New NHTSA Study Shows Motor Vehicle Crashes Have $871 Billion Impact on U.S. Citizens 

The U.S. Depart­ment of Transportation’s Nation­al High­way Traf­fic Safe­ty Admin­is­tra­tion (NHTSA) released a new study that under­scores the high eco­nom­ic toll and soci­etal impact of motor vehi­cle crash­es in the Unit­ed States. The price tag for crash­es comes at a heavy bur­den for Amer­i­cans at $871 bil­lion in eco­nom­ic loss and soci­etal harm.

“No amount of mon­ey can replace the life of a loved one, or stem the suf­fer­ing asso­ci­at­ed with motor vehi­cle crash­es,” said U.S. Sec­re­tary Antho­ny Foxx. “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.”

NHTSA’s new study, The Eco­nom­ic and Soci­etal Impact of Motor Vehi­cle Crash­es, 2010 cites sev­er­al behav­ioral fac­tors as con­tribut­ing to the huge price-tag of road­way crash­es based on the 32,999 fatal­i­ties, 3.9 mil­lion non-fatal injuries, and 24 mil­lion dam­aged vehi­cles that took place in 2010. Key find­ings include:

  • Drunk Dri­ving: Crash­es caused by dri­vers under the influ­ence of alco­hol account­ed for 18 per­cent of the total eco­nom­ic loss due to motor vehi­cle crash­es and cost the nation $49 bil­lion, an aver­age cost of $158 for every per­son in the U.S. Includ­ing lost qual­i­ty of life, these crash­es were respon­si­ble for $199 bil­lion or 23 per­cent of the over­all soci­etal harm caused by motor vehi­cle crash­es. Over 90 per­cent of these costs occurred in crash­es involv­ing a drunk dri­ver with a blood alco­hol con­cen­tra­tion (BAC) of .08 or high­er.
  • Speed­ing: Crash­es involv­ing a speed­ing vehi­cle trav­el­ing over the post­ed speed lim­it or too fast for con­di­tions account­ed for 21 per­cent of the total eco­nom­ic loss and cost the nation $59 bil­lion in 2010, an aver­age cost of $191 for every per­son in the U.S. Includ­ing lost qual­i­ty of life, these crash­es were respon­si­ble for $210 bil­lion or 24 per­cent of the over­all soci­etal harm caused by motor vehi­cle crash­es.
  • Dis­trac­tion: Crash­es involv­ing a dis­tract­ed dri­ver account­ed for 17 per­cent of the total eco­nom­ic loss and cost the nation $46 bil­lion in 2010, an aver­age cost of $148 for every per­son in the U.S. Includ­ing lost qual­i­ty of life, these crash­es were respon­si­ble for $129 bil­lion or 15 per­cent of the over­all soci­etal harm caused by motor vehi­cle crash­es.
  • Pedes­tri­ans and Bicy­clists: Crash­es involv­ing pedes­tri­ans and bicy­clists account­ed for 7 per­cent of the total eco­nom­ic loss and cost the nation $19 bil­lion in 2010. Includ­ing lost qual­i­ty of life, these crash­es were respon­si­ble for $90 bil­lion or 10 per­cent of the over­all soci­etal harm caused by motor vehi­cle crash­es.
  • Seat­belts: Seat­belt use pre­vent­ed $69 bil­lion in med­ical care, lost pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, and oth­er injury relat­ed costs. Con­verse­ly, pre­ventable fatal­i­ties and injuries to unbelt­ed occu­pants account­ed for 5 per­cent of the total eco­nom­ic loss and cost the nation $14 bil­lion in 2010. Includ­ing lost qual­i­ty of life, fail­ure to wear seat­belts caused $72 bil­lion or 8 per­cent of the over­all soci­etal harm caused by motor vehi­cle crash­es.

“We want Amer­i­cans to live long and pro­duc­tive lives, but vehi­cle crash­es all too often make that impos­si­ble,” said NHTSA Act­ing Admin­is­tra­tor David Fried­man. “This new report under­scores the impor­tance of our safe­ty mis­sion and why our efforts and those of our part­ners to tack­le these impor­tant behav­ioral issues and make vehi­cles safer are essen­tial to our qual­i­ty of life and our econ­o­my.”

 

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