Government study reveals the high cost of auto accidents in the US

An NHTSA report showed that auto accidents cost the country $871 billion in 2010. The report also showed the cost of behaviors that often cause accidents.

On May 28, 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report entitled The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010. The report showed the profound economic impact that auto accidents have on the U.S. and the dangerous habits in which drivers engage that typically cause auto accidents.

Economic losses from auto accidents

Researchers working on the report analyzed auto accident data from 2010, which included 32,999 fatalities, 3.9 million injuries and 24 million damaged automobiles. The report revealed that auto accidents caused about $871 billion dollars in losses that year. Actual economic losses from the accidents accounted for $271 billion, or about $900 per person living in the U.S.

The other $594 billion was from harm to society, loss of life, pain and lower quality of life because of injuries. The report noted that about $200 billion of the costs of harm to society, such as emergency services expenses, court costs, insurance administrative costs and congestion-related costs are paid by society as a whole through taxes, insurance premiums and increased travel costs.

The total cost of auto accidents was equal to 1.9 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product for the U.S. in 2010.

Dangerous driving behaviors lead to losses

The report identified some of the behaviors that accounted for most auto accidents and the costs associated with those accidents. Speeding caused the most economic harm, amounting to 21 percent of all monetary losses from auto accidents, costing society $59 billion. Impaired driving accounted for 18 percent of economic losses, amounting to $49 billion. Distracted driving was responsible for 17 percent, or $46 billion, of the economic losses from auto accidents. Preventable deaths and injuries attributable to lack of seatbelt use cost the nation $14 billion, which was 5 percent of the total economic loss.

Dealing with auto accidents

As the report shows, the losses from auto accidents go beyond damage to vehicles and medical bills to treat injuries. As such, it is important for those who are involved in auto accidents to have the assistance of a skilled auto accident attorney to help them recover fully for all of their losses. If you have been involved in an auto accident, contact an experienced auto accident lawyer who can advocate for your interests, deal with insurance companies and help you collect just and proper compensation.