The Staggering Toll of Car Crashes

According to a new study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, highway crashes cost the United States nearly $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm every year.

In a breakdown of this cost, the report found that all together, crashes cost $277 billion in economic loss or $900 per person living in the United States, and $594 billion in societal harm, from the loss of life and pain and the decreased quality of life because of crash-related injuries.

In a statement obtained by USA Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated, “No amount of money can replace the life of a loved one, or stem the suffering associated with motor vehicle crashes. 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 the frequency and severity of these tragic events.”

According to an article by USA Today, in a similar study published by AAA in 2011, the popular auto club found that each fatal crash in 99 urban areas carries an economic toll of about $6 million. The estimate, according to USA Today, was based on Federal Highway Administration data that place dollar values on 11 components including property damage; lost earnings; loss of household activities; medical costs; emergency services; travel delays; vocational rehabilitation; lost time at work; administrative costs; legal costs; and pain and lost quality of life.

Similarly, NHTSA’s study, “The Economic and Society Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010,” centers on some of the behavioral factors that contributed to that year’s nearly 33,000 highway fatalities, 3.9 million injuries and 24 million damaged vehicles. Three driver behaviors according to the study-speeding, drunken driving and distracted driving-accounted for 56% of the economic loss to the nation and 62% of the societal harm.

The breakdown (obtained by USA Today):

1. Speeding: Crashes involving vehicles exceeding the speed limit or going too fast for conditions accounted for 21% of the total economic loss and cost $59 billion. These crashes were responsible for $210 billion – or 24% — of the overall societal harm.

2. Drunken driving: Crashes caused by drivers operating under the influence of alcohol accounted for 18% of the total economic loss from automobile wrecks and cost the nation $49 billion. These crashes were responsible for $199 billion – or 23% — of the overall societal harm.

3. Distracted Driving: Crashes involving a distracted driver accounted for 17% of the total economic loss and cost $46 billion. These crashes were responsible for $129 billion – or 15% — of the overall societal harm.

“We want Americans to live long and productive lives, but vehicle crashes all too often make that impossible,” NHTSA’s acting administrator David Friedman said in a statement. “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.”


With travel in our nation at an all-time high, our society is constantly threatened by and plagued with car accidents. Being the victim of an auto accident not only takes an emotional toll on a person, but a financial toll as well. Often victims of car accidents are left wondering what the right thing to do is after an accident and raise questions like:

• Who is responsible for paying medical expenses if I’m hurt?
• Who pays for the damage to my car?
• Am I eligible for filing a claim?
• How do I collect lost wages if my injury prevents me from returning to work?
• What if the accident was a hit-and-run?
• What if the responsible party’s insurance company says the accident was my fault?

At the law offices of Altman & Altman, our team of experienced Car Accident Attorneys has nearly 50 years handling all types of car accident cases-from minor fender-benders to major accidents that cause serious injury. In addition to having a reputation for helping our clients achieve successful verdicts and substantial compensation, we pride ourselves on delivering legal counsel of the highest quality, so that our clients may rest-assured that their claim will be settled in a timely and efficient manner. In addition to the outstanding legal representation our clients receive, we have the resources to help clients access some of the best medical care in the Commonwealth.

If you or a loved one was recently injured in a car accident, and are unsure of what your next step should be, contact one of our esteemed attorneys to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation. Our attorneys are available around the clock to address any and all concerns you have regarding your case and stand ready to fight for the compensation you deserve.

To read the full original article by USA Today, click here.

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