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(Bloomberg)   Too few people die in air crashes to justify costly safety improvements, given FAA's formula of $6.2 million per life: "If a rule is expected to avert two deaths, it would be worthwhile to impose if it cost less than $12.4 million"   (bloomberg.com) divider line 59
    More: Strange, FAA, airline accidents, cargo ships, regulatory affairs, Fedex Corp., regional airliner, National Transportation Safety Board, UPS  
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1582 clicks; posted to Business » on 25 Jun 2012 at 7:51 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-25 07:52:50 PM  
Not strange, businesses do it routinely. You can put a price on life, it's done everyday. The only problem is that the price varies from business to business.
 
2012-06-25 07:55:02 PM  
I agree, not strange at all. There really is no other way to calculate it.
 
2012-06-25 07:59:53 PM  
So subby, at what point does the expense of a safety improvement become too much?

If you really wanted to save lives, you'd pour this money into improvements in auto safety, or require everyone wears a helmet when they drive a car.
 
2012-06-25 08:05:35 PM  

ShawnDoc: So subby, at what point does the expense of a safety improvement become too much?

If you really wanted to save lives, you'd pour this money into improvements in auto safety, or require everyone wears a helmet when they drive a car.


Making planes so safe that it becomes much more expensive to fly will actually cost lives because more people would be driving instead of flying. Auto travel is at least an order of magnitude more dangerous than flying.
 
2012-06-25 08:07:02 PM  

ShawnDoc: So subby, at what point does the expense of a safety improvement become too much?

If you really wanted to save lives, you'd pour this money into improvements in auto safety, or require everyone wears a helmet when they drive a car.


If everyone drove with a helmet on, lives would be saved.

Good idea!
 
2012-06-25 08:10:32 PM  
And just imagine all of the lives that will be saved when we use the pictures of the burned up interior in a non-smoking campaign.

/it probably isn't worth it in the US
//Zimbabwe or Pakistan? Yeah.
 
2012-06-25 08:13:08 PM  

Marine1: And just imagine all of the lives that will be saved when we use the pictures of the burned up interior in a non-smoking campaign.


It'd look too much like modern art.
 
2012-06-25 08:14:22 PM  
FTA:

The benefits of aviation rules are calculated primarily on how many deaths they may prevent, so the safest decade in modern airline history is making it harder to justify the cost of new requirements.

Because regulations are an end unto themselves...
 
2012-06-25 08:25:24 PM  

IoSaturnalia: ShawnDoc: So subby, at what point does the expense of a safety improvement become too much?

If you really wanted to save lives, you'd pour this money into improvements in auto safety, or require everyone wears a helmet when they drive a car.

Making planes so safe that it becomes much more expensive to fly will actually cost lives because more people would be driving instead of flying. Auto travel is at least an order of magnitude more dangerous than flying.


Drat, beat me to it. This was an actual math problem in the text I studied from.
 
2012-06-25 08:30:27 PM  
came for fight club reference....leaving disappointed
 
2012-06-25 08:32:16 PM  
A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
 
2012-06-25 08:33:10 PM  

jaggspb: came for fight club reference....leaving disappointed


I was looking for it. Sorry for the delay.
 
2012-06-25 08:33:13 PM  
I'll bite. I'd much rather die in an auto accident. At least in theory I had some level of control over my own fate. If I'm riding in cargo class of a large contraption that looks like a giant Tylenol and it crashes, all I can do is shiat my pants and kiss my ass good bye.

I'm not a frequent flyer, but have done plenty of flying in my life.

If I have no control, make sure I'm going to be as safe as possible. If you put me at the controls of the plane, well, fark it, let's ride.
 
2012-06-25 08:33:24 PM  

IoSaturnalia: ShawnDoc: So subby, at what point does the expense of a safety improvement become too much?

If you really wanted to save lives, you'd pour this money into improvements in auto safety, or require everyone wears a helmet when they drive a car.

Making planes so safe that it becomes much more expensive to fly will actually cost lives because more people would be driving instead of flying. Auto travel is at least an order of magnitude more dangerous than flying.


That, and until you eliminate the human AND mechanical elements from flight -- planes will continue to crash. To fly as high, and as fast, and as close as some of these commercial jets do it is simply inevitable that something catastrophic is going to happen.

The majority of accidents are HIGHLY preventable, but it is an impossibility to have a situation where absolutely no accidents occur.
 
2012-06-25 08:39:26 PM  

King Something: jaggspb: came for fight club reference....leaving disappointed

I was looking for it. Sorry for the delay.


judges ruling.....acceptable

/We are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world
 
2012-06-25 08:49:46 PM  

jaggspb: came for fight club reference....leaving disappointed


Really? I am disappointed with your disappointment.

Marine1: And just imagine all of the lives that will be saved when we use the pictures of the burned up interior in a non-smoking campaign.

Forgot this scene then?.

Here's where the infant's head went through the wind-shield. Three points.
The teenager's braces are still wrapped around the backseat ashtray. Might make a good anti-smoking ad.
The driver must have been huge, see where the fat burned to the seat? The polyester shirt? Very modern art
 
2012-06-25 08:54:14 PM  

Mrbogey: FTA:

The benefits of aviation rules are calculated primarily on how many deaths they may prevent, so the safest decade in modern airline history is making it harder to justify the cost of new requirements.

Because regulations are an end unto themselves...


Well, they're not; that's why the Obama administration expects regulations to have a positive cost-benefit. The catch is that because of this, UPS and Fedex pilots can be forced to work harder than passenger plane pilots because their cargo isn't worth as much. From the pilots' point of view this is a distinction without a difference, and it shouldn't come as a shock that they disagree with it.
 
2012-06-25 08:54:48 PM  
My job is to apply the formula.

3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-06-25 08:56:48 PM  
Hardened doors would have been nice. But it was just TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE, RIGHT?

Thanks, FFA and the airlines (other than El Al and some others who had hardened cockpit doors before 9-11). At least, if I want a free grope all I gotta do is head for the airport.
 
2012-06-25 09:00:34 PM  
I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.
 
2012-06-25 09:00:39 PM  
Wow, fark is sane today.
 
2012-06-25 09:00:47 PM  

ShawnDoc: So subby, at what point does the expense of a safety improvement become too much?

If you really wanted to save lives, you'd pour this money into improvements in auto safety, or require everyone wears a helmet when they drive a car. an entire country's economy into a war in Iraq because Saudis flew planes into a couple buildings and the guy who planned it was in Afghanistan but was really in Pakistan.

 
2012-06-25 09:07:11 PM  

simplicimus: Not strange, businesses do it routinely. You can put a price on life, it's done everyday. The only problem is that the price varies from business to business.


That works out pretty well.

pugetsoundblogs.com
 
2012-06-25 09:08:05 PM  

IoSaturnalia: Making planes so safe that it becomes much more expensive to fly will actually cost lives because more people would be driving instead of flying.


I would imagine that is taken into account. Perhaps not, but it seems foolish not to.
 
2012-06-25 09:10:43 PM  

BiffDangler: Wow, fark is sane today.


Trickle down Austrian economics gold buggery.

(happy now?)
 
2012-06-25 09:14:51 PM  

King Something: A, multiply by the probable rate of failure,


Until a similar accident happens again, it can be pretty tough to calculate that. When you take in variations in maintenance, a possible rare defect in manufacturing, abuse by the owner, whatever, one always has to be cautious taking a single data point and making assumptions.
 
2012-06-25 09:18:21 PM  
Following that math we could cut the TSA completely, lose 2 747s in single class high density layout and still come out ahead.
 
2012-06-25 09:39:09 PM  

IoSaturnalia: BiffDangler: Wow, fark is sane today.

Trickle down Austrian economics gold buggery.

(happy now?)


very
 
2012-06-25 09:53:45 PM  

Every time the plane banked too sharply on take-off or landing, I prayed for a crash, or a mid-air collision -- anything. No more haircuts. Nothing matters, not even bad breath.


Life insurance pays off triple if you die on a business trip.


impdb.org

 
2012-06-25 10:08:42 PM  

King Something: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.


What aircraft company did you say you worked for?
 
2012-06-25 10:19:31 PM  

skinink: Life insurance pays off triple if you die on a business trip.


It used to annoy the living shiat out of me when I taught insurance licensing classes and people would quote this. If you're in the course and scope of your duties at work, work comp pays a death claim that typically will be at least three times would the normal schlub is insured for.
 
2012-06-25 10:23:53 PM  

revrendjim: King Something: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.

What aircraft company did you say you worked for?


A major one
 
2012-06-25 10:26:59 PM  
Let's save some money by cutting back on the 99% of airport security that doesn't do shiat, and apply 1% of the savings to beefing up the safety of the flight itself. Shave off another 1% and make sure they have a backup plane and crew for when your retarded airline can't get its shiat together within three hours of the posted takeoff time, and we can just pocket the rest of the savings.
 
2012-06-25 11:01:25 PM  
Assuming 6.2 million per life is also what the airline industry is expect to pay out when they kill someone, that not all that bad. Even a shiatty little commuter plan (30 people) costs you 180 million when it goes down. Plus all the bad press and being forced to rebrand your airline (ValuJet) if you make a habit of it. A fully loaded 777-200 would run you into the billions depending on the configuration.
 
2012-06-25 11:28:14 PM  
What's funny about their "fuel tank" quote is that yes, regulations for the nitrogen inerting system on planes weren't implemented for some time, BUT, they FAA had mandatory checks of the wiring harnesses during service intervals of every aircraft. That alone mitigated the failure to a high degree, and the inerting system took care of the possibility that something may happen in flight between checks.

Besides, those things don't design themselves. By the time the FAA decides what the problem is, and how to even create a set of requirements for what a system does (probably about 2 years), then the companies like Boeing have to create an even larger set of requirements for each one of their aircraft as well as try to figure out how to power it, where to connect it, etc., because their planes weren't initially designed for these. So you are looking at just 4 years to design and certify those aspects from the manufacturers. Add in that another company will design and certify the actual inerting system itself, that's another 5 years. There will be some overlap, but from the time the FAA figures out what happened, you are looking at 8-10 years before the everyone in the chain has figured out how to mitigate the disaster, re-design parts of the plane to accomodate the system, and actually design the pumps, etc. Not to mention aerospace components often have lead times for things like springs and bolts measured in months (and sometimes years), not days or weeks. Heaven help you if you have a failure during cert that requires redesign and you have to change a part with a long lead time. It really adds up.

Then of course is how to retrofit the thousands of planes with these systems. Can't do those all at once....
 
2012-06-25 11:37:18 PM  

Mrbogey: ShawnDoc: So subby, at what point does the expense of a safety improvement become too much?

If you really wanted to save lives, you'd pour this money into improvements in auto safety, or require everyone wears a helmet when they drive a car.

If everyone drove with a helmet on, lives would be saved.

Good idea!


i've wondered about that for years. it would make kissing the windshield or smacking the door window so much more pleasant.
 
2012-06-26 12:18:08 AM  

scapes23: I'll bite. I'd much rather die in an auto accident. At least in theory I had some level of control over my own fate. If I'm riding in cargo class of a large contraption that looks like a giant Tylenol and it crashes, all I can do is shiat my pants and kiss my ass good bye.

I'm not a frequent flyer, but have done plenty of flying in my life.

If I have no control, make sure I'm going to be as safe as possible. If you put me at the controls of the plane, well, fark it, let's ride.


Might I suggest doing that in the other order? Unless you want to die with the taste of shiat on your lips.
 
2012-06-26 02:05:28 AM  
HELMETS ARE FOR NERDS. Are you a nerd?
 
2012-06-26 02:09:29 AM  
Oh, the FAA has finally been reauthorized? I waited for them to hire me with my CTO qualifications until I aged out of their hiring program, but they didn't get reauthorized before that.

My current revenge outlook is to supplant human ATC with a simple AI system. It wouldn't be too hard to get humans out of the control towers. If they won't hire a 32 year old I'll give them cause to get rid of everyone else.

/The radios are pure suck
//A $1k upgrade per airplane could digitize the whole system
 
2012-06-26 02:34:40 AM  

IoSaturnalia: ShawnDoc: So subby, at what point does the expense of a safety improvement become too much?

If you really wanted to save lives, you'd pour this money into improvements in auto safety, or require everyone wears a helmet when they drive a car.

Making planes so safe that it becomes much more expensive to fly will actually cost lives because more people would be driving instead of flying. Auto travel is at least an order of magnitude more dangerous than flying.


I wonder how the math works vis a via cargo airliners. On the one hand, a lot fewer lives are at stake. On the other hand, flying stuff around is a hella lot more expensive than loading it on a truck so we'd expect the shift to be smaller for each dollar of additional cost. On the other other hand, truckers are already undertrained and overtired so the marginal deaths from even a small shift from planes to trucks could be very hazardous. On the other other other hand, the flight statistics benefit from the small number of incidents - eventually one of those cargo planes will crash into a mall near the runway rather than the runway itself.

I'm not contradicting you; I honestly have no idea how the cost/benefit would work out. I'm just wondering.
 
2012-06-26 03:43:13 AM  
Why?
Newt "Serial Adulterer" Gingrich's Contract on America:
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995" (P.L. 104-4). as amended.

That's why.
 
2012-06-26 05:54:40 AM  
Every time I'm in a plane that experiences turbulence I look at the nearest attractive woman and say "If this plane goes down I want to spend my last minute with you".

/Not really
//Masturbation followed by firey death
 
2012-06-26 07:55:31 AM  

wildcardjack: Oh, the FAA has finally been reauthorized? I waited for them to hire me with my CTO qualifications until I aged out of their hiring program, but they didn't get reauthorized before that.

My current revenge outlook is to supplant human ATC with a simple AI system. It wouldn't be too hard to get humans out of the control towers. If they won't hire a 32 year old I'll give them cause to get rid of everyone else.

/The radios are pure suck
//A $1k upgrade per airplane could digitize the whole system


You do realize that complete replacement of the ATC system is happening as we speak, don't you? It's called NextGen.
 
2012-06-26 08:12:49 AM  

Boudica's War Tampon: Hardened doors would have been nice. But it was just TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE, RIGHT?


Yep, and I'd wager that it *STILL* is too expensive.

You won't see another 9/11-style attack because the passengers, knowing what happened back then, won't stand for it. Any group of people who attempt to hijack a plane, or to cause it to crash, are going to get a rapid and thorough beat-down by all of the able-bodied passengers.

The realization that if you do nothing, there is a good chance that you and all your fellow passengers, along with a large number of people on the ground, are going to die is a more sure protection against future 9/11-style attacks than even the most hardened cockpit door practical.
 
2012-06-26 08:29:01 AM  
And we celebrate capitalism... why, exactly?
 
2012-06-26 09:18:22 AM  

entitygm: And we celebrate capitalism... why, exactly?


The only way to be totally safe is to kill yourself now.
 
2012-06-26 09:45:35 AM  

dittybopper: You won't see another 9/11-style attack because the passengers, knowing what happened back then, won't stand for it.


Yep. That style of attack was effective for about half a day. Improving cockpit doors is a good thing, but now the passengers are in the loop.
 
2012-06-26 10:00:51 AM  

skinnycatullus: I would imagine that is taken into account. Perhaps not, but it seems foolish not to.


It indeed is taken into account in more ways than one. It's not just the cost of the passengers but the development, installation, operating and disposal costs of the improvement that are accounted for and weighed against the best estimate of the net benefit.

If I want to add a safety mechanism to a plane, I must figure out how much it costs to wedge it into an already cramped cabin or cockpit. I have to determine what the per-unit cost will be for each plane. Then I have to train the employees on its use, maintain it, fly its mass around the country or world for the life of the jet--costing fuel, and when it's time for the plane to go bye-bye, I have to make sure that we can just throw it away, or determine the environmental disposal regulations so that we don't release cadmium, mercury, arsenic or something else nasty into the wild.

After all those are accounted for, it had better be a damned good change to the aircraft I'm proposing, or else it will stay on the "neat idea" pile, being nothing more than fodder for hysterical and emotionally vulnerable grieving family members told by trial lawyers that "There was a technology that could have saved your loved ones life, but the airlines never implemented it, because all they care about are evil profits."
 
2012-06-26 10:14:29 AM  
Current odds of dying in a plane crash is 1 in 10.46 million.

Rhetorically, would you accept say odds of 1 in 3 million if tickets cost 1/3 of what they do now?

/I like those odds
 
2012-06-26 10:22:41 AM  
So the FAA believes I'm the six million dollar man? Awesome! I wanted to be that when I was nine, but I always thought NASA would be involved.
 
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