Dec 17, 2008

The myth of the Ford Pinto

This article raises some interesting points about the much maligned Ford Pinto. Statistically, it appears that the car was no more dangerous than other cars in the same class, which all suffered from design flaws that reduced safety (though different flaws than the Pinto's behind-the-axle gas tank). The value placed upon human life by Ford was provided by a government agency seeking comments on the potential impact of new safety regulations, not developed internally. And court rulings at the time recommended that firms use economic cost-benefit analysis to determine the appropriate balance between cost and safety. While Ford deserved criticism for an unsafe design, the reality of the situation is much more complicated than the oft-repeated story would lead you to believe.

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