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Old 06-26-2008, 08:21 AM   #121
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cjking - very nice analysis. I agree that my sort did end up 'cherry picking' the best/worst, and while it might be saying *something* about the fact that big seemed better than small, there is apparently 'more to the story'. I'll try to follow up later with some comments, have to run now.

My reasoning for choosing 'driver deaths' is not that I m not concerned with others, but that I figured different vehicle types normally carry different numbers of passengers, and that would warp the results. Each car *should* have one driver!

What would be very informative, I think is if we had an overall safety rating for the vehicle along with the driver deaths per car sold. Then we could compare highly rated groups of small with highly rated groups of big. Since we are addressing a group concerned about safety, no use to even include the 'known bad' models of either size.

Is that info available for sorting?

thanks - ERD50
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:22 AM   #122
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Let's not mix correlation with causality. Saying that minivans are the safest is a bit misleading, consider those who drive the minivans are typically mothers (or parents for the PC among us) who carry children with them and are moer cautious. When you compare those who drive SUVs with the compact cars, however, I would say, on average, that some of the security felt by driving a larger SUV is taken out in more aggressive driving (gives the benefit of getting to work/getting home earlier), where slightly less aggressive driving takes place for the compact cars. This skews it slightly in favor of the compact cars, which I feel based on those statistics muddle a little bit of their relative danger. Personally, I still feel that if one worries about the slight (although tangible) difference in safety between cars and SUVs, they are overlooking the far greater difference in safety in driving and not driving, making some "defect" in safety greater than is required.

A statistic I have heard a lot is that even in the cities/areas of the countries with the highest murder rate, you are over eight times as likely to kill yourself, makes you think doesn't it.

My idea is kind of backed up with statistical evidence, of which I have none so you must trust my amateur words. When seatbelts were first required in America, the number of total accidents per mile driven and total miles driven went up drastically, while fatal accidents, I believe, about stayed the same or a statistically insignificant increase. What does this mean? Does it mean that adding seatbelts made people worse off? No, the security or feeling of safety that the seatbelts gave allowed everyone to drive more aggressively, which shouldn't be overlooked. The benefits gained by the (founded) belief of safety and less time for commute (driving faster) is one that is tangible and shouldn't be overlooked, even if people only look at the bad parts (of deaths, accidents, etc.)
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:24 AM   #123
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I still don't really get the concern about vehicle mass. Yes, having mass in front of you helps slow down obstacles. But the mass behind you tends to crush you in an accident.
The difference is that the vehicle carrying more mass preserves more momentum in a head-on collision, and thus experiences less decelerative force than the opposing vehicle. If an SUV and a Cobalt collide head-on at 65 mph, the instant after the collision, the SUV will still be traveling forward, while the Cobalt will have completely reversed direction, and will now be traveling backwards. That is, the SUV occupants have experienced a deceleration from 65 mph to 15 mph, a change of only 50 mph, while the Cobalt occupants have gone from 65 mph to -15 mph, a change of 80 mph, in the same time span. Thus, the Cobalt occupants will experience more trauma and will fare worse in the collision.

Of course, this type of accident (head-on, full speed) is extremely rare. But that doesn't stop people from envisioning this worst-case-scenario when selecting a behemoth SUV "for safety reasons." The much more likely scenario, statistically-speaking, is offset-frontal, at much lower speeds, such as when a car on a city street drifts across the centerline into oncoming traffic. In those cases, your mass counts for less, because both vehicles spin a little, but remain headed in their initial direction for the most part, thus preserving their momentum.

I personally find this logic offensive, because the people who select SUVs are valuing their own lives above the lives of others. It smacks of an attitude that they are more important, and thus deserve more safety in a collision. However, that additional safety comes at a direct cost to the poor sap they run into. Any lessening of their own injuries comes in direct proportion to worsening the injuries of the occupants of any smaller vehicle they collide with. They're basically "stealing" safety from people who can't afford such big vehicles. They'd rather that Joe Cobalt be completely crushed to death, rather than simply have a few broken bones, if it means that they get to walk away instead of suffering broken bones of their own. I find this rationale extremely selfish.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:44 AM   #124
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Let's not mix correlation with causality. Saying that minivans are the safest is a bit misleading, consider those who drive the minivans are typically mothers (or parents for the PC among us) who carry children with them and are moer cautious.
I wonder if it varies by state. The minivan drivers around here are some of the most aggressive jerks on the road. I had a lady pass me (and a bunch of drivers up the road) on the shoulder once while I was in the left lane... and I somewhat suspect that many of the male drivers step up the aggression a bit to compensate for the fact that they're driving a minivan.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:24 AM   #125
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Let's not piss off Jeff (Ultimate Cheapskate) -- at least until he has gotten hooked on the forum. He's a extremely funny and smart guy, and it will be a pleasure to have him around.

So everyone please be especially nice to him until he has about 300 posts.
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:02 AM   #126
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What would be very informative, I think is if we had an overall safety rating for the vehicle along with the driver deaths per car sold. Then we could compare highly rated groups of small with highly rated groups of big. Since we are addressing a group concerned about safety, no use to even include the 'known bad' models of either size.
It seems "good" means foreign, so if small means subcompact and large means err... large, we end up comparing a Honda Civic to a Toyota Avalon. The Civic at 84 driver deaths per million cars per year is nearest to the median for foreign subcompacts, the Avalon is the only foreign car in the large group and has 40 driver deaths per million cars per year.

In fact the Avalon is the safest car for total deaths in the whole table, though for own driver deaths two of the minivans beat it. But there seems to be a consensus developing that the minivans don't count anyway.

The Avalon salesman can boast that his car kills fewer than half as many people as a Civic each year.

The Civic salesman can point out that the difference in safety between the two is only worth $66 per year to a motorist who values his life at 1.5 million dollars, a difference that is likely to be negligible when set alongside any other criteria that are important to a potential purchaser choosing between the two.
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Old 06-26-2008, 11:28 AM   #127
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You know, I know we're not typical consumers here, but among my friends and acquaintances, I don't recall hearing "safe" as a modifier on the "why I bought this car" or "why I want that car" list. (unless it's my wife, of course, IHS crash scores are top on her list followed by reliability).

When I was a few years younger, it was "fast", "cool", "sporty", "car & driver said it was good", "looks sexy", "because it has a diesel", "it has a Duramax", "it'll tow my boat", etc. Now I'm a little older and gas is a little more expensive, the words are "reliable", "fuel efficient", "consumer reports said it was good", "because gas is cheaper than diesel", "it gets better gas mileage than my truck", etc.

Of the friends I've lost to vehicular accidents... three were driving on icy roads when they crossed into oncoming traffic (no real concept of a median on that stretch of highway) and hit a semi head-on. They were in a Geo Metro. No surviors but I'm not sure that any car would have seen them through. One was driving drunk on a motorcycle and got a cable to the neck. A car would have helped there... but it might have just helped him take out someone else instead of himself. Three coworkers were on their way to northern Wisconsin in an Altima when they crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a pickup truck. Pickup driver died on the scene. Rear passenger died on the scene. Front passenger survived with massive surgery (and was killed two years later in a snowmobile accident). Driver survived but nearly lost his hand... oh, and he tested below the legal limit by the time they took a blood sample because a lot of the blood wasn't his by the time they made it to the ER.

All of the injuries to the front occupants were directly mirrored in the crash test results. The Altima scored very low for front impact protection and they had the scars to prove it. The rear passenger ruptured his aorta on impact, they think. I guess your body will do weird things to you when physics makes you go from 70 to 0 in seconds along with all of that kinetic energy from several tons meeting at 120 mph.

I've also seen plenty of trucks and SUVs overturned on the side of the road. No idea on how well they fared, but I do know that most of them probably ended up there because they were overdriving for conditions.
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Old 06-26-2008, 12:50 PM   #128
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FWIW, my car was cheap to buy, cheap to repair, and had AC, automatic transmission and a working radio. Those are pretty much my only requirements. "Safe" isn't really too much of a factor, although current Saturn is the first I've had with an airbag.

I think that the high fatality rate on those pick-em-up-trucks might be skewed because the purchasing demographic: don't younger guys drive most of them?
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Old 06-26-2008, 01:26 PM   #129
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FWIW, my car was cheap to buy, cheap to repair, and had AC, automatic transmission and a working radio. Those are pretty much my only requirements. "Safe" isn't really too much of a factor, although current Saturn is the first I've had with an airbag.

I think that the high fatality rate on those pick-em-up-trucks might be skewed because the purchasing demographic: don't younger guys drive most of them?
I read somewhere that a large part of the pickup truck demographic is young white males who don't wear seat belts.

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Old 06-26-2008, 01:57 PM   #130
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I hope this forum didn't have such a topic or if it did then it was long ago.
The following quote of CaseInPoint from "The Ultimate Cheapskate" thread: http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...tml#post670362 prompted me to start this thread .

Sure, there's a point at which overspending becomes garish and wasteful, but there's also a point at which being super frugal can become downright bizarre.
I really wonder how many people actually choose to live so frugally, as oppose to being forced into it.

I'm curious whether you are frugal by choice or your decision to become a frugal person was influenced by someone else (e.g. your spouse, friend, etc. or someone close went through bankruptcy that prompted you to evaluate your early lavish living, etc. etc.).

When do you think frugality becomes bizarre? Any real life examples?

I think our family hasn't crossed the line between 'normal' frugality and 'bizarre' frugality, but I'm sure in some cases we're considered CHEAP by other people.

The latest example would be this. I'm expecting a boy in Aug. We've also got a 2.5y.o. girl. So, some colleagues at work asked me whether his nursery is ready. I said no, he'll spend almost a year in our bedroom (in DD's crib) and when he moves to his sister's room who'll be moving to a guest bedroom, we'll just hang some pictures maybe. Their reaction "Oh, but don't you need to paint it in blue or something? Isn't your DD's room pink now?" Me: "No, the walls are off white like we bought the house new. We never came around to paint". Should I feel guilty for not decorating the room in the cute colors and buying matching bedding/furniture because my DH and I feel fine as is? Maybe we're lucky we don't have people coming to our house or otherwise they'd make us really guilty and would definitely 'push' us to start shopping and changing our interior.

Another example. When DD passes her crib to her brother, she'll sleep on the thick full size mattress instead of a child's bed. After grandparents leave us (they'll come to help us out in Nov. for 3-4 months), DD will move to the guest bedroom that has a queen size bed.
Our rationale for doing this way is that our house won't become a motel with beds/mattresses stored in each and every room. Do you think this is bizarre because I don't see that way?

80-90% of children's clothes and toys are from garage sales or Goodwill. I know that in a year or two I'll shop more in regular stores for kids if I find nothing good in Goodwill or a consignment shop. It's time (and gas) consuming to drive to various garage sales and find good clothes.

What about you?




This is the way we raised our children (now grown) it didn't hurt them a bit. Children don't need as much stuff that people purchase for them.
Good for you, Go odwill has furnished and clothed us too!
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Old 06-26-2008, 06:55 PM   #131
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Next time you see a pickup truck look to see if the occupants are wearing seatbelts. I do not know what it is but pickup truck drivers and passengers seem to buckle about half as much as everybody else I see. My data may be skewed living here in bubba land.
Jeff
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:43 PM   #132
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Next time you see a pickup truck look to see if the occupants are wearing seatbelts. I do not know what it is but pickup truck drivers and passengers seem to buckle about half as much as everybody else I see. My data may be skewed living here in bubba land.
Jeff
Just an anecdote:
Many years ago (1974) I got into someone's car and buckled the seatbelt and she took that as an insult to her driving abilities.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:02 AM   #133
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Let's not piss off Jeff (Ultimate Cheapskate) -- at least until he has gotten hooked on the forum. He's a extremely funny and smart guy, and it will be a pleasure to have him around.

So everyone please be especially nice to him until he has about 300 posts.
Thanks TromboneAl, but fat chance of pissing me off ... my hide is as thick as it is cheap.
Speaking of which, did I mention that the other day someone questioned my credentials as both a cheapskate and an environmentalist (I'm proudly both) when they found out that I use disposable razors?
"What do you expect?" I said, "I hardly ever find the other kind in my neighbor's trash."

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Old 06-27-2008, 08:03 AM   #134
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I think Marquette put it best that safety is an objective value that when people look at certain subjective tests or feeligns of safety get overlooked. If you want to sleep at night knowing your family is riding in a car or something, safety is definitely a very tangible asset, very hard to overlook or discount. How much safety means to people, however, could be misinterpreted, overstated, irrational or unnecessary as long as people wear seatbelts and drive well.
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Even my two year old throught it was bad
Old 06-27-2008, 11:45 AM   #135
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Even my two year old throught it was bad

Two weeks ago, I went to visit my sister in another city. I took my 2 yr old with me. My wife and the newborn stayed home.

My family in general is pretty cheap and we were actually talking about it. We were walking to the grocery store and afterward walked little further to check out the neighbourhood.

It happened to be that the next day is garbage day. We walk by a fruit and vegtable market. They had lots of empty boxes. But what caught my eyes were barrel full of ripen fruits and vegatable that may not last the weekend. Nevertheless, they look good.

So here we are going throught the barrel full of fruits and beside us a bag lady was doing the same thing. The funniest thing happen when I was going through the garbage, my two year son kept repeating " no daddy, no daddy". It was one of those thing you had to hear for yourself. Of course this would never happen if my wife was with me.

Anyways, we left with three bags full of brocolli, tomotas, onion, and patatoes. Had some of it for supper the next day.
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:52 PM   #136
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Driving across the golden gate bridge today, I was struck at how unsafe the approach is... I rounded a corner and had to slam on the brakes because a lane was suddenly blocked off with pylons. They are currently considering multi-billion dollar public projects to fix these issues, as well as earthquake issues with the approach.

It is an interesting question what the value of a human life is from a public policy standpoint. E.g. if they can save say 1 life a year with a project that costs $10,000 a year, I betcha most people would vote for it. But if it costs a million to save a life, it gets more debatable, and at $100 million per life most people would probably say it's not worth it (except bleeding hearts who don't pay taxes).

But with automobile safety my fear isn't death, it's getting maimed so badly that I want to call Kevorkian. I'd rather lose everything I have and become a homeless vagrant than deal with what lots of car crash survivors deal with. So I can kind of get the perspective that "you can't put a price on it".
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Old 06-28-2008, 12:16 AM   #137
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A statistic I have heard a lot is that even in the cities/areas of the countries with the highest murder rate, you are over eight times as likely to kill yourself, makes you think doesn't it.

Unless living in a high murder district makes you over 5 times more likely to kill yourself than the background rate for the USA, this “statistic” is wrong. USA suicide rate overall is 11/100,000 people. There are 96 cities in the US with higher murder rates than this, some much higher.

For example, Compton CA at 67/100,000, Gary IN at 58, Birmingham AL at 44.

Similarly we sometimes get posts about how this or that country is no more murderous or even safer than the US. Well, if it's France or Iceland we are talking about, true enough. But usually it is some Latin, Caribbean, or African country. Let's have a look: The US is #24 on the list, just below Bulgaria and just above Armenia. USA is below all the Baltic States, no more than 1/3 that of Mexico, below Thailand, Costa Rica, Poland and Uruguay. The rate in the US is 4.28/100,000 people. This is only 8% of the #2 country, South Africa, and less yet when compared to the winner, Colombia. And this doesn’t account for the highly likely situation that US murder reporting is more complete than Colombia or South Africa, or Jamaica, or…

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

As the saying goes, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. It also appears that there are “statistics” fabricated out of whole cloth, with no relation whatsoever to actual data.

Ha
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Old 06-28-2008, 10:20 AM   #138
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It is an interesting question what the value of a human life is from a public policy standpoint. E.g. if they can save say 1 life a year with a project that costs $10,000 a year, I betcha most people would vote for it. But if it costs a million to save a life, it gets more debatable, and at $100 million per life most people would probably say it's not worth it (except bleeding hearts who don't pay taxes).
All very true, however I think there is a more beneficial way to look at it.

Rather than put them in isolation, and assign a value, we should simply prioritize - given $X, which actions can be taken to save the MOST lives? If we think of $ as a limited resource (as we should), it makes no sense to invest $1M to save a life, if we have not already invested the $1M on projects that would save 100, or 10, or even 2 lives. Work from the 'most bang for the buck' projects, until we run out of money, or feel we are hitting some level of diminishing returns.

But many people just get emotional about it, and won't look at it that way. In conversations, I've heard people say 'you can't put a price on a human life!'. OK, so I say:

Hmmm, did you hire a certified mechanic to thoroughly inspect your vehicle before you pulled out of your driveway today? No? Why not - you are risking your life and your family's life - you could have had a blow out, a brake failure, etc. But you won't spend the money/time for this simple act which could save a life?

Seems it is easy to for people to say you can't put a price on human life, until it is their pocket the money is coming out of.

-ERD50
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Old 06-28-2008, 08:46 PM   #139
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Another intersting thing to do is talk to highway patrol, or EMTs. See what they say about who does best in the many crashed they see- the guy in the old Beetle, or the guy in the SUV?

Ha
I agree. I've heard some people say they won't wear seat belts because they knew a guy who was thrown from his car during a wreck and lived because his car caught on fire...and he would have died if he was belted in.

It's amazing how people can pick one example that suits their need, then hang on to that on example in the face of thousands of contrary experiences.

Dave
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Old 06-28-2008, 08:53 PM   #140
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I agree. I've heard some people say they won't wear seat belts because they knew a guy who was thrown from his car during a wreck and lived because his car caught on fire...and he would have died if he was belted in.

It's amazing how people can pick one example that suits their need, then hang on to that on example in the face of thousands of contrary experiences.

Dave
Ah yes, the person who was saved by not wearing a seat belt; everybody's cousin's barber's plumber.
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