Highway Crashes cost America hundreds of billions of dollars every year according to a new report from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The study, “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2019,” looked at the economic costs of highway crashes in a year in which more than 36,500 people died on the nation;’s highways and an estimated 4.5 million were injured.
“This report drives home just how devastating traffic crashes are for families and the economic burden they place on society,” said Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s Acting Administrator. “We need to use the safe system approach embraced in DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy to dramatically decrease the number and severity of crashes: safer roads, safer people, safer vehicles, safer speeds, and better post-crash care.”
The report delves into data from several different accidents, ranging from those causing property damage to severe injuries and deaths. The data is compiled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, Crash Investigation Sampling System, and Crash Report Sampling System. Additionally, the report covers car accidents not documented by the police by relying on consumer surveys, onboard observation techniques, and other various resources.
The $340 billion cost of motor vehicle highway crashes translates to more than $1,000 for every person in America and accounts for 1.6% of the $21.4 trillion real U.S. gross domestic product in 2019. This equates to an additional tax of $230 for each household in the United States. And most of the cost is paid by people who weren’t directly involved in car accidents. This “car accident tax” comes in the form of higher insurance premiums, taxes, medical expenses, property damage, and lost time and productivity.