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Car Crashes Are A Serious Economic Problem

A study of impact of auto accidents in 2010 reveals the extent of the damage nationwide. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently completed a study analyzing the economic and societal impact of all motor vehicle crashes in a given year. The total "cost" of all the crashes in 2010 came to $871 billion. Car crashes claimed $277 billion in economic costs alone, ignoring the impact of lost lives and serious injuries.

The real cost of an accident can be difficult to calculate. The study used a formula to determine the value of lost quality of life, pain and suffering and the loss of life in cases involving fatal car accidents. In 2010, there were 32,999 fatal crashes on American roads. For the families who lost wives, husbands, children and parents, the impact goes beyond medical bills and lost income. It is an incalculable loss.

The study broke down costs based on several common factors. Drunk driving was found to be the source of 18 percent of the total economic loss. Distracted driving was responsible for 17 percent of the cost. Even more common were accidents caused by vehicles going over the speed limit, or too fast for the driving conditions. These accidents accounted for 21 percent of the total economic loss.

Among the costs included in the study were loss of productivity, property damage, medical cost, rehabilitation cost, legal and court fees, emergency services, costs associated with increased congestion, insurance related costs, impact on employers and more.

Source: Click On Detroit, "NHTSA: Car crashes have $871 billion impact on economy, society," 29 May 2014

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