The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, or NHTSA, recently announced the results of a study aimed at determining the cost, in dollars and cents, of car crashes in the United States each year. Anyone who has been injured in a motor vehicle collision, or who has lost a loved one to a crash, knows the personal cost of a motor vehicle accident; however, the figures released by the NHTSA are nothing short of staggering.
According to the NHTSA study, The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010, the cost of the price tag for motor vehicle crashes in a single year in the United States came in at $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm. Economic costs alone, which are costs associated with out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills and lost wages, was $277 billion. To put that number on perspective crashes cost each living person in the United States during the year in question (2010) almost $900 – and that figure doesn’t even include the larger costs associated with the loss of life, pain and suffering, motor vehicle accidents caused that year. These non-economic damages cost Americans $594 billion in 2010.
The NHTSA study looked at motor vehicle collisions from 2010 that collectively resulted in 32,999 fatalities, 3.9 million non-fatal injuries, and 24 million damaged vehicles. The study went on to break down the costs associated with specific driving behaviors that represent the leading causes of accidents on the nation’s roadways. Some of those key findings include:
- Drunk Driving – driving under the influence remains a leading cause of accidents in the U.S. each year, representing 18 percent of the total economic loss due to crashes in 2010. Drunk driving accidents cost the nation $49 billion, or an average of $158 per person in 2010. When the overall societal harm in the form of loss of life and diminished quality of life is factored in these collisions cost Americans $199 billion and represented 23 percent of the overall societal harm caused by collisions in 2010.
- Speeding – speed-related collision cost the nation $59 billion in economic losses, or $191 per person, and represented 21 percent of the economic losses. When the lost quality of life is included these crashes cost the nation $210 billion and represented 24 percent of all collisions.
- Distracted Driving – The nation spent $46 billion on the economic costs associated with distracted driving collisions or an average of $148 per person. Distracted driving collisions represented 17 percent of all economic losses. When the lost quality of life is factored in distracted driving cost Americans $129 billion and accounted for 15 percent of all collisions in 2010.
No amount of compensation is worth being injured in a crash or losing a loved one to a motor vehicle accident in San Diego; however, if you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle collision, or have lost a loved one to a collision, you may be entitled to compensation for those injuries or loss. Contact an experienced San Diego car accident attorney to discuss your legal options. We can help you recover from your personal injuries.