The Associated Press has reported that the economic and societal harm from motor vehicle crashes amounted to a whopping $871 billion in a single year, according to a study recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study examined the economic toll of car and truck crashes in 2010, when 32,999 people were killed, 3.9 million injured and 24 million vehicles damaged. Of the total price tag, $277 billion was attributed to economic costs- nearly $900 for every person living in the United States that year. Harm from the loss of life, pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries was pegged at $594 billion. “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 frequency and severity of these tragic events,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.
The study cites several behavioral factors that contributed to the enormous price tag created by motor vehicle crashes:
• Alcohol-related driving accounted for $199 billion, or 23 percent.
• Crashes involving a speeding vehicle accounted for $210 billion, or 24 percent.
• Distracted driving accounted for $129 billion, or 15 percent.
• Preventable fatalities and injuries attributable to occupants who weren’t wearing their seat belts accounted for $72 billion, or 8 percent.