The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a new study illustrating the high economic and societal impact motor vehicle crashes have on all U.S. citizens. Commenting on the study, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that “While the economic and societal costs of crashes are staggering, today’s report clearly demonstrates that investments in safety are worth every penny used to reduce the frequency and severity of these tragic events.”
“The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2010”, used various factors in calculating the enormous toll these accidents have on every aspect of society, including property damage, medical/rehabilitation costs, congestion costs, legal fees, emergency services, insurance costs, productivity losses and employer costs. Based on the 2010 calendar year data, the study found that vehicle crashes cost the U.S. economy $277 billion, equating to $900 per every person living in the U.S. When the economic impacts are paired with the social impacts of vehicle crashes, such as harm from the loss of life and decreased quality of life due to injuries, that monetary loss jumps to $871 billion.
Some of the report’s findings include:
- Drunk drivers accounted for 18% of the total economic loss, and cost the nation $49 billion ($158 for every person);
- Speeding vehicles accounted for 21% of economic loss, and cost the nation $59 billion ($191 for every person);
- Distracted driving accounted for 17% of the economic loss and cost the nation $46 billion ($148 for every person); and
- Pedestrian and bicycle-related crashes accounted for 7% of the economic loss and cost the nation $19 billion.
On a positive note, seatbelt usage prevented $69 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other injury-related costs.