NEWS Traffic accidents cost U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars annually, NHTSA reports

Traffic accidents cost U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars annually, NHTSA reports

Financial Impact of a Car Accident

In the new report, officials reviewed data from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, Crash Investigation Sampling System and Crash Reporting Sampling System to estimate the cost of crashes in 2019. The researchers then calculated the average cost of car crash-related medical expenses, lost productivity, legal and court costs, emergency services costs, insurance administration costs, traffic congestion costs, property damage, and workplace losses. Cumulatively, the estimated financial impact of crashes in 2019 totaled $340 billion.

The costs even go to those not involved in the crash, with NHTSA reporting that individuals not directly involved in the crash pay about three-quarters of the cost of a crash, costed in the form of increased insurance premiums, taxes, lost time, fuel burnt , and increase the impact on the environment.

“Traffic accidents cost taxpayers $30 billion in 2019, accounting for approximately 9 percent of all motor vehicle accident costs,” NHTSA said in a release. “That equates to an extra $230 in taxes for every family in the United States.”

However, the report found that the impact on quality of life was much higher, with the societal harm from motor vehicle accidents worth $1.4 trillion in 2019.

Preventable Causes of Car Accidents

The report states that approximately $224 billion in the financial cost of crashes is attributable to dangerous driving behaviors that lead to crashes that often result in death, serious injury and property damage.

  • alcohol related accident Accounted for 20% of all accident costs, resulting in 14,219 fatalities, 497,000 injuries and an economic cost of $68.9 billion.
  • distracted driving accident Accounted for approximately 29 percent of all crash costs, resulting in 10,546 deaths, 1.3 million non-fatal injuries and $98.2 billion in economic losses.
  • Not wearing a seat belt Accounting for only about 3% of all accident costs, they were responsible for 2,400 avoidable fatalities, 46,000 serious injuries and cost society $11 billion in preventable injury-related costs.
  • Speeding Accounted for 14 percent of all economic costs, associated with 10,192 deaths, 498,000 non-fatal injuries and an economic cost of $46 billion.

“This report clearly demonstrates the devastation that traffic crashes have on families and the economic burden they place on society,” NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said in a news release. Safer systems approach to dramatically reduce the number and severity of crashes: safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better post-crash care.”

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