The Real Costs of Car Crashes
If you have ever been in a car accident, you know how costly and damaging one can be. After paying for damages to your car, medical bills, and maybe even damage to other property, you can be set back thousands of dollars. What most people do not know is the rising cost of daily car accidents across the United States.
Accidents you are not involved in are costing you. Daily, a driver on Texas roads is killed in a fatal car accident. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children, teens, and young adults (ages 5 to 34). 24 million vehicles are damaged every year nationwide and and over 30,000 people are killed each year in traffic accidents in the US.
While we can’t put a cost on a human life, we can get a glimpse of the financial cost of these accidents and fatalities. Much of this cost is absorbed through insurance and can be broken down into several categories – property damage, medical costs and lost wages are the primary costs that result from a car accident in Texas or anywhere else.
Motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. every year have an economic toll of almost $1 trillion.
That includes $277 billion in actual cost, and an estimated $594 billion in “harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries,” a new U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report said.
Studying crashes in the U.S. in 2010, NHTSA counted up 32,999 fatalities, 3.9 million non-fatal injuries and 24 million damaged vehicles in “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2010.”
The sweeping report takes in a lot of ground, particularly in calculating the “quality of life” losses. Among the factors considered in the direct losses of $277 billion, the report said, were $93 billion in lost productivity, $76 billion in property damage, $35 billion in medical expenses, and $28 billion in the costs of traffic-related congestion — like traffic jams and increased air pollution.
The report concluded that drunk driving, speeding and “distraction” were key contributors.
Drunk driving alone, the report said, accounted for 18% of the total economic loss from motor vehicle crashes, costing the economy as much as $199 billion in direct and quality-of-life losses.
Speeding accounted for 21% of the total economic loss, responsible for as much as $210 billion in costs.
Distraction contributed another 17%.
The study concluded that the use of seat belts prevented 12,500 fatalities and 308,000 serious injuries, the study said, as well as $69 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other costs related to auto crash injuries. But the failure to wear seat belts caused $72 billion in losses.