The Cost of Traffic Accidents in America: $340 Billion in 2019

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a report called “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2019.”

According to the report, the costs of one year of vehicle crashes resulted in an estimated 36,500 deaths, 4.5 million injuries, and 23 million damaged vehicles. This cost approximately $340 billion dollars. That’s the equivalent of $1,035 per person in the United States. Add in quality-of-life valuations and the total value of societal harm from crashes in 2019 was nearly $1.4 trillion.

What Traffic Accidents Cost

Taxpayers spent about $30 billion on traffic accidents in 2019, which is about 95 of all motor vehicle accident costs. That’s the equivalent of $230 in additional taxes for every United States household. Individuals who are directly involved in car accidents pay for about three-quarters of crash costs through insurance premiums, taxes, and costs related to congestion like lost time and excess fuel consumption.

Losses include medical costs, productivity, legal/court costs, insurance administration costs, property damage, workplace losses, emergency service costs, and congestion costs. The report includes data from a range of crashes, both those reported to police and some that were not reported.

These numbers help highlight how devastating motor vehicle crashes can be for victims as well as American society. Decreasing the number of and severity of accidents is important.

New Data on Risky Driving Behavior

The report showed the value of wearing your seat belt. Between 1975 and 2019, wearing seat belts saved more than 400,000 lives and prevented $17.8 trillion in societal harm.

It also examined the role that risky driving behaviors play in traffic accidents. Alcohol-related crashes caused 14,219 deaths and 497,000 injuries in 2019. Crashes with drivers with alcohol levels of .08 BAC or higher are responsible for more than 90% of the economic costs and societal harm from accidents attributed to alcohol use.

Driving distracted was also a major issue. It resulted in over 10,000 deaths and 1.3 million nonfatal injuries. Failure to wear a seat belt led to 2,400 fatalities that could have been prevented as well as 46,000 serious injuries.

Speed-related crashes were another problem area associated with over 10,000 fatalities and 498,000 nonfatal injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.