Obviously, an automobile accident takes a physical and emotional toll on all those involved. But, according to a recent study done by NHTSA, car accidents also have a large economic toll on the U.S.
The study suggest that car accidents cost an estimated $871 billion per year in economic loss as well as societal harm. They broke down the cost as follows; $277 billion in the economic costs and $594 billion related to the cost of life-long injuries, loss of life, and chronic pain.
Because of these costs, NHTSA is urging continued research to develop safety measures to decrease the likelihood of car accidents.
The study done by NHTSA took a look at both car accidents and truck accidents that had occurred in 2010. They found that a total of 32,999 people were killed; estimated 3.9 million were injured; and 24 million vehicles had been damaged. These numbers of injuries and deaths had been similar in recent years, but NHTSA only produces this data once every ten years.
The most common causes for car accidents were; 1) speeding; 2) drunk driving; and 3) distracted driving. We have written recently about distracted driving (both distractions inside the car and outside of the car) in the Library section of our website. That list, originally from the NHTSA website, was focused more on teen driving and distractions, but these distractions affect everyone driving.
Speeding accounted for 21% of the total economic loss, drunk driving accounted for 18% of total economic loss and 23% societal loss and distracted driving was accountable for 17% of the total economic loss and 15% of societal loss. These percentages seem low, but when put into dollar amounts, the cost are relatively high.
Accidents can avoided. How? By following the Rules of the Road and focusing on safety. Good driving habits could be, not using a cell phone while driving (even using a headset can be considered driving while distracted), pay attention to the roads and signs--making sure your are following the rules of the road, and avoiding aggressive driving behavior. For more information on practicing better driving habits head over to www.nhtsa.gov.
If you have been injured in a car accident and would like a free and confidential consult, give us a call at (202) 393-3200 or send us and email at [email protected]. See if we can help you with your case. If we can't, we'll recommend someone who can, or give you information so you can handle it yourself. And don't forget your get your FREE copy of The Ultimate Guide to Accidents Cases in the DC Metro Area.