In a one-year period, the cost of medical care and productivity losses associated with injuries from motor vehicle crashes exceeded $99 billion – with the cost of direct medical care accounting for $17 billion.
A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the total annual cost amounts to nearly $500 for each licensed driver in the U.S.
The study in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention found that the one-year costs of fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries totaled $70 billion (71 percent of total costs) for people riding in motor vehicles, such as cars and light trucks, $12 billion for motorcyclists, $10 billion for pedestrians, and $5 billion for bicyclists.
CDC researchers said they used 2005 data because, at the study time, it provided the most current source of national fatal and non-fatal injury and cost data from multiple sources.
The data is for injuries only and does not include costs of vehicle or property damage.
“Every 10 seconds, someone in the United States is treated in an emergency department for crash-related injuries, and nearly 40,000 people die from these injuries each year. This study highlights the magnitude of the problem of crash-related injuries from a cost perspective, and the numbers are staggering,” said Dr. Grant Baldwin, director of CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
The study also found:
- Costs related to fatal motor vehicle-related injuries totaled $58 billion. The cost of non-fatal injuries resulting in hospitalization amounted to $28 billion, and the cost of injuries to people treated in emergency departments and released was $14 billion.
- More men were killed (70 percent) and injured (52 percent) in motor vehicle crashes than women. Injuries and deaths among men represented 74 percent ($74 billion) of all costs.
- Teens and young adults made up 28 percent of all fatal and nonfatal motor vehicle injuries and 31 percent of the costs ($31 billion). These young people represented only 14 percent of the U.S. population.
- Motorcyclists made up 6 percent of all fatalities and injuries but 12 percent of the costs, likely due to the severity of their injuries. Pedestrians, who have no protection when they are hit by vehicles and are also often severely injured, made up 5 percent of all injuries but 10 percent of total costs.
CDC’s Injury Center supports strategies for prevention such as graduated driver licenses, child safety seats, primary seat belt laws, enhanced seat belt enforcement, motorcycle and bicycle helmet laws and sobriety checkpoints.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has details on state-specific safe driving policies and a state-by-state comparison.
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