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19 minimized by deploying these nonrenewable resources in jurisdictions, while revenues in two other jurisdictions ex- pursuit of those countermeasures that will produce the great- ceeded program costs. It seems likely that both technologies, est reduction in highway loss. automated speed and red-light running, are now sufficiently A common phrase is: If I can save one life, it will all be developed such that a jurisdiction can implement either one worth it. Perhaps, but SHOs do not have this luxury. If they as revenue neutral and/or with excess revenue devoted to deploy a measure that saves one life rather than deploying a some worthwhile purpose such as education. measure that could have saved three lives, using the same Automated speed enforcement and red-light running have time and money, then they have, in effect, killed two people. one additional important feature that sets them apart from officer-dependent ticket writing. The fine is assessed against the vehicle, not against the driver. Thus, no drivers will have User Pay their drivers license suspended or insurance increased if their A large proportion of the cost, and--not incidentally--the vehicle is photographed violating the law. While this effect is benefit, for implementing highway safety initiatives is borne not necessarily desirable from a general deterrence point of by the client or the user of that initiative. Such costs are quan- view, it is an important distinction that has made such pro- tifiable, yet they rarely enter into consideration of whether to grams acceptable in some communities. implement a selected countermeasure. Parents, not the state, are the ones who most often purchase a child restraint, booster Direct Cost seat, or bike helmet. Convicted drunk drivers are the ones who most often pay for their alcohol assessment, rehabilita- Last, but not least, is the issue of direct cost. That is, coun- tion, or vehicle interlock. Only a small proportion of the costs termeasures that consume real dollars from highway safety, for both child safety and alcohol sanctioning programs are enforcement, or other budgets and need to be weighed against borne by the state. As such, these programs need only mar- benefits to justify the expenditures. Surprisingly, there are ginal effectiveness in order to be very cost effective. relatively few Proven countermeasures that fall into this cate- Another source of user pay is the fines that violators pay gory. With regard to the countermeasures discussed through- when convicted of speeding, red-light running, and other out the remainder of this chapter, cost estimates are drawn violations. Fines that are collected typically go to the state, from original documents that documented their effectiveness county, or municipal General Fund. Fees collected are often (and costs) and from experience with ongoing programs. used to support the court and the rest of the adjudication sys- These estimates are clearly imprecise and, as such, need to be tem. We do not have a tradition of counting General Fund viewed as only a starting point for planning purposes. Actual revenue as an offset for the cost of countermeasure imple- cost estimates for a given program implemented in a given mentation. In fact, our tradition is the opposite. We attempt state and in a given year have often come primarily from to build a wall between the revenue generated from ticket writ- the grants awarded by the states. The following subsections ing and the agency performing the service. We do not want the are intended only to outline costs that have been reported in public to feel that the police will profit from writing a ticket. the past, based on existing research reports. What is the benefit/cost ratio from writing tickets? It may be quite large, particularly if the ticket writing results in more School Pedestrian Training for Children revenue to the General Fund than the agency and adjudica- tion costs associated with the activity. Either way, it is not a Most of the available "programs in a box" that are oriented number that we generally include in our benefit/cost ratios, toward a particular grade level are low cost and easy to im- nor is it one that we are likely to include in such calculations plement. Per-student costs for school pedestrian training in the foreseeable future. materials range from less than one dollar to two dollars. Automated speed enforcement and red-light running Statewide coverage for a first-year K-6 program might cost cameras are a clear exception. Here, we want to know the $500,000 to $800,000 for a "typical" state with 600 fatalities. implementation and operation costs of the systems and we As was suggested earlier, estimated savings from such a want to know that the fines generated will cover these costs. program would be $450,046, suggesting that the effort would The expectation is that these systems will be at least revenue have a negative return on investment. However, most of the neutral. That is, they will generate a sufficient amount of fine costs outlined are first-year costs which, if amortized over revenue to cover their implementation and maintenance several years, would bring subsequent year costs down to a costs. If successful, and if they reduce crashes, their benefit/ much lower level. Moreover, the program could be targeted cost ratio will be very large. A Government Accountability to only those urban areas that have a substantial child pedes- Office (GAO) report (2003), found that photo enforcement trian safety problem, further reducing implementation costs program revenues were lower than program costs in three and providing the potential for a positive benefit/cost ratio.
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20 Booster Seat Promotions estimated savings from such a program would be $27,274,673 suggesting that the effort would have a benefit/cost return on It is likely that a comprehensive booster seat program investment of 27/1 to 45/1. That is, a return of $27 to $45 would involve a large number of entities and activities such would be expected from each dollar invested. as the following: a community coalition of agencies and orga- nizations to promote booster seat use; a citizen advisory group of parents and caregivers to provide feedback on campaign Mass Media Supporting messages and materials; development of strategies to ensure Alcohol Enforcement community involvement; community education; newspaper Eight mass media studies that showed positive effects were articles; organization and group newsletter articles; a booster reviewed by the Task Force on Community Preventive Ser- seat website; tip sheets, brochures, and flyers in multiple lan- vices, a group supported by the Centers for Disease Control guages; a telephone information line for parents; resource kits and Prevention (CDC). Cost information was provided for two for preschools and health care providers; radio and TV public of these mass media programs. Based on 1997 U.S. dollars, service announcements; educational programs to address a Victoria, Australia, campaign cost $403,174 per month in barriers to booster set use; discount booster seat coupons its first 23 months for advertisement development, support- ($10 off); car seat training program and in-services for health ing media, media placement, and concept research. Estimated care providers, child care providers and educators, law en- savings from medical costs, productivity losses, pain and suf- forcement, EMS personnel, and advocates. fering, and property damage were $8,324,532 per month, Direct costs for such an effort, for the typical 600-fatality with $3,214,096 of this being for averted medical costs. Thus, state, could range from a low of $300,000 (assuming substan- the benefit/cost ratio, as computed from this Australian pro- tial donated time and effort from cooperating agencies) to as gram, would be approximately 20/1. much as $800,000 (assuming paid media and coupons to low- In the United States, a six-month campaign was conducted income families). As indicated, estimated savings from such in Kansas. It used paid media (in Wichita) and public service a program would be $6,140,394 suggesting that the effort announcements (in Kansas City). Total costs were estimated would have a benefit/cost ratio (i.e., return on investment) to be $454,000, and $322,660 in these two cites, respectively. ranging from 8/1 to 20/1. That is, a return of $8 to $20 would Included were costs for planning and evaluation, message be expected from each dollar invested. production, and media scheduling. Total savings from averted costs of insurance administration, premature funerals, legal Sobriety Checkpoints and court expenses, medical payments, property damage, re- habilitation, and employers' losses were estimated at $3,431,305 The most recent documented, comprehensive statewide for the Wichita campaign, and $3,676,399 for Kansas City. sobriety checkpoint program was implemented in Connecticut The benefit/cost ratio, as computed from these numbers, in 2003 (Zwicker, Chaudhary, Maloney et al., 2007). The state would be approximately 8/1 for Wichita and 11/1 for Kansas used paid media in support of a statewide program of sobri- City. ety checkpoints. Costs for this program were approximately $1.25 per resident of the state. So, if a typical 600-fatality state had a population of 5 million people, then the program might Community Programs Including cost $6.25 million (about $7 million, adjusted for inflation). Age-Twenty-One Enforcement As computed earlier, estimated savings from such a program Massachusetts conducted comprehensive safety programs would be $107,569,717, resulting in a benefit/cost ratio of 15/1. in six communities beginning in 1988. Each community im- That is, a return of $15 would be expected from each dollar plemented age-21 minimum drinking age (MDA) enforcement invested. as part of a broader endeavor including efforts to reduce speeding and increase seat belt use. Costs in 1988 dollars were approximately $1 per person per year. Funds were used to pay Short, High-Visibility Belt Law Enforcement for a coordinator, added police enforcement, other program A comprehensive Click It or Ticket (CIOT) Program has activities, and the purchase of materials. In addition, each generally included paid media ($300,000 to $500,000); at least community included substantial voluntary efforts. What one law enforcement liaison to recruit enforcement agency would such a program cost today? It is estimated that participation ($100,000 per year, minimum); plus enforce- approximately $2 to $3 per person would be required and, as ment grants to police agencies (possibly $200,000 to $500,000 computed earlier, estimated savings from such a program for an average-size state). Total costs should range from would be nearly $10 million. Here, the costs of such an effort about $600,000 to just over $1 million. As computed earlier, would be roughly equal to the savings.
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21 States wishing to pursue such a comprehensive community ratio than the other two approaches. Although the warning effort should consider primarily targeting communities that letter produces the smallest reduction in crashes (4% versus have an identified under-age drinking problem. Such pro- 5% for group meetings and 8% for individual meetings) it grams are routinely implemented, for instance, in college can be implemented at the lowest cost. towns and vacation destinations frequented by young per- It is estimated that a warning letter program can be imple- sons. In this way, the program effort and resources are con- mented at a cost of approximately $2 per letter. The typical centrated in communities that would benefit most from an 600-fatality state might issue approximately 200,000 speeding effective program. tickets per year. Thus, if a warning letter was sent to every violator, the cost of the program would be approximately $400,000. The benefit (see Appendix B) is estimated at Individual Meetings, Group Meetings, $7,251,743 for a benefit/cost ratio of approximately 36/1. The and Warning Letters cost of a group meeting program is estimated at approximately Benefit/cost evaluations of individual meetings, group $30 per attendee, and the cost of an individual meeting is meetings, and warning letters have been reported in studies estimated at $100. Thus, neither of these two approaches would conducted by the California DMV. These studies suggested be particularly cost effective if applied to every speed violator. that all three approaches may be cost effective, although the Likely because of these higher costs, states have generally re- warning letter consistently provides a higher benefit/cost served these intensive interventions for multiple offenders.