Although most people think about how much car accidents cost, very few people consider the actual impact of car wrecks on the overall economy. A recent study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2010 alone, U.S. citizens paid around $871 billion in economic costs and societal harm from vehicle accidents.
These numbers include $277 billion in direct economic costs when you disregard the impact of lost lives and serious injuries. This comes out to a cost of almost $900 per person in the United States. Even still, these costs do not account for the other costs that after a wreck. The study created a formula to determine the value of lost quality of life, pain and suffering, and the loss of life in cases involving fatal car accidents, but it is never easy to give these numbers their full significance.
In 2010, there were 32,999 fatal crashes in the United States. For the families who lost loved ones, the impact goes beyond medical bills, lost income, loss of productivity, property damage, rehabilitation costs, legal and court fees, emergency services, and other factors calculated in the study. The emotional loss is incalculable. Furthermore, everyone loses money by dealing with the results of car wrecks including traffic congestion, insurance premiums, and taxes associated with accidents.
How We Can Minimize the Impact of Car Accidents on the Economy
If you extrapolate this one year of data, car accidents have cost us billions in just the last ten years alone. It is clear that we must seriously consider how to minimize the costs associated with car wrecks. According to the 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.”
The study examined costs based on several common causes for accidents. Drunk driving was the source of 18 percent of the total economic loss, and distracted driving was similarly responsible for 17 percent. Speeding was an even more widespread cause, accounting for 21 percent of the total economic loss caused by car accidents. All of these factors are preventable. It is easy to see how effective safety measures from the NHTSA could minimize the impact on the economy and further benefit us all.
In the meantime, we must each individually do our share to shoulder the economic burden of car accidents and drive safely. However, if you are personally involved in a car accident, it helps to have an experienced professional on your side to mitigate the damages you have suffered. If you were the victim of a traumatic car accident, you should get in touch with Van Sant Law as soon as possible. Contact us at any time for a free consultation to learn about your options.