Study: Car Wrecks Cost Americans $300 Billion Annually

November 3, 2011

The costs of motor vehicle crashes is three times higher than the costs associated with traffic congestion, according to a study examining the costs of vehicle crashes released today by AAA.

The study examined the relationship between congestion and crashes to determine the relative economic impact by using figures provided by the Texas Transportation Institute 2010 mobility report data. The report found that the cost of motor vehicle crashes totaled $299.5 billion versus the $97.7 billion costs associated with traffic congestion.

According to the study conducted for AAA by Cambridge Systematics, the overall cost of crashes equates to an annual per person cost of $1,522, compared to $590 per person annually for congestion.

“The burdens associated with congestion are top of mind for many Americans as they travel to and from work each day,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “However, at $300 billion annually, crashes cost our society more than three times the amount of congestion. This report further underscores the importance of a long-term, multi-year federal transportation bill that will provide the necessary and sustained investments that lead to better and safer roads for all Americans.”

The cost of crashes are based on the Federal Highway Administration’s comprehensive costs for traffic fatalities and injuries that assign a dollar value to a variety of components, including medical and emergency services, lost earnings and household production, property damage, and lost quality of life, among other things.

The study found that as the size of the city increased so did the cost of the crash; however, cities with less congested roadways experienced fewer but more severe crashes.

Source: AAA

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