By Nora Naughton, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (May 30, 2014) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that the total economic cost of car crashes in the U.S. rose 20 percent from a decade before to $277 billion for the 33,000 deaths and 3.9 million injuries that occurred in 2010.
That economic cost includes $34.9 billion in medical costs, $76.1 billion in property damage losses, $93.1 billion in lost productivity and $28 billion in congestion impacts, the agency said in a report May 29. The cost represents about $897 for each U.S. citizen and 1.9 percent of the $14.96 trillion gross domestic product in 2010, it said.
On top of the $277 billion in total economic costs, NHTSA said costs for the loss of life and decreased quality of life because of injuries totaled $594 billion, making the total survey of costs $870.8 billion.
The study showed that distracted-driving crashes in 2010 accounted for 17 percent of the total economic loss, costing citizens $46 billion, and 15 percent of the overall societal harm from lost quality of life. The cost of crashes caused by drunken drivers represented 18 percent of the total economic loss, costing citizens $49 billion, and over 90 percent of those costs occurred in accidents involving drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
The NHTSA study found that the cost of crashes caused by driving faster than the posted speed limit or too fast for conditions was 21 percent of the total economic loss, costing the nation $59 billion.