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How Much Are Traffic Crashes Costing America?

Toy cars in a T-bone accident on a background of 100 dollar bills and stacks of golden coins.

Understanding the financial impact of car accidents

If you’ve been involved in a roadway crash, you likely know how much the expenses add up firsthand. But most drivers who haven’t been hurt in a collision likely aren’t aware of the indirect financial impact crashes in the United States have. A recent report by the National Highway Safety Administration demonstrates the staggering economic impact of traffic crashes on the United States.

The Delaware car accident attorneys at Gill, Welsh, and Chamberlain, P.A. understand the financial and emotional devastation crashes cause. We have fought for the rights of injured motorists and their families since 1983 and have recovered millions of dollars in damages. Read on to learn how the financial impact of crashes may be affecting you.

The high cost of traffic collisions

According to the NHTSA’s Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes report, motor vehicle crashes cost Americans $340 billion in 2019. The report pulled data from crashes that caused property damage, serious injuries, and death. The $340 billion represented $1,035 for each of the 328 million people living in the United States. The report also found that motor vehicle crashes in 2019 cost taxpayers $30 billion.

The costs represented in the report include:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost productivity
  • Legal and court costs
  • Insurance expenses
  • Emergency services
  • Property damage
  • Workplace losses
  • Congestion costs

The $340 billion is only the tip of the iceberg. When loss of quality of life was factored in, the total cost came to nearly $1.4 trillion.

Leading causes of crashes in the US

So, what’s causing all these crashes and injuries? According to the NHTSA, the four leading causes include:

  • Drunk driving: Roughly 20% of crash costs in 2019 were alcohol-related. Drunk driving resulted in over 14,000 fatalities, 497,000 injuries, and about $68.9 billion in crash-related costs. Of the crashes involving alcohol, 90% involved a driver with a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
  • Distraction: About 29% of all crash costs in 2019 involved a distracted driver. Distracted driving resulted in more than 10,500 deaths, 1.3 million non-fatal injuries, and over $98 in economic costs.
  • Not wearing a seatbelt: About 2,400 people died in crashes after not wearing a seatbelt. Another 46,000 people sustained severe injuries. The total cost linked to failure to wear a seatbelt totaled $11 billion.
  • Speeding: Speeding resulted in over 10,000 fatalities and about 498,000 injuries in 2019, costing Americans $46 billion. This accounted for 14% of all crash-related economic costs and an average of $141 per citizen.

The good news is the crash fatality rate in America has declined drastically over the last 30 years. The bad news is progress has slowed within the last decades, especially during 2020 and 2021.

Contact our Georgetown, Delaware, car accident attorneys for a free consultation.

Crash-related injuries and fatalities not only cost a lot of money but also take an emotional toll on victims and their families. If you sustain an injury in a crash or lose a loved one, you shouldn’t have to foot the bill because of someone else’s negligence.

That’s why the legal team at Gill, Welsh, and Chamberlain, P.A. is dedicated to helping injured motorists get the justice they deserve. We go above and beyond to investigate traffic crashes and gather evidence to help our clients build strong cases. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

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