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From Products Liability Law Daily, May 30, 2014

Study shows motor vehicle accidents have $871 billion impact

By Joe Bichl

A new study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that motor vehicle accidents costs the United States $871 billion in both “economic loss and societal harm.” According to the study, entitled “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010,” this includes $277 billion in economic costs and $594 billion in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries.

The study found that the economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in the United States is the equivalent of 1.9 percent of the $14.96 trillion Gross Domestic Product in 2010. The study cites several behavioral factors as contributing to the economic costs of the accidents based on the 32,999 fatalities, 3.9 million non-fatal injuries, and 24 million damaged vehicles that took place in 2010. Factors contributing to the price tag include productivity losses, property damage, medical and rehabilitation costs, congestion costs, legal and court costs, emergency services, insurance administration costs, and the costs to employers. Overall, the study determined that nearly 75 percent of these costs are paid through taxes, insurance premiums, and congestion related costs such as travel delay, excess fuel consumption, and increased environmental impacts.

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.

  • 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.

  • Driver Distraction: Accidents involving a distracted driver accounted for 17 percent of the total economic loss and cost the nation $46 billion in 2010.

  • 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.

  • 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.

"We want Americans to live long and productive lives, but vehicle crashes all too often make that impossible," said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman in an agency news release. "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."

MainStory: TopStory NHTSANewsStory MotorVehiclesNews ReportsandStudiesNews

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