The cost of traffic crashes

Traffic Crashes Cost Americans $900 Per Person

For the first time since 2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has completed a study on the economic cost of traffic crashes in the US. Even though the number of traffic deaths per year have declined, the costs of those crashes have increased. According to NHTSA, the total cost of traffic crashes is $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm. Broken down, those costs include $277 billion in economic costs (almost $900 for every person living in the US) and $594 billion in harm from the loss of life and the pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries.

One may wonder how these costs impact individual Americans who drive safely and never have a crash. Even if you have a safe driving record, you still pay for these costs in the following ways:

  • Taxes – Paying for police and fire rescue, courts costs, replacing damaged highway guard rails and light poles, uninsured medical costs, and disability payments all adds up.
  • Insurance – Even though you may be a safe driver, your insurance rates are based on the risk of traffic crashes in your area. If you live in an area with heavy traffic and lots of crashes, your insurance rates will be higher.
  • Lost productivity – If you’ve ever been stuck on the freeway and were late for work or missed an important meeting or if you’ve ever had to pick up the workload for another employee who is out because of a crash, you paid because time is money. Sitting in a running car while waiting for a crash to clear burns gas and causes wear and tear on a vehicle.Those costs can be hard to determine but they cost nevertheless.

The NHTSA report also shows how how much individual driving behaviors such as distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and seatbelt use cost.