Chapter Three. Cost Data, Estimates, and Analysis

In this chapter, we describe the specific steps we followed to estimate the implementation costs for each of the 14 selected interventions. To generate the estimates, we had to make a set of assumptions about how the intervention would be implemented. Where possible, we based these assumptions on those characteristics of the intervention from which the effectiveness estimates (reported in Chapter Four) are taken. In some cases, the academic literature did not describe the intervention in detail, so we used other sources (e.g., reports, interviews) to inform those assumptions.

Cost-Estimating Methodologies

To estimate the total costs of developing, implementing, and maintaining the different interventions over time, we used a six-step process:

  1. Develop a cost-estimating structure that included ten cost components.
  2. Gather state statistics for scaling.
  3. Review literature for data on the ten cost components.
  4. Develop regressions to estimate costs for states with missing data.
  5. Develop mean, minimum, and maximum cost inputs.
  6. Develop state-specific estimates of the process for implementing each intervention.

In this section, we describe how we implemented each step. This was an iterative rather than a linear process because we both adjusted the cost-estimating structure based on our review of the literature and reviewed the literature to determine appropriate costs.

Step 1. Develop the Cost-Estimating Structure

To estimate the annual costs of each intervention, we calculated ten cost components that are typically involved in developing, implementing, and maintaining an intervention:6

  • publicity
  • police or highway patrol time
  • court system
  • department of motor vehicles (DMV)
  • equipment
  • fines and fees
  • probation
  • education programs
  • vehicle impoundment
  • program management.

Costs associated with each intervention fall into four categories: (1) costs paid by the state (e.g., the cost of police time), (2) costs paid by individuals that result in revenue to the state or cities (e.g., fines and fees), (3) costs paid by offenders (e.g., alcohol interlocks) but not to the state, and (4) costs paid by individuals to comply with the law (e.g., motorcycle helmet purchase) but not paid to the state.

The cost-effectiveness analysis considers only the first two categories: (1) costs paid by the state and (2) costs paid by individuals that result in revenue to the state or cities (e.g., fines and fees). In fact, when individuals use the tool, they can do so two ways. They can only use the first cost category, thus excluding the costs paid by individuals to the state, so that the only revenues available to implement the interventions are those provided by the state directly. Or they can include the costs paid by individuals to the state, so that those revenues are available to offset the state’s implementation costs.

In some cases, interventions that generate revenues may cover not only their own costs but the costs of other interventions as well. However, for political or other reasons, the funds generated by the intervention may not be available for additional interventions to reduce motor vehicle–related injuries. In this case, the user would choose the analysis that excludes fines to generate the more appropriate analysis for his or her state.

The third and fourth categories, costs borne by offenders and costs to comply with the law, are not included in the tool’s calculations. They are, however, displayed in the portfolio analysis mode as “offender-borne costs” and “costs to comply with the law.” We include information on those costs in this report because a state might want to know the costs borne by individuals, whether to ensure that these costs do not impose undue burden on them or because they may be politically relevant.

We considered estimating the costs of passing legislation to put new countermeasures in place but determined that there was limited information on the cost of passing legislation and that legislative budgets are not well correlated with amount of legislation produced. Therefore, we did not include these costs.

For some interventions, the number of offenders and other factors may change over time. This cost model calculates annual costs based on the number of offenders in 2010; we did not have sufficient evidence to model trends in offenses over time for individual interventions.

In this section, we define each cost component.

Publicity

This component is the cost of publicity used to announce, explain, or address specific interventions (e.g., communication campaigns about seat belt use). Costs associated with these strategies can include advertising or outreach strategies in printed media (magazines and newspapers), outdoor media (billboards), radio, and television announcements. This includes creation of the media in the campaign, as well as paying advertising providers. We used information from the Click It or Ticket (CIOT) campaign (Solomon, Gilbert, et al., 2007; Solomon, Preusser, et al., 2009) and other public health media campaigns to estimate the effort associated with communications to licensed drivers and occupants.7 This campaign exhibited both high reach and frequency, which are necessary for campaign success.

Unfortunately, there is no single definition of a successful communication campaign, but, for the purposes of our model, we feel that CIOT is a valuable example. Publicity estimates in the tool are then adjusted for smaller populations, depending on the intervention. This is an area in which states actually have a substantial amount of flexibility in the amount that they spend for campaigns, so our estimates are based on the experience of a prior vehicle safety campaign. In addition, it is possible that states will try various mixes of media that are not addressed in the literature, including social media and Internet advertising. Because publicity dollars for public health have been quite stable for the interventions for which we had data, we assume that any dollars spent on social media would be spent in lieu of dollars for another form of media rather than an additional outlay. It is likely that earned media related to these interventions may also have an Internet or social media presence as local news stations post stories online.

Publicity costs are applied to interventions for which the literature discusses the use of paid publicity. Some interventions rely on either unpaid publicity or no publicity, and we therefore do not include publicity costs for these interventions. Including publicity costs only where they appear in the effectiveness literature is intended to better align our estimates of program costs with the existing data on costs and the anticipated benefits of the intervention.

Media costs vary widely by state, but we were unable to find a consistent source for costs by state. Therefore, the costs in the tool may not be the appropriate level of spending for each state.

Police or Highway Patrol Time

Many interventions require active police enforcement. Examples of these include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and vehicle impoundment. Police time and resources are spent in enforcement strategies. We estimated the time costs for these police enforcement strategies by describing the usual procedures necessary to enforce a specific intervention (Cooper, Chira-Chavala, and Gillen, 2000). As an example, detailed vehicle impoundment procedures are explained in Chapter Five. All the effort invested by police requires the time of a certain number of officers of different ranks (and hence wages). Because detailed studies are not readily available on police pay, we used the mean wage for nonsupervisory police officers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For each relevant intervention, we estimated the number of police officers typically involved in each procedure, as well as the time invested to carry out an enforcement strategy from beginning to end. Then we took the total number of hours estimated and multiplied it by an hourly compensation figure (as shown in Table 3.1), which is equal to the locality-specific hourly salary (as estimated by BLS) plus fringe benefits (also estimated based on BLS statistics).

 

Table 3.1 Hourly Wages Plus Benefits of Government Office Workers and Police, 2011 ($)
State Government Office Workers Police Probation Officers
Alabama 22.48 29.40 25.85
Alaska 28.94 49.56 34.65
Arizona 24.94 43.49 22.13
Arkansas 21.24 26.96 26.10
California 28.06 57.92 18.14
Colorado 26.25 44.68 17.25
Connecticut 29.16 45.83 27.05
Delaware 25.95 44.65 18.43
District of Columbia 33.87 49.72 30.19
Florida 23.04 41.38 18.53
Georgia 24.04 29.22 28.96
Hawaii 25.99 36.33 18.61
Idaho 22.09 33.52 18.28
Illinois 25.47 48.33 20.53
Indiana 23.07 33.07 18.87
Iowa 23.03 35.87 24.81
Kansas 22.60 31.61 26.04
Kentucky 22.37 29.50 29.29
Louisiana 22.00 28.69 15.45
Maine 23.18 29.91 17.68
Maryland 27.02 41.53 18.29
Massachusetts 28.82 40.87 18.27
Michigan 24.27 38.67 29.12
Minnesota 25.86 41.15 35.43
Mississippi 21.02 22.84 31.80
Missouri 23.30 31.07 18.83
State Government Office Workers Police Probation Officers
Montana 22.00 33.61 29.55
Nebraska 22.42 34.40 18.50
Nevada 24.86 48.94 20.84
New Hampshire 24.95 35.96 22.28
New Jersey 27.06 60.26 17.38
New Mexico 22.66 32.58 23.64
New York 27.66 46.18 22.58
North Carolina 23.91 30.23 n/a
North Dakota 22.31 33.88 n/a
Ohio 23.91 39.86 18.34
Oklahoma 21.97 28.33 18.02
Oregon 25.11 43.44 17.21
Pennsylvania 25.06 41.09 18.96
Rhode Island 26.82 38.93 n/a
South Carolina 22.92 28.53 n/a
South Dakota 20.17 30.31 20.56
Tennessee 23.06 30.58 25.43
Texas 24.19 37.48 14.48
Utah 22.55 33.50 24.22
Vermont 24.51 32.54 25.85
Virginia 25.28 37.60 34.65
Washington 27.28 48.93 22.13
West Virginia 20.86 26.65 26.10
Wisconsin 23.87 38.32 18.14
Wyoming 23.35 36.65 17.25
       

SOURCE: RAND calculations based on BLS wage data (BLS, 2012).
NOTE: n/a = not available; for these states, we used the average wage of $24.22 in relevant calculations. Benefit percentage calculated from a table of employer costs for employee compensation for state and local government. BLS data were downloaded in September 2011, and benefits are 34.8 percent of state and local employer costs. This correlated with BLS series ID CMU3030000000000D and CMU3030000000000P for all workers and total benefits.

 

It is common for interventions to be over short periods and be funded with grant funding. As a result, many police involved in interventions are being paid overtime. The literature did not provide a percentage of time that police officers would receive overtime, so, for this model, we assume that they are making overtime 50 percent of the time. For those jurisdictions that plan to use overtime exclusively, our model will slightly underestimate costs; for those that will use existing resources, the model will slightly overestimate.

Data are shown in Table 3.1 in 2011 dollars because 2011 was the most recent BLS estimate available at the time we developed the cost estimate. Our cost model applied consumer price index inflation to all dollar values from prior years. All cost-model estimates are in 2012 dollars.

Court System

Some of the DWI-related interventions require offenders to interact with the court system.8 This requirement means additional time of judges, court personnel, and prosecutors. To estimate these costs, we relied on data provided under the statutes of different states where specific requirements for court procedures are provided. In addition, we also consulted the websites of specific state court systems to understand the entire administrative process that people must follow for each specific intervention. In doing so, we searched for information on prosecution costs (including personnel involved in processing offenders and approximate time spent for an average procedure). To these, we added all administrative and court fees identified for a typical state. Because statutes and laws vary by state, we selected an average cost based on a search of several state-specific values. We applied this average cost to all states. When state decisionmakers use the tool, they may want to adjust the estimates to reflect their states’ current costs, fines, and fees.

Average legal costs borne by offenders are also listed but excluded from the overall calculation of intervention costs, as explained above.

Department of Motor Vehicles

We also collected key data from DMVs in a variety of states. This information, in addition to the court information, is necessary to understand state costs for administrative procedures that are involved in implementing an intervention—namely, in-person license renewal, reinstating drivers’ licenses and license plates after DWI charges.

Equipment

Equipment costs include acquisition, replacement, and maintenance costs paid by individuals and by states. In determining the costs to residents of complying with the law, we considered the cost of purchasing such items as bicycle and motorcycle helmets. In determining the costs to the state, the equipment costs may be one-time or longer-term, such as passive alcohol sensors for DWI interventions. For equipment needs for automated enforcement systems, we gathered costs of acquisition, maintenance, and replacement of equipment from published sources (N. Smith, 2012; Word, 2012; Fell, Lacey, and Voas, 2004; Greene, 2003). For automated enforcement systems, the costs include local program management that we were unable to isolate from equipment contract costs using the reports available. Therefore, those costs are included here rather than under other cost-estimating categories.

Fines and Fees

We also included estimates of related administrative fines, fees, or charges, depending on the intervention. Unfortunately, there are no standard databases to capture this detail, nor is there literature summarizing these fees, so we were unable to make fines and fees state-specific. To estimate these, we did Internet searches on such terms as license reinstatement fee and helmet fines and visited the DMV websites and statutes of multiple states to create these average costs. States often set fine amounts in legislation, so we do not adjust the fines over time for inflation. Because our tool does not estimate trends in offenders over time, it assumes the same number of offenders and therefore fines each year. States may want to update the assumptions to reflect their most current fines and fees when using the tool to estimate multiyear return on investment. All cost subcomponents in this category are considered revenue to the state, and we assume 100-percent collection rates.

Probation

Some of the DWI-related interventions require further supervision of offenders. Probation officers carry out this additional enforcement for these offenders. We identified literature that summarized the cost of a typical probation day, month, or year (Eisen, 2011; Officer, 2013; R. Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1999; Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole, 2012; State of Texas Legislative Budget Board, 2013; Alemi et al., 2004) and the typical length of probation (Adams, Bostwick, and Campbell, 2011; Plimack, 2013) and applied that across the states.

We found that the average probation cost per day is around $10. People stay on probation, on average, about 20 months for DWI and substance abuse. There are cost differences for first-time and repeat offenders, but the literature was not specific enough on the percentage of the population that repeats for each intervention, nor on how the probation program changes, for that to be incorporated into this model.

Education Programs

States often require DWI offenders to undergo educational programs along with other penalties. We included a cost to the state for providing these programs, as well as revenue to the state when an offender pays a fee to attend these programs. We include education program costs where the intervention increases the number of people being arrested and or tried for DWI (saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, limits on diversion, plea agreements) but not for those DWI interventions that assume that the offender has already been arrested (interlocks, license impoundment, vehicle impoundment). It is likely that not all offenders will complete the education program. In California, researchers found that 81.5 percent of offenders completed DWI programs (Zhang, 2012).

Vehicle Impoundment

The vehicle impoundment intervention requires the use of towing facilities for equipment. For this cost, we looked at personnel and facility costs that would be required to support vehicle impoundment programs and scaled them to the state level, as well as the cost to the offender to recover the vehicle.

Program Management

Although the literature for interventions does not provide much insight into the cost of program management at the state level, some centralized management would be needed for these interventions to be implemented across an entire state. Though the management cost would likely be larger for some interventions than others, there is little information in the literature on which to base any assumptions. Therefore, the model has a rough estimate for program management costs based on wages plus benefits of government office workers.

Similarly, the literature does not provide information on costs associated with information technology necessary for these interventions. It is likely that some states currently have insufficient systems to support these interventions. Given the lack of evidence on cost, these costs are excluded from our model but are real considerations as states incorporate interventions.

View Table 3.2

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Step 2. Gather State Statistics for Scaling

To develop state-specific estimates of implementation costs for each intervention by state, we collected several statistics needed for scaling or extrapolating costs for each state. These data included population statistics, number of registered motorcycles, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) DWI arrest data, and wage-related information for police forces and correctional facility personnel. We also obtained additional information on the imprisoned population by state.

FBI figures on the number of people arrested in each state for DWI are provided in Table 3.3. Several of the interventions apply only to people with DWIs. We use the information in Table 3.3 to determine the number of offenders that each DWI intervention may affect. Wage rates for government office workers (as a proxy for DMV staff) and police officers are shown in Table 3.1.

Table 3.3. Arrests for Driving While Intoxicated, by State, 2011
State Total Arrests
Alabama 287
Alaska 4,420
Arizona 35,496
Arkansas 7,758
California 104,345
Colorado 27,314
Connecticut 8,487
Delaware 242
District of Columbia 43
Florida 43,784
Georgia 31,176
Hawaii 5,922
Idaho 9,161
Illinois 3,619
Indiana 20,043
Iowa 11,889
Kansas 11,470
Kentucky 22,973
Louisiana 6,032
Maine 5,802
Maryland 17,402
Massachusetts 9,887
Michigan 29,443
Minnesota 24,543
Mississippi 11,251
Missouri 29,447
State Total Arrests
Montana 4,251
Nebraska 12,005
Nevada 11,834
New Hampshire 3,616
New Jersey 26,206
New Mexico 11,460
New York 35,541
North Carolina 53,700
North Dakota 4,836
Ohio 36,528
Oklahoma 14,563
Oregon 14,966
Pennsylvania 48,519
Rhode Island 2,508
South Carolina 15,674
South Dakota 5,269
Tennessee 25,559
Texas 85,715
Utah 3,184
Vermont 2,264
Virginia 28,950
Washington 11,101
West Virginia 5,356
Wisconsin 28,798
Wyoming 4,970

SOURCES: FBI, 2011a, Table 69; for Hawaii, not provided in the 2011 report, FBI, 2011b, Table 69.
NOTE: Reported by FBI as arrests for DWI. Alabama provided incomplete information that makes its numbers of arrests seem lower than they really are, but we could not find another data source.

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Step 3. Review Literature for Cost Data

We reviewed multiple sources of literature to find cost data for each of the interventions. Reviews of literature included peer-reviewed publications and special reports produced by such agencies as NHTSA, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and selected DMVs. We also consulted online information on private companies and service providers to determine the costs or procedures followed for the implementation of different strategies to prevent traffic-related injury. For several interventions, we directly consulted the state statutes to obtain information about laws, fines, and fees for different states. We also consulted published contractual information from selected cities to gather information on procedures for implementation, maintenance, or repair of equipment. We also looked for cost and revenue data.

For journal article searches, we used PubMed, Google Scholar, Ovid, the Cochrane Library, JSTOR, Web of Science, LexisNexis, and EBSCOhost. We also searched government websites, databases, and publications, including the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Census Bureau, DOT, CDC’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) database,9 NHTSA, and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Additionally we searched for information on the implementation of selected interventions (e.g., red-light and speed-camera systems) from relevant organizations, such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the American Automobile Association (AAA), and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

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Step 4. Develop Regressions for Estimates of States with Missing Data

The equipment costs for red-light and speed cameras (which we calculated in a similar manner) required the generation of regression models to estimate implementation costs. This was done, for example, because data were available at the city level and we needed to extrapolate to the state level. In addition, information is not systematically collected, and, for many states, the information is incomplete. Moreover, only a few cities provide data. In the case of red-light and speed-camera systems, we used count regression models while adjusting for key variables to predict the number of cameras within each state while also providing confidence limits for the predictions. The specific example of red-light and speed systems is explained later in this chapter, where each intervention is defined more specifically.

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Step 5. Develop Mean, Minimum, and Maximum Cost Inputs

Where states have different procedures for implementing the same intervention (which is the case for most interventions), the calculation of averages helps identify what the “typical” development, implementation, or maintenance of an intervention entails. In several cases in which data varied considerably between states or between cities within a state, we generated mean estimates for the cost inputs of interventions, as well as a maximum and minimum range. The generation of these values takes into account the variability within a state (e.g., when interventions are applied differently in cities of the same state) or, in some cases, to address the differences between states due to different economic, legal, and political contexts. In other cases, particularly when the values cluster around particular values, as is the case with fines (e.g., $50, $100), the mode (i.e., the most commonly observed value) is used because it is a better measure of the typical input value.

In cases in which information is unavailable or there is little information on one state (for example, data only from one city), estimates of maximum and minimum can also contribute to the establishment of an average measure for a state. The maximum and minimum values are based on actual collected data from states and will contribute to performing sensitivity analyses at different stages of our estimations. The tool uses the mean estimates of costs inputs in calculating cost–benefit ratios and ranking and selecting interventions for implementation under a given budget.

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Step 6. Develop Estimates for Each Intervention

For each intervention, we followed a systematic process aimed at gathering all possible relevant information on a specific intervention. In this step, the information gathered and generated from the prior steps (i.e., literature, state statistics, mean costs, and any other assumptions) are incorporated into the cost-estimating structure. Then the costs are fed into the tool for comparison with effectiveness. See individual interventions later in this chapter for further detail.

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Intervention Cost Estimate Assumptions

The complexity of the cost estimate varies greatly depending on the intervention and data available. For each intervention, we describe our assumptions about how it would be implemented and explain how we developed the cost estimates. None of the interventions requires all ten cost components; only the components used for the calculations are described. So if the discussion of an intervention lists only equipment and program management, this means the other eight cost components are not used to calculate the costs in the tool.

For some interventions, there may be multiple levels of intervention, rather than a simple yes/no. Although we are able to estimate the costs associated with different levels of implementation, we do not have any evidence to determine what the effect of a scaled-down version of the implementation would be. As such, we use one cost estimate that is associated with full implementation of the intervention. Details on where we use this assumption are included in the description of each intervention below.

For some interventions, we developed a modal, or “most common cost,” as opposed to a mean cost input. A mean cost would require knowing all state costs and averaging them, but, for most interventions, cost data availability was restricted to only a few states. Therefore, if there was an obvious modal cost, we used that, but, if there was a range of costs, we took the mean of the observations we had. As noted above, modal costs were most often used for such inputs as fines, for which lawmakers select values around focal points, such as $50 and $100. We also used modal costs where one state appeared to be an outlier with either very low or very high costs. Because this model is intended to inform states that do not currently have a particular intervention implemented, it was prudent to select costs that represent a typical intervention.

For all interventions, we made an assumption about the expected program cost at the state level for staff to oversee or implement the program; these assumptions are documented for each intervention. We were unable to obtain detailed information on other overhead-related costs of such program offices.

For each intervention, we first estimate the cost component or subcomponent by various natural units, e.g., publicity cost via television to reach 1,000 viewers, cost of police time per citation, cost of DMV staff time per person assisted, seat belt fine per offense, and lease cost of a red-light camera system per year. Then, we translate these unit costs into annual costs for a given state. The annual cost estimates are constructed to reflect the annual costs in each of the next five years. One-time costs (e.g., equipment purchase) are spread over this five-year period, so the full equipment costs are not borne in any particular year. In the next chapter, where we estimate the effectiveness in reducing injuries and deaths for each intervention, we also express the monetized benefits from effectiveness in a per-year basis for a given state so that both costs and monetized benefits are measured comparably. Moreover, when it comes to police and other labor costs, the tool assumes 50-percent overtime pay. However, a tool user can add or subtract overtime costs in a sensitivity analysis.

All costs detailed under “fines and fees” are considered revenue to the state because they are paid by individuals to public agencies, and we assume 100-percent collection by the state. Therefore, this estimate is an upper bound on potential state income. All other costs are used by the tool to calculate direct costs to the state, unless otherwise specified.

Tables 3.4 through 3.11 summarize the cost components and subcomponents, units, and assumptions for related groups of interventions. For interventions for which they are used, publicity and program management costs remain the same regardless of the intensity of the intervention or the number of offenders cited. All other costs are calculated on some basis related to intensity (e.g., number of speed cameras) or offenders arrested. The references for the costs are provided in the subsequent section.

Table 3.4. Red-Light and Speed Cameras: Cost Assumptions and Calculations
Cost Component Subcomponents Cost or Staff Time per Unit Underlying Assumptions and Statistics
Publicity Advertising (various channels) $18 per 1,000 drivers in print, $10 per 1,000 drivers with outdoor, $42 per 1,000 drivers by radio, $119 per 1,000 drivers for television Number of drivers in state
Police Police costs, camera violations $7 per citation Number of citations
Equipment Camera lease costs $5,868 per camera per month Estimated number of cameras from count regression model
Fine Moving violations for red-light cameras $120 per citation Assume 1,382 citations per camera per year
Fine Moving violations for speed cameras $145 per citation Assume 4,056.6 citations per camera per year
Program management Program management, state level 2.5 FTE staff per state (per program) Government wage rates in state, as shown in Table 3.3, converted to 2012 dollars
Table 3.5. Saturation Patrols and Sobriety Checkpoints: Cost Assumptions and Calculations
Cost Component Subcomponents Cost or Staff Time per Unit Underlying Assumptions and Statistics
Publicity Advertising (various channels) $18 per 1,000 drivers in print, $10 per 1,000 drivers with outdoor, $42 per 1,000 drivers by radio, $119 per 1,000 drivers for television Number of drivers in state
Police Police costs, full-scale sobriety checkpoint 40 hours per checkpoint Assume one checkpoint per 12,500 population per year
Police Police costs, full-scale saturation patrol 40 hours per patrol Assume one patrol per 0.00188 miles of road network per year
Court Prosecution costs, saturation patrols $2,279 per offender Assume 9.64 offenders arrested per patrol or one offender arrested per checkpoint
Court Prosecution costs, sobriety checkpoint $2,279 per offendera Assume 9.64 offenders arrested per patrol or one offender arrested per checkpoint
Court Lawyer for DWI $1,363 per DWI offender Assume 9.64 offenders arrested per patrol or one offender arrested per checkpoint
DMV staff License reinstatement 0.5 staff-hours per DWI offender Government wage rates in state, as shown in Table 3.1, converted to 2012 dollars
Equipment Police equipment for saturation patrols $100 per local government Number of patrols
Equipment Police equipment for sobriety checkpoints $5,448 per local government Number of patrols
Equipment Passive alcohol sensors $1,182 per local government (for one or both programs)b Number of patrols
Fine Driver’s license reinstatement fee, $/offense $204 per DWI offender Assume 9.64 offenders arrested per patrol or one offender arrested per checkpoint
Fine Court fines: saturation patrol $2,000 per DWI offender Assume 9.64 offenders arrested per patrol or one offender arrested per checkpoint
Probation Probation, $/probationer $6,322 per DWI offender Assume 9.64 offenders arrested per patrol or one offender arrested per checkpoint
Education Alcohol education program, $/attendee paid by attendee $294 per DWI offender Assume 9.64 offenders arrested per patrol or one offender arrested per checkpoint
Education Alcohol education program, $/attendee paid by state $254 per DWI offender Assume 9.64 offenders arrested per patrol or one offender arrested per checkpoint
Program management Program management, state level 2.5 FTE staff per state (per program) Government wage rates in state, as shown in Table 3.1, converted to 2012 dollars

a For sobriety checkpoints, the cost estimates in the existing literature included the prosecution costs per checkpoint. For saturation patrols, the data were not similarly calculated, but, for consistency across interventions, we have used the same cost for both.
b We assume that this cost is the same regardless of whether the state implements one or both programs.

Table 3.6. Motorcycle and Bicycle Helmet Laws: Cost Assumptions and Calculations
Cost Component Subcomponents Cost or Staff Time per Unit Underlying Assumptions and Statistics
Publicity Advertising (various channels) $18 per 1,000 drivers or children in print, $10 per 1,000 drivers or children with outdoor, $42 per 1,000 drivers or children by radio, $119 per 1,000 drivers or children for television Number of drivers in state as a proxy for motorcyclists and number of children as a proxy for number of children who bicycle
Police Police costs to process motorcycle helmet violations $928 per citation Assume that, for every 10,000 registered motorcycles in state, 35 citations are issued
Fine Motorcycle helmet fine $147 per citation Assume that, for every 10,000 registered motorcycles in state, 35 citations are issued
Program management Program management, state level For motorcycle helmet law, 2.5 FTE staff per state; for bicycle helmet law, 1 FTE Government wage rates in state, as shown in Table 3.1, converted to 2012 dollars

NOTE: Because we did not identify any agencies that spend significant police time on enforcement or collect any fines for violating bicycle helmet laws, we did not include police time or fines here.

Table 3.7. Primary Enforcement of Seat Belt Laws and Seat Belt Enforcement Campaigns: Cost Assumptions and Calculations
Cost Component Subcomponents Cost or Staff Time per Unit Underlying Assumptions and Statistics
Publicity CIOT media campaign Not applicable Assume national costs of $39 million, allocated by state population

NOTE: This is the one set of interventions for which the tool adjusts cost downward if both interventions are implemented. For details, see the discussion under “High-Visibility Enforcement for Seat Belts and Child Restraint Laws” later in this chapter.

Table 3.8. Alcohol Interlocks and License Plate and Vehicle Impoundment: Cost Assumptions and Calculations
Cost Component Subcomponents Cost or Staff Time per Unit Underlying Assumptions and Statistics
DMV staff License reinstatement 0.5 staff-hours per DWI offender License plate impoundment: 88% of state’s DWI offenders (assumed conviction rate), as shown in Table 3.3
Vehicle impoundment: All DWI offenders in state, as shown in Table 3.3
Equipment Alcohol interlock $402 per DWI offender 88% of state’s DWI offenders (assumed conviction rate), as shown in Table 3.3
Fine Driver’s license reinstatement fee $204 per DWI offender License plate impoundment: 88% of state’s DWI offenders (assumed conviction rate)
Vehicle impoundment: All DWI offenders in state
Fine Vehicle impoundment fee $520 per DWI offender All DWI offenders in state
Impoundment Tow staffing costs $637 per DWI offender All DWI offenders in state
Program management Program management, state level 2.5 FTE staff per state (per program) Government wage rates in state, as shown in Table 3.1, converted to 2012 dollars

NOTE: No DMV staff, fines, or impoundment for alcohol interlocks.

Table 3.9. Limits on Diversion and Plea Agreements: Cost Assumptions and Calculations
Cost Component Subcomponents Cost or Staff Time per Unit Underlying Assumptions and Statistics
Court Prosecution costs $2,279 per DWI offender Applies to 12% of a state’s DWI offenders who are not convicted of a DWI offense
Court Lawyer for DWI, $/occurrence $2,571 per DWI offender Applies to 12% of a state’s DWI offenders who are not convicted of a DWI offense
DMV staff License reinstatement, hours/occurrence 0.5 staff-hours per DWI offender Applies to 12% of a state’s DWI offenders who are not convicted of a DWI offense
Fine Driver’s license reinstatement fee, $/offense $204 per DWI offender Applies to 12% of a state’s DWI offenders who are not convicted of a DWI offense
Fine Court-related fines for DWI $2,000 per DWI offender Applies to 12% of a state’s DWI offenders who are not convicted of a DWI offense
Probation Probation, $/probationer $2,922 per DWI offender Applies to 12% of a state’s DWI offenders who are not convicted of a DWI offense
Education Alcohol education program, $/attendee paid by attendee $294 per DWI offender Applies to 12% of a state’s DWI offenders who are not convicted of a DWI offense
Education Alcohol education program, $/attendee paid by state $254 per DWI offender Applies to 12% of a state’s DWI offenders who are not convicted of a DWI offense
Program management Program management, state level 2.5 FTE staff per state (per program) Government wage rates in state, as shown in Table 3.1, converted to 2012 dollars
Table 3.10. In-Person License Renewal: Cost Assumptions and Calculations
Cost Component Subcomponent Cost or Staff Time per Unit Underlying Assumptions and Statistics
DMV staff Increased license administration $12.20 per additional in-person renewal that was previously renewed by mail or online Assume that drivers over 70 years old are required to renew in person every four years. In states with antidiscrimination statutes, apply this assumption to all drivers.
Table 3.11. Higher Seat Belt Fine: Cost Assumptions and Calculations
Cost Component Subcomponent Cost or Staff Time per Unit Underlying Assumptions and Statistics
Fine Higher seat belt fine $75/citation 81 citations per 10,000 population per year (assume the underlying fine remains the same)

 

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Red-Light and Speed-Camera Interventions

Implementation Assumptions

The overall process for implementing both of these interventions includes setting up equipment; developing procedures for obtaining photographic evidence of violators with specific date, time, and vehicle information (time-stamped license plate photograph); and establishing mechanisms for arbitration or payment of fines.10

Although the intervention modeled has cameras distributed across local governments in a particular state, it is unlikely that cameras will be cost-effective in low-traffic or rural areas.

Cost Calculations

Several key components are required to implement red-light camera systems. According to FHWA, undated, and the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running, 2007, the key components are as follows.

Publicity

According to FHWA, undated, education is very important to (1) deter aggressive driving behaviors; (2) gain public support for red-light camera program; (3) communicate how the system works so the motorists are not surprised or confused when they receive a ticket. For our estimate, we assume that there will be a multipronged media approach using print, billboards, radio, and television because existing effectiveness research indicated inclusion of publicity. We used published sources to estimate how to distribute the media buy among various media channels (Solomon, Gilbert, et al., 2007). We anticipate state-to-state and city-to-city variation in media costs but were unable to find literature to estimate these costs. The target audience is licensed drivers in cities of each state. We use the number of licensed drivers provided in State Transportation Statistics 2010 (Research and Innovative Technology Administration, 2011) to inform the model. This includes creation of the media in the campaign, as well as paying advertising providers. We assume that it is impossible and cost-prohibitive to reach the entire licensed-driver population through the media campaign. The CIOT campaign had success at reaching its target audience, so we based the percentage of the population targeted on their spending. We therefore expect states to purchase enough print media, billboards, radio, and television.

Police or Highway Patrol Time

There is a police cost associated with processing each citation that is sent to an offender. We assume that this is $7 per citation, based on a study in Scottsdale (Shin, Washington, and van Schalkwyk, 2009). This is extremely low because most offenders choose to pay their tickets rather than challenging them. Because it is low, we did not adjust on the basis of a state’s police wages.

Equipment

Costs are based on equipment choices, operational and administrative characteristics of the program, and arrangements with contractors. Cameras may be purchased, leased, or installed and maintained by contractors for a negotiated fee (FHWA and NHTSA, 2008). Early-adopter jurisdictions with red-light cameras would purchase and install their own cameras (Maccubbin, Staples, and Salwin, 2001). However, most jurisdictions contract with private vendors to install and maintain the cameras and use a substantial portion of the income from red-light citations to cover program costs. From information from different states for cities adopting between 2006 and 2012, we find that all costs per camera (labor and equipment) associated with the installation vary between $138,000 and $150,000. A contractor usually absorbs the capital investment. The operation and maintenance of the red-light and speed-camera systems are the responsibility of the local jurisdiction or system contractor. For our model, we assume that the contractor absorbs the acquisition, installation, operation, and maintenance of the equipment, and the city pays a flat fee per month.11 As a result, the contractors usually cover all tasks needed from the beginning: the site design and installation of complete camera systems, complete citation processing (including the ability to run registration checks on license plates), training of key city employees and adjudication personnel, expert-witness testimony in court, local customer service and maintenance, collection processing, and provision of information to offenders. See Table 3.12 for a summary of all-in-one contract service costs; using this information, we calculated a most common cost of $5,868 per month per camera.

Fines and Fees

Cost is calculated as dollars per violation.12 These costs are based on state-by-state legislation as defined in state statutes. We calculated minimum, most common, and maximum values of $40, $145, and $300, respectively, for speeding violations. We calculated minimum, most common, and maximum values of $50, $120, and $446, respectively for red-light violations (IIHS, 2014b).13 These costs are included in the tool as revenue to the state.

Program Management

Costs are calculated as staff costs per year. We assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in marketing, contracting, and managing the program within the state. The costs of these personnel are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees. City-level personnel costs associated with citation processing are included in the above per-camera costs.

Table 3.12. Selected All-in-One Red-Light and Speed-Camera System Costs
Location Monthly Cost per Camera System, converted to 2012 Dollars Year of Original Cost Source
Menlo Park, Calif. 7,273 FY 2006 City of Menlo Park, 2006
Scottsdale, Ariz. 6,680 FY 2011–2012 Scottsdale City Council, 2011
San Diego, Calif. 5,193 FY 2007 PB Farradyne, 2002
Orange County, Calif. 5,929–7,115 FY 2004–2005 Orange County Grand Jury, 2004
Longview, Wash. 4,520–5,052 FY 2010 “Longview Council Chooses Red-Light Camera Contractor,” 2010
Washington, D.C. 1,458 FY 2012 N. Smith, 2012
Jacksonville, Fla. 3,999 FY 2012 Word, 2012

NOTE: FY = fiscal year. The D.C. implementation rate is very high, which probably explains the lower per-camera system cost.

Number of Offenders

Informed by experience from Montgomery County, Maryland (Montgomery County Department of Police, undated [a], undated [b]), we assume that each red-light camera issues 1,382 citations per year. Informed by experience from Scottsdale, Arizona, we assume that each speed-camera issues 4,056.6 citations per year (Retting, Kyrychenko, and McCartt, 2008; Shin, Washington, and van Schalkwyk, 2009).

State Extrapolations

In some cases, red-light and speed cameras are used simultaneously. However, most red-light cameras and speed cameras are separate systems; one camera does not enforce both violations because most speeding violations occur in locations with fewer regular stops. Therefore, all the unit component costs are calculated independently. Costs are based on equipment choices, operational and administrative characteristics of the program, and arrangements with contractors.

The above data provide useful estimates for each city-based system. However, because this tool is meant for state-level decisionmaking, single-city estimates must be extrapolated to the state level. Although whether to use cameras is typically a city-level decision, it is possible for a state to select cameras as a statewide strategy. That said, having cameras at every intersection is not a viable option. Cameras do not make sense in low-traffic rural conditions. For the extrapolation, we used negative binomial count regression models based on state characteristics to predict the number of cameras that a state would have at different levels of adoption of a program. As part of the model development and selection, we considered different options (including a Poisson regression) and selected the model with the best fit. Still, the model predicts the number of cameras for some states better than for others. Moreover, actual implementations at the state level will require specific engineering studies of traffic patterns.

Use of Regression Models to Predict Numbers of Cameras by State

National-level information on red-light and speed-camera systems is not systematically collected. Only two large entities collect some information on the availability of these systems. IIHS has data on the cities that have such systems in place (IIHS, 2014b). A private company called PhotoEnforced.com that collects crowd-sourced data has specific information on the locations of red-light and speed-camera systems throughout the nation. Clients of this private source include some government institutions. Using data from both sources, we identified the cities with red-light and speed-camera systems and calculated the total number of existing cameras.

Because data exist only for cities, we needed to extrapolate the data for use at the state level. Although we tested a variety of indicators, such as state population, length in miles of the road network, and number of local governments, the final model uses state population and road network in miles within the state as explanatory variables in a count regression model that predicts the number of cameras that a state would use.14 In actual implementations, decisionmakers would probably select areas that studies identified with sufficient traffic or red-light running behavior to have impact, but, at the state level, these data are not easily available and therefore are not included in the simplified regression model. Given the reliance on road network, in such states as Delaware and Hawaii, as well as the District of Columbia, very low numbers of cameras are predicted. In the case of District of Columbia, there are already many more cameras in use than the model would predict. Any model we could have selected would underestimate or overestimate cameras for some states.

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Alcohol Interlocks

Implementation Assumptions

In this intervention, an offender is required to install an alcohol interlock on his or her vehicle in order to drive legally. An interlock prevents the vehicle’s ignition from being started unless the device detects a BAC below the preset threshold, often 0.02 BAC. We assume that, for some period of time after being arrested, the offender is not allowed to drive at all. Upon reinstatement of his or her license, the offender must use the interlocks on average for 3.4 months (IIHS, 2011b).15 Ignition interlocks have two potential levels of use: for all convicted offenders or only for repeat offenders. The tool applies this intervention to all convicted offenders. No costs are assumed beyond equipment and program management because the costs of processing these offenders through court are assumed to be already paid (that is, adding the alcohol interlock intervention does not result in apprehending additional offenders or in additional costs to process offenders beyond this sanction). The costs do not include publicity because the literature did not suggest that this was included in the typical intervention.

Cost Calculations

Equipment

Cost is per offender per year. According to our research, the cost is paid by the offender to an interlock provider rather than to the state. The cost per month ranges from $265 to $638, and we use $402 as the most common cost. This cost may or may not include fees for installation and deinstallation. Generally, the offender contracts individually for this service unless the state has placed limits on equipment costs. The cost of obtaining the interlock is paid by the offender but does not generate revenue for the state, so it is included in the tool only as an offender-borne cost.

Program Management

Cost is per year. We assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in marketing, contracting, and managing the program within the state. The costs of these personnel are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees.

Fines and Fees

Some states are requiring offenders to pay fees of $20 to $30 per month to the state, but this was not a characteristic of the majority of the programs we considered, so this cost is set at $0 in our model. States may want to consider a fine or fee to help with program sustainability.

Number of Offenders

We estimated the number of offenders based on FBI statistics (FBI, 2011a) from each state on DWI arrests. Informed by R. Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1999, we assumed that 88 percent of DWI arrestees were convicted. Many states choose to apply interlocks to only a small portion of offenders. For the model, the cost assumptions need to align with the effectiveness determination. The model is unable to predict which offenders will be repeat offenders, so this assumes that all offenders are included in the intervention. Therefore, this implementation cost and its associated effects may appear larger than the actual costs to most states with existing implementation.

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Sobriety Checkpoints

Implementation Assumptions

Sobriety checkpoints require police officers to conduct them, as well as publicity campaigns to inform the public. The goal is to discourage drivers from drinking, particularly during times when drunk driving is more common than usual (such as holidays).

Cost Calculations

Publicity

This intervention assumes that there will be a major publicity campaign to advertise the sobriety checkpoints, using the same cost estimates as for automated enforcement. Under our assumptions, this publicity push will involve print, billboards, radio, and television advertising because existing effectiveness research indicated inclusion of publicity. Costs of advertising are typically per 1,000 viewers. Most programs cannot reach all of their target audiences because of costs. Therefore, the costs are scaled by state using specific percentages of licensed drivers targeted, based on the success of this mix of media for the CIOT campaigns. This amounts to reaching 5 percent of the target audience via print, 3 percent via outdoor media, 16 percent via radio, and 44 percent via television.

Police or Highway Patrol Time

The number of checkpoints is a function of the population size of the state. We looked at several states’ checkpoint numbers and determined that a reasonable number of checkpoints to conduct annually is 0.008 percent of the population. Police time costs can be for full-scale sobriety checkpoints or pared-down sobriety checkpoints. A full-scale sobriety checkpoint typically has ten to 12 police officers for four to five hours, so, for our estimates, we assumed that a full-scale checkpoint would involve ten officers for four hours. We could find less evidence for small-scale checkpoints and therefore assumed that the most common version of the interventions is full scale.

Court

We assume that some court system time is needed to process citations issued during sobriety checkpoints. For sobriety checkpoints specifically, we used data on prosecution costs based on research by the Children’s Safety Network, 2005. These prosecution costs of $1,883 were per checkpoint rather than per offender. We also assume there are offender-borne costs (which are not included in the tool) for legal defense. Our research found that this can cost anywhere from $500 to $26,000 (see Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, 2013; Bloch, 2013; and NuStats, 2006), with the most common cost calculated at $2,571.

Department of Motor Vehicles

We assumed a half-hour of a DMV employee’s time for license reinstatement.

Equipment

Cost is annual based on the number of checkpoints in the state, which is based on population size. We assume that, on average, five checkpoints share the same equipment, but the reality depends on the number of police department and districts that will carry out the intervention. Although actual equipment lasts for five years or longer, we developed an annualized rate of $5,448 for major equipment (Children’s Safety Network, 2005).16

Fines and Fees

Offenders pay license reinstatement fees and court fines. We used data from Cass County, Missouri, DWI courts, which charged $2,000 in court fines. Information from other cities, counties, and states supported this figure: Rio Honda, California (MacDonald et al., 2007); Texas (“Texas DWI Penalties, Fines and Sentencing,” undated); Multnomah County, Oregon (Finigan, Carey, and Cox, 2007). We found a range of driver’s license reinstatement fees posted online between $30 and $704 in a sample of eight states17 and calculated a most common cost of $204.

Probation

For those offenders who are put on probation, the state assumes the cost of their monitoring. This costs anywhere between $1,127 and $8,610, with $2,922 per DWI or substance abuse offender being most common (Alemi et al., 2004; Adams, Bostwick, and Campbell, 2011; R. Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1999; Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole, 2012; Officer, 2013; Plimack, 2013). Probation costs do depend on whether the offender is a first-time offender or a repeat offender. Unfortunately, the data on sobriety checkpoints did not provide insight on what percentage of these were of each type, nor did we have consistent data on probation cost differences specific to DWI, so the model relies on averages that are adjusted by the average salary of probation officers in each state based on information from BLS (see Table 3.1).

Education

DWI offenders are often required to enroll in educational programs. The cost to the state to provide an alcohol education program is $254 per offender. The cost to the offender is $294 (Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Driver Education and Evaluation Programs, 2014), which the model assumes constitutes revenue to the state. If a state selects a contractor to provide this education, it would not be a source of revenue, but it also would not be a source of cost. Only about 81.5 percent of offenders are assumed to complete the required program (Zhang, 2012).

Program Management

Cost is per year. We assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in marketing, contracting, and managing the program within the state. The costs of these personnel are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees.

Number of Offenders

The number of offenders caught per checkpoint depends on location. Fairfax County, Virginia, had about 2.6 arrests per checkpoint, though others seem to be lower, at around one per checkpoint (Bowman and Stemler, 2005). We assumed one per checkpoint for license reinstatement, lawyers, and alcohol education. For probation calculations, we assumed that only 88 percent would be convicted, so 0.88 people per checkpoint would have probation costs (R. Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1999).

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Saturation Patrols

Implementation Assumptions

Saturation patrols are used in most states, particularly those where sobriety checkpoints are not allowed, but states can use both interventions simultaneously. Police select locations and patrol those enforcement areas looking for suspicious driving behavior. One instance of this increased presence is considered a saturation patrol wave. There are limited data on the right number of waves to use for enforcement, but we developed an average number of patrols based on the state’s road network in miles to apply to each state of 0.00188.18

Cost Calculations

Publicity

This intervention assumes that there will be a major publicity campaign to advertise the saturation patrols because existing effectiveness research indicates inclusion of publicity. This publicity will involve print, outdoor, radio, and television advertising that is priced per 1,000 viewers. The program will not be able to reach all of its target audience, so the publicity targets a sample of drivers. The costs are scaled by state using specific percentages of licensed drivers to reach via print (5 percent) outdoor (3 percent), radio (16 percent), and television (44 percent).

Police or Highway Patrol Time

Police time costs can be for large or small saturation patrols. Informed by implementation of sobriety checkpoints, we assumed that a large-scale patrol would involve ten officers for four hours. We could find less evidence for small-scale patrols and therefore assumed that the most common version of the intervention is full scale.

Court

We assume that some court system time is needed to process citations issued during saturation patrols. We created an estimate of $2,279 per offender based on information from three states: New York (Waller et al., 2013), Washington (Aos et al., 2011a, 2011b), and Oregon (Finigan, Carey, and Cox, 2007). We also assume that there are offender-borne costs (which are not included in the tool) for legal defense. Our research found that this can cost anywhere from $500 to $26,000 (see Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, 2013; Bloch, 2013; and NuStats, 2006), with the most common cost calculated at $2,571.

Department of Motor Vehicles

We assumed a half-hour of a DMV employee’s time for license reinstatement.

Equipment

We used the cost of a commercially available passive alcohol sensor (PAS),19 $695, as a starting point. For the implementation, we assume that the same equipment will be used for, on average, five patrol waves per year. We assume that a police department purchases 12 PASs, for an annualized cost of $1,668. We assume an average of $1,182 per year. Additional police equipment is per wave at a minimal cost of about $100 per wave.

Fines and Fees

Offenders pay license reinstatement fees and court fines. We used data from Cass County, Missouri, DWI courts, which charged $2,000 in court fines. Information from other cities, counties, and states supported this figure: Rio Honda, California (MacDonald et al., 2007); Texas (“Texas DWI Penalties, Fines and Sentencing,” undated); Multnomah County, Oregon (Finigan, Carey, and Cox, 2007). We found a range of driver’s license reinstatement fees posted online between $30 and $704 in a sample of eight states20 and calculated a most common cost of $204.

Probation

For those offenders who are put on probation, the state assumes the cost of their monitoring. This costs anywhere between $1,127 and $8,610, with $2,922 per DWI or substance abuse offender being most common (Alemi et al., 2004; Adams, Bostwick, and Campbell, 2011; R. Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1999; Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole, 2012; Officer, 2013; and Plimack, 2013). Probation costs do depend on whether the offender is a first-time offender or a repeat offender. Unfortunately, the data on saturation patrols did not provide insight on what percentage of these were of each type, nor did we have consistent data on probation cost differences specific to DWI, so the model relies on averages that are adjusted by the average salary of probation officers in each state based on information from BLS (see Table 3.1).

Education

DWI offenders are often required to enroll in educational programs. The cost to the state to provide an alcohol education program is $254 per offender. The cost to the offender is $294 (Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Driver Education and Evaluation Programs, 2014), which we assume constitutes revenue to the state. If a state selects a contractor to provide this education, it would not be a source of revenue, but it also would not be a source of cost. Only about 81.5 percent of offenders are assumed to complete the required program (Zhang, 2012).

Program Management

Cost is per year. We assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in marketing, contracting, and managing the program within the state. The costs of these personnel are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees.

Number of Offenders
Arrest rates for saturation patrols vary between 6.79 and 9.64 per patrol (Century Council, 2008). We used the higher figure of 9.64 arrests per patrol rather than a median or average between the two because we are concerned that the many cost components and subcomponents derived from or pertaining to this high and low estimate might not be linear. For probation calculations, we assumed that only 88 percent would be convicted, so 0.88 people per checkpoint would have probation costs (R. Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1999).

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Bicycle Helmet Laws for Children

Implementation Assumptions

Bicycle helmet laws are typically enforced at city levels and more frequently in areas with children, such as residential neighborhoods and near schools. Although some municipalities provide free or reduced-cost helmets, we did not assume that this would be a part of the base program. In many communities, hospitals and volunteers give coupons or gift certificates to children seen wearing helmets. These community programs focus on encouraging participation rather than punishment, but most of those programs are not paid for by the state.

Cost Calculations

Publicity

The effective helmet law on which we modeled this intervention was supported with communications and outreach to parents, children, schools, pediatric health care providers, and law enforcement. We assume that there will be a combined approach of print, outdoor, radio, and television media because existing effectiveness research indicates inclusion of publicity. We used Solomon, Gilbert, et al., 2007, to estimate the combination of media types and the percentage of spending across media types. Solomon et al. did not provide data in terms of the common advertising metric cost per 1,000, so we divided costs by population at the time. Then we used cost per person for each state. Information on the number of parents with children who ride bicycles is unavailable, so we sized the typical media campaign to reach an audience size based on the number of children in the particular state. For this effort, states may choose targeted campaigns through schools rather than television, billboard, and radio advertising, which would reduce the publicity cost by up to 90 percent. Regardless of the method of advertising, it is impractical to reach 100 percent of a target audience, but it is important to reach some of the target audience more than once so they will remember the message. The CIOT campaign evaluations indicated that the program reached members of its target audience multiple times. We based the percentage of the population targeted on the program’s spending.

Equipment

Helmets that meet safety requirements can be purchased for under $20; our research on Amazon.com and other commercial outlets showed helmets ranging from $16 to $50. We used $20 as the mean cost.

Program Management

Cost is per state per year. We assume that one state staff person would be involved in marketing, contracting, and managing the program within the state. Several states have bicycling coordinators, and this task is part of their duties. In interviews, we determined that this is a small portion of one employee’s duties, so we have assumed that a single FTE could handle this program. The costs of the staff are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees.

The model does not include any police costs or fines. There is little evidence that police departments spend time specifically enforcing bicycle helmet laws, so we assumed that this cost is effectively zero. Similarly, although several cities and states have small fines in place, many are only for repeat offenders, and there is no evidence that this is a measurable source of revenue for any state (Rosenthal, 2013; Harshfield, 2013). Many states have no fine for offenders, and the maximum fine we have observed is $25. So we assume that the income to the state of fines is zero for this purpose. This is the only one of the 12 interventions with no fines paid by offenders.

Number of Offenders

This is unknown because there are no good studies on how many children are fined or ticketed for not wearing helmets. Therefore, in the model, we assume that zero offenders are caught and that this intervention therefore provides a negligible source of income to the states.

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Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Implementation Assumptions

A helmet law requires all motorcycle riders to wear DOT-approved helmets. If a motorcyclist is caught without an approved helmet, police can issue a ticket.

Cost Calculations

Publicity

Helmet laws are often supported with appropriate communications and outreach to riders and enforcement organizations. We assume that there will be a combined approach of print, billboard, radio, and television media. We used Solomon, Gilbert, et al., 2007, to estimate the combination of media types and the percentage of spending across media types. We sized the typical media campaign to reach out to an audience size based on the number of licensed drivers in a particular state. It is possible that a state will select a more targeted campaign to riding clubs and recreational areas. This will likely cost less than the assumptions included in our model. Regardless of the method of advertising, it is impractical to reach 100 percent of a target audience, but it is important to reach some of the target audience more than once so they will remember the message. The CIOT campaign evaluations indicated that the program reached members of its target audience multiple times. So we based the percentage of the population targeted on their spending.

Police and Highway Patrol Costs and Time

Police costs are based on the time to write the citation and the time to appear in court. Informed by experience in Nebraska, we developed a figure of $928 per citation (C. Potts, 2013).

Equipment

We scaled the amount that individuals will pay for equipment according to the number of registered motorcycles as a proxy for motorcycle drivers. Helmet costs range from $25 to $200. For our purposes, we assume that the average rider will purchase a $100 helmet.

Fines and Fees

Helmet fines can range from $50 to $500, depending on the state statutes. We use $147 as a typical fine assumption for the model.

Program Management

Cost is per state per year. In addition, we assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in managing the program within the state. The costs of these personnel are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees.

Number of Offenders

We scaled the number of offenders based on the number of motorcycle registrations in the state. We assume that 55 percent of people will wear helmets when there is no law and 96 percent when there is a law. Of the 4 percent who still do not wear helmets, we assume that 8.7 percent of them will be caught in a given year and ticketed. This assumption is based on documented experiences in Omaha, Nebraska (Withrow, 2012).

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Primary Enforcement of Seat Belt Laws

Implementation Assumptions

Under primary enforcement, we assume increased police time given that an offender can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt.

We also assume that implementing this intervention in conjunction with high-visibility enforcement (described in the next section) costs somewhat less than implementing each intervention individually. See the high-visibility enforcement cost calculations for a description.

Cost Calculations

Police

Police time is based on the typical number of seat belt citations written. Each seat belt citation written takes 1.7 hours of police time, according to a 2007 CIOT study (Solomon, Preusser, et al., 2009).

Fines and Fees

Seat belt fines range between $10 and $200; we estimate the most common fine is $34.

Program Management

Cost is per state per year. In addition, we assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in marketing, contracting, and managing the program within the state. The costs of these personnel are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees.

Number of Offenders

Some of the offenders would be ticketed during seat belt enforcement campaign periods, while others would be during normal enforcement periods. In high-visibility campaigns in states with primary enforcement of seat belt laws, studies have found 24 seat belt citations per 10,000 inhabitants (Solomon, Preusser, et al., 2009). Seat belt fines in months without high-visibility enforcement are 2.5 times less, so we assume ten seat belt citations per 10,000 inhabitants.

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High-Visibility Enforcement for Seat Belts and Child Restraint Laws

Implementation Assumptions

High-visibility enforcement combines intense enforcement over a fixed period with a publicity campaign, so we assume costs for both police time, as well as publicity. A state with a primary enforcement seat belt law will generally see higher ticketing rates than states with secondary enforcement. CIOT is the national umbrella campaign, and most states participate in this already. Some have additional seat belt enforcement campaign periods as well. We assume that such campaigns are targeted at both adult and child restraint use, as opposed to conducting separate campaigns.

Cost Calculations

Publicity

We based these costs on historical costs for CIOT media campaigns that used print, television, and radio advertising. In 2005, $33 million was spent on one such campaign (Solomon, Gilbert, et al., 2007). We adjusted this for inflation to a little over $39 million in 2012 dollars and spread it across the states according to population. Currently, states spend two-thirds of the money in the campaign, but it is unevenly applied. If states wanted to implement their own successful campaigns, then we would expect spending in the range given in the model.

Police or Highway Patrol Time

Police time is based on the typical number of seat belt citations. Each seat belt citation takes 1.7 hours of police time according to a 2007 CIOT study (Solomon, Preusser, et al., 2009).

Equipment

Costs are for car seats and booster seats. In general, infant car seats range between $70 and $180, with a most common cost of $125. Booster seats typically range between $20 and $100, with a most common cost of $60 (Children’s Safety Network and Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 2012; commercial searches for child safety seats and infant car seats).

Fines and Fees

Two types of fines can be paid under this intervention. Seat belt fines for adults range between $10 and $200, with the most common fine being $34. Child restraint fines range between $10 and $500, with $65 being the most common amount (IIHS, 2014d).

Program Management

Cost is per year. We assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in marketing, contracting, and managing the program within the state. The costs of these personnel are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees.

If a state implements both primary enforcement of seat belt laws and a high-visibility enforcement campaign, we assume that the costs are somewhat reduced from the cost of each individual intervention. Three cost components are reduced: police time, fines, and program management. For police time and seat belt fines, we assume that each seat belt citation requires 1.7 hours of police time and that one $34 fine is paid per adult seat belt citation. In implementing the two interventions together, we added each set of costs together (that is, the police time costs for primary enforcement of the seat belt law and the police time costs for high-visibility enforcement) and recalculated the impact with high-visibility enforcement at the rate of primary enforcement of seat belt laws during the enforcement wave and without high-visibility enforcement the rest of the year. The net effect is 95 percent of the total police costs and fines of those with the two efforts done separately. The program management time is assumed to be 2.5 state personnel for both programs, rather than five. The estimate for child restraint fines paid is not adjusted.

Number of Offenders

A high-visibility campaign typically produces 22 seat belt citations per 10,000 inhabitants. There is only one child citation per 10,000 inhabitants in a typical CIOT enforcement. In some cases, there have been higher rates for child-specific enforcement activities (Decina, Hall, and Lococo, 2010).

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License Plate Impoundment

Implementation Assumptions

License plate impoundment requires someone convicted of a DWI charge to surrender the vehicle’s license plate, which is either impounded or destroyed. In many cases, rather than removing the plate, the state will apply a sticker to show that the plate is invalid. This is an equivalent intervention because it makes the plate unusable. When the impoundment period ends, the offender has to obtain a new license plate from the DMV. Although most states do not apply this to all offenders, the model assumes that it will affect all offenders. This allows costs and effectiveness to be aligned in terms of assumptions. We assume that it applies to all convicted offenders.

Cost Calculations

Department of Motor Vehicles

We assume that reinstatement of a license plate takes a half-hour of a DMV staff member’s time.

Fines and Fees

Because we were unable to develop a figure that covered the specific cost associated with obtaining a new license plate, we assumed that the fee would be similar to that of driver’s license reinstatement: between $30 and $704, with a most common cost of $204.

Program Management

Cost is per year. We assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in managing the program within the state. The costs of these personnel are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees as a guide.

This intervention does not include any prosecution costs or other fines because we assume that these offenders’ interactions with the judicial system are covered under other interventions. Therefore, this includes only those costs directly related to the impoundment itself.

Number of Offenders

We assume that all convicted DWI offenders in the state are subject to license plate impoundment. According to R. Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1999, 88 percent of people arrested for DWI are convicted, and we apply that to the number of arrests collected in the FBI report.

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Limits on Diversion and Plea Agreements

Intervention Assumptions

Diversion of people arrested for DWI out of the normal judicial process, along with plea-bargaining down to lesser offenses, was, in many cases, originally implemented to reduce DWI caseloads. Limiting these diversion programs and plea deals would therefore result in more DWI arrestees facing criminal sanctions for DWI, so our assumptions are based on the increased number of offenders who would be processed through the criminal justice system for DWI rather than lesser offenses and the associated increased marginal costs.

Cost Calculations

Court System

We assume that some court system time (including costs of judges, prosecutors, and court personnel) is needed to process the additional DWI case load created by limits on diversion and plea agreements. We created an estimate of $2,279 per offender based on information from three states: New York (Waller et al., 2013), Washington (Aos et al., 2011a, 2011b), and Oregon (Finigan, Carey, and Cox, 2007). We also assume that there are offender-borne costs (which are not included in the tool) for legal defense. Our research found that this can cost anywhere from $500 to $26,000 (see Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, 2013; Bloch, 2013; and NuStats, 2006), with the most common cost calculated at $2,571.

Department of Motor Vehicles

We assume that those now convicted of DWI offenses would need to go through the license reinstatement process and that a driver’s license reinstatement takes a half-hour of a DMV staff member’s time.

Fines and Fees

We assume that those now convicted of DWI will need to pay for driver’s license reinstatement fees between $30 and $704, with a most common cost of $204.

Probation

Limits on diversion and plea agreements will increase the total number of people convicted of DWI.Offenders will typically not be put in prison for first-time offenses but will be subject to probation. The average DWI or substance abuse–related probation cost per day is around $10. People stay on probation for an average of about 20 months. This costs the state anywhere between $1,217 and $8,610 per offender, with $2,922 per offender being most common (Alemi et al., 2004; Adams, Bostwick, and Campbell, 2011; R. Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1999; Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole, 2012; Officer, 2013; Plimack, 2013). To generate state-specific estimates, we then adjust the average cost of probation by the state-specific average salary of probation officers, as reported by BLS and shown in Table 3.1. Specifically, a state-specific probation salary index that reflects the extent to which the state average salary is above or below the national average (e.g., average probation salary in state x is 1.2 times the national average) is then used to adjust the average probation cost to reflect differences across states. Because these are first-time offenders, the cost of probation here may overestimate costs.

Education Programs

The cost to the state to provide an alcohol education program is $254 per newly defined offender. The cost to the offender is $294 (Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Driver Education and Evaluation Programs, 2014), which constitutes revenue to the state. If a state selects a contractor to provide this education, it would not be a source of revenue, but it also would not be a source of cost. Only about 81.5 percent of offenders are assumed to complete the required program (Zhang, 2012).

Program Management

Cost is per state per year. In addition, we assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in marketing, contracting, and managing the program within the state. The costs of these personnel are calculated using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees as a guide.

Number of Offenders

Limits on diversion and plea agreements affect people who are arrested for DWI, generally for the first time, who might not otherwise have gone through the criminal justice system. Because we did not have data on the proportion of offenders by state who are currently eligible for diversion or pleading to a lesser crime, as a proxy for those affected, we use 12 percent of all people arrested for DWI. According to R. Jones, Wiliszowski, and Lacey, 1999, 88 percent of people arrested for DWI are convicted of DWI offenses, so 12 percent represents the people who are found not guilty or are charged with a lesser offense, such as reckless driving (Hedlund and McCartt, 2002). Actual state-by-state DWI conviction rates vary significantly, and, by their very nature, diversions and plea agreements make tracking DWI offenders difficult. Research on conviction rates is quite dated, with the majority of studies more than ten years old. Unfortunately, there is not a unified data set to allow specific state estimates, so we are limited to a blanket assumption. We apply this 12 percent to the number of DWI arrests collected in the FBI report.

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Vehicle Impoundment

Intervention Assumptions

We assume that vehicles are seized from drivers only when they are arrested, to prevent them from driving home. (Although some states have used long-term impoundment, this is explicitly a short-term impoundment intervention.) The state incurs costs for impounding the vehicles of DWI offenders, based on the number of offenders subject to this intervention. With practical limitations on space to impound vehicles and because the fines and fees often exceed the value of the car, many states will only partially implement this intervention. The model assumes that all DWI arrests are impounded to align the cost estimates with the effectiveness evaluation described later in this document.

Cost Calculations

Fines and Fees

These range from $90 to $1,000, depending on the length of time the vehicle is impounded and whether the vehicle is forfeited. We use an average of $520 per car. We located fine and fee data in Cooper, Chira-Chavala, and Gillen, 2000, as well as in state laws and DMV websites.

Impoundment

Towing and storage costs between $485 and $789 per car, with a most common value of $637 (Cooper, Chira-Chavala, and Gillen, 2000; “Managing Your Impound Lot and Understanding Contract Specs,” 2002).

Program Management

Cost is per state per year. In addition, we assume that a small number of state personnel (about 2.5) would be involved in marketing, contracting, and managing the program within the state. We calculated the costs of these personnel using state-specific BLS wages of state office employees as a guide.

This intervention does not include any prosecution costs or other fines because we assume that these offenders’ interactions with the judicial system are covered under other interventions. Therefore, this includes only those costs directly related to the impoundment itself.

Number of Offenders

We use all DWI arrests, based on annual FBI reporting (FBI, 2011a).

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In-Person Driver’s License Renewal

Implementation Assumptions

All states require drivers to renew their licenses in person on a certain cycle, which varies from every four years to every 12 years; many states specify shorter renewal cycles for older drivers. For this intervention, we generally assume states move from their current schedules for in-person renewals to a new system requiring in-person renewal every four years for drivers who are 70 years of age or older (leaving the system for younger drivers unchanged). The four-year renewal assumption is based on the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators’ (AAMVA’s) recommendation that all drivers be required to renew their licenses in person every four years (Staplin and Lococo, 2003; Stutts et al., 2005).

We collected information about which states currently have policies in place that meet or exceed these thresholds (as shown in Table B.9). We found 13 states that already have such policies and three that exceed them (exceed in that older drivers are required to renew in person on a cycle shorter than every four years). For states that already have such policies, we created cost estimates that assume as a baseline, current policies that do not require in-person renewal. For states that exceed them, we similarly created a baseline assuming that current policies do not require in-person renewal, and we increased the renewal cycle to four years. As with other interventions, we needed to define a baseline for the states where the policy is already in place to generate an informative cost estimate in case our information about current policies is incorrect.

There is one additional unusual circumstance. Three states (Maryland, Massachusetts, and Nevada) and the District of Columbia have antidiscrimination statutes that specify all drivers have to renew on the same schedule. For those four jurisdictions, we assume that all drivers switch to the new four-year, in-person renewal schedule. We used data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, IIHS, expert interviews, and state reports to understand current policy and future costs.

Cost Calculations

Department of Motor Vehicles Staff

States have shifted to an online or mail-in system for some license renewals because these systems save money and time for licensing staff. The amount of savings varies based on the state. We found in-person per-transaction costs between $4.90 and $26.50, with an average of $17.93 (Becker, 2010; Charter, 2010; Griffin, 2011a, 2011b; Gruber, 2010; House, 2010; Martin, 2014; L. Miller, 2011; Sudweeks, 2010). In comparison, costs per transaction online or via mail range between $2.37 and $11.26, with an average of $5.74 (Virginia DMV, 2012; “DMV Needs More Online Services,” 2013; California Performance Review, undated). This means that it will cost the state, on average, $12.20 for each person who switches from an online or mail renewal to an in-person renewal.

Number of Drivers

The number of drivers this affects per state depends on two factors. First, it depends on whether current policy has in-person renewals every four, six, eight, or 12 years (IIHS, 2015; AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, undated). Second, it depends on the number of licensed drivers in the state who are over age 70. This varies because some states have much older populations than others, so we used data on licensed drivers, by age, from FHWA to estimate annual renewals (FHWA, 2014).

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Higher Seat Belt Fine

This intervention increases the size of the fine assessed on drivers and passengers who violate a state’s existing seat belt laws. We assume that no other policies or laws are changed.

Implementation Assumptions

State and local governments continue to enforce existing seat belt laws.

Cost Calculations

Because this intervention consists exclusively of increasing the fine without any other changes in seat belt laws or enforcement, we assume for all states, the implementation cost is $0.

Fine

As of 2014, state seat belt fines ranged between $10 and $200, except in New Hampshire, which does not require adults to wear seat belts (see Table B.5 in Appendix B). The literature on increasing seat belt fines indicates that the deterrent effect increases as the fine increases (Houston and Richardson, 2005; Nichols, Tippetts, et al., 2010) but does not propose an ideal ticket increase. We selected a $75 additional increment, which would represent a major increase in 48 states, after considering inflation and the current range of fines.

Number of Offenders

For this intervention, a state might have other seat belt interventions that could affect the number of citations issued—namely, primary seat belt enforcement and high-visibility enforcement. To calculate the likely number of offenders, we used information on citation rates from the 2011 CIOT evaluation for periods of both normal and high-visibility enforcement in states with and without primary laws. For primary enforcement only, the citation rate is assumed to be 84 per 10,000 population per year. For primary enforcement with high-visibility enforcement, the rate increases to 94.5. For secondary enforcement states, the rate is 48, and, when high-visibility enforcement is added, it rises to 54 (Nichols and Solomon, 2013).

 

Footnotes

  1. In some cases, a shortened form of each of these terms was used in the tool itself. For example, “Police Highway” is used in the tool to mean police or highway patrol time.
  2. The CIOT campaign in 2005 reached “91% of the target audience (men age 18 to 34) an average of 9.9 times” (Solomon, Gilbert, et al., 2007), which is very high considering that Sunday Night Football reaches only about 11 percent of the population between the ages of 18 and 49 (Nielsen Company, 2012).
  3. In our model of red-light and speed cameras, we do not list separate prosecution costs despite the fact that this intervention is likely to lead to a small increase in some of these costs if offenders challenge their tickets. Prosecution costs for these programs are included in the cost per camera because the budget data we had did not easily allow for separate accounting.
  4. WISQARS is an interactive database system that provides customized reports of injury-related data.
  5. “A typical [automated red-light camera enforcement] Camera system is made up of multiple cameras, a computer, and triggering mechanisms known as magnetic loops. The technology is intended to photograph events involving vehicles that have entered an intersection after the signal has turned red. Vehicles entering an intersection on a yellow light and still in the intersection when the light changes to red are not photographed” (Orange County Grand Jury, 2004).
  6. The steps described in this paragraph are based on data obtained from multiple cities on costs of equipment, management of equipment, and flow of information on red-light or speed violations.
  7. The amount of a fine usually does not change annually, so they are not adjusted for inflation.
  8. Although the minimum and maximum amounts suggest that red-light camera fines should be higher, our calculations of the distribution of fines in the states that currently use such systems find that the most common speeding fine is higher than the most common red-light violation fine.
  9. The model predicts that some states would have partial cameras. Because this is a rough order of magnitude for each state’s investment, we did not round to the nearest integer.
  10. This average is based on laws as of 2011 according to IIHS on administrative license suspension and how many months of time on average driving privileges are restored during the license suspension. For those drivers with repeat offenses, it is likely that states would want a longer period of interlock, ranging between six months and a year. This would increase the cost to offenders but should have limited impact on the cost of the program unless the state has instituted substantial data reporting and analysis.
  11. Based on Children’s Safety Network’s estimate of $23,000 in equipment adjusted for inflation.
  12. California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
  13. This number was based on several states’ reporting of how many saturation patrols they had per year, which we plotted against the lengths of their respective road networks. This showed correlation, so we used the average number of patrols per mile in the road network in the model. We considered population, licensed drivers, number of jurisdictions and other factors but concluded that this was the most relevant factor on which to base these estimates.
  14. The PAS IV, the Sniffer LE, is advertised online at $695.
  15. California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.