Like The Herald Business Journal on Facebook!
The Herald of Everett, Washington
Heraldnet.com

The top local business stories in your email

Contact Us:

Josh O'Connor
Publisher
Phone: 425-339-3007
joconnor@heraldnet.com

Jody Knoblich
General Sales Manager
Phone: 425-339-3445
Fax: 425-339-3049
jknoblich@heraldnet.com

Jim Davis
Editor
Phone: 425-339-3097
jdavis@heraldnet.com

Site address:
1800 41st Street, S-300,
Everett, WA 98203

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 930
Everett, WA 98206

HBJ RSS feeds

Report: Car, truck crashes cost whopping $871B

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
By Joan Lowy
Associated Press
Published:
WASHINGTON — The economic and societal harm from motor vehicle crashes amounted to a whopping $871 billion in a single year, according to a study released Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The study examined the economic toll of car and truck crashes in 2010, when 32,999 people were killed, 3.9 million injured and 24 million vehicles damaged. Those deaths and injuries were similar to other recent years.
Of the total price tag, $277 billion was attributed to economic costs — nearly $900 for every person living in the U.S. that year. Harm from loss of life, pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries was pegged at $594 billion.
The safety agency produces such calculations about once a decade.
The economic cost was the equivalent of nearly 2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product in 2010. Factors contributing to the toll include productivity losses, property damage, and cost of medical and rehabilitation treatment, congestion, legal and court fees, emergency services and insurance administration and costs to employers. Overall, nearly three-quarters of these costs are paid through taxes, insurance premiums and congestion-related costs such as travel delay, excess fuel consumption and increased environmental impacts.
“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 frequency and severity of these tragic events,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.
The size of the impact detailed in the study may help Foxx make his case as he presses Congress to increase the amount the government can fine automakers for safety violations. Penalties currently are capped at $35 million. Foxx is urging that the lid be increased to $300 million, and some senators have endorsed eliminating the limit entirely.
The most prominent recent example of such violations is General Motors’ delayed reporting of ignition-switch failures. GM says 13 people have died in crashes linked to the problem, but the head of the safety agency, David Friedman, says it is likely the final death toll will be higher.
The study cites several behavioral factors that contributed to the enormous price tag created by motor vehicle crashes:
—Alcohol-related driving accounted for $199 billion, or 23 percent.
—Crashes involving a speeding vehicle accounted for $210 billion, or 24 percent.
—Distracted driving accounted for $129 billion, or 15 percent.
—Preventable fatalities and injuries attributable to occupants who weren’t wearing their seatbelts accounted for $72 billion, or 8 percent.
In 2010 alone, over 3,350 people were killed and 54,300 were seriously injured unnecessarily because they failed to wear their seat belts.
“Seat belt non-use represents an enormous lost opportunity for injury prevention,” the report said.

MORE HBJ HEADLINES

CALENDAR

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus

Market roundup