more safety features
« Reply #149 on: March 23, 2016, 06:39:49 AM »
Quote
Side note, I have a turbocharged engine, heated leather seats, a Bose sound system, a moon roof, AWD, and HIDs (not to mention stability/traction control and side curtain airbags) on a car that I bought for $6k. That doesn't have to be expensive either. :P

Audi?
'06 Mazdaspeed6.