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Cars manufacturers are responsible for their safe design. Yet adding safety features often costs money and may increase the price of the car making it less attractive to potential buyers. So the manufacturers constantly weigh up potential costs of implementing safety features against knowledge of potential risks to drivers, passengers and other road users.

But as well as the risks, the cost (including medical treatment, social benefits and lost production) of a road accident is high. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents the cost of a person seriously injured in a road crash is more than £100,000 and the cost of a person killed is more than £1 million. Every year road accidents are estimated to cost the UK more than £16 billion. 

People are not great at judging risks to themselves. See Will it happen to me? for more details.

Manufacturers may be responsible for safe car design but who is responsible for operating them safely?

Car safety features


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Car air bag diagram

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Value of lifeText equivalent:

Value of life

How much is a life worth? What if a guaranteed safety device cost £20,000, would people install it in their cars?
Control of technologyText equivalent:

Control of technology

Should manufacturers that create a potentially life saving technology be able to deny others the technical details to maintain their profits at a high level?


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  Transport safety