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Cost of car crashes shows importance of safety measures

Robert W Munley IIIAccording to a new study released by the U.S. Department of Transportations National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the price tag of car crashes comes at a heavy burden for Americans at $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm. This includes $277 billion in economic costs, nearly $900 for each person living in the U.S., and $594 billion in harm from loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries.

The study was based on 2010 statistics, which included a staggering 32,999 motor vehicle crash fatalities, 3.9 million non-fatal injuries, and 24 million damaged vehicles. We all know that no amount of money can replace the loss of a loved one or the pain and suffering when you are critically injured in a car crash. These figures show us the importance of a greater investment in vehicle safety, driver education and awareness, and also road safety.

The NHTSA’s study cited the following as contributing factors:

  • Speeding: Crashes caused by a speeding vehicle accounted for 21% of the total economic loss due to crashes, costing the nation $59 billion. These crashes were responsible for $210 billion or 24% of the overall societal harm caused by motor vehicle crashes.
  • Drunk Driving: Crashes caused by drunk drivers accounted for 18% of the total economic loss, costing the nation $49 billion. These crashes were responsible for $199 billion or 23% of the overall societal harm caused by motor vehicle crashes.
  • Distracted Driving: Crashes involving a distracted driver accounted for 17% of the total economic loss, costing the nation $46 billion. These crashes were responsible for $129 billion or 15% of the overall societal harm caused by crashes.
  • Pedestrians and Bicyclists: Crashes involving this group accounted for 7% of the total economic losses, costing the nation $19 billion. They were responsible for $90 billion or 10% of the overall societal harm.
  • Seatbelts: Preventable fatalities and injuries to unbelted occupants accounted for 5% of the total economic loss and cost the nation $14 billion. Failure to wear seatbelts caused $72 billion or 8% of the overall societal harm caused by motor vehicle crashes. On a brighter note regarding seatbelts, seatbelt use prevented $69 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other injury related costs.

These factors above show us that there are several things we can do as drivers to lessen the frequency of crashes and be overall safer drivers. They include wearing a seat belt at all times and requiring that all passengers in the vehicle wear their seatbelts as well, following the posted speed limits, keeping our full attention on the road and the vehicles around us at all times, paying attention to pedestrians and bicyclists that may also be sharing the road, and never drinking and driving. Click here to view the full NHTSA report entitled The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes.

If you have been injured in car accident, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys at 855-866-5529.

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