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Crashes cost USA $871bn in 2010

The US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a new study that underscores the high economic toll and societal impact of motor vehicle crashes in the USA. The report says the price tag for crashes is US$871bn in economic loss and societal harm, which includes US$277bn in economic costs and US$594bn in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries. This equates to nearly US$900 for each person living in the USA and is based on 2010 calendar year data. The 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, 3.9m non-fatal injuries, and 24m damaged vehicles that took place during the course of the year.

The key findings of the study, include: crashes caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol accounted for 18% of the total economic loss due to motor vehicle crashes and cost the nation $49bn and including lost quality of life, were responsible for $199bn (23%) of the overall societal harm; crashes involving a speeding vehicle accounted for 21% of the total economic loss ($59bn) and were responsible for $210bn (24%) of the overall societal harm; distracted driver crashes accounted for 17% of the total economic loss ($46bn) and were responsible for 15% ($129bn) of the overall societal harm; and crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 7% of the total economic loss ($19bn) and were responsible for 10% ($90bn) of the overall societal harm.

“No amount of money can replace the life of a loved one, or stem the suffering associated with motor vehicle crashes,” said US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx. “While the economic and societal costs of crashes are staggering, this report clearly demonstrates that investments in safety are worth every penny used, to reduce the frequency and severity of these tragic events.” NHTSA Acting Administrator, David Friedman, commented, “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.”

June 2, 2014

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