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NHTSA discloses true costs of motor vehicle crashes

Ohio readers may be interested to learn that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three-quarters of all motor vehicle accident costs are paid by those not even directly involved in a crash. These costs are incurred primarily through taxes, insurance premiums and travel delays. Additional information from the NHTSA reports that in 2010, crashes cost the U.S. nearly $1 trillion in loss of life and productivity.

The Insurance Research Council reports that even though the severity of injuries in accidents is declining, medical costs for injuries in car accidents are increasing faster than the rate of inflation. In the period from 2007 to 2012, personal injury protection claims increased by 8 percent annually for lost wages, medical care and other out-of-pocket expenses. Over that period, the percentage of claimants with no obvious signs of injury and those who returned to normal activity within 10 days increased, attesting to injury severity reduction.

Alcohol-related accidents accounted for 31 percent of all crash fatalities in 2012. In addition to being driving-impaired, 42 percent of the intoxicated drivers who caused a fatal accident were also speeding. Other causes of traffic accidents are driver fatigue, running red lights, driver distraction and cell phone usage.

An additional consideration, beyond the costs to the society as a whole, is the direct cost to a person who has been injured and has had property damaged by a negligent driver. Many injured drivers, occupants and pedestrians choose to discuss the circumstances of an accident with a personal injury attorney. The attorney may review the details of the incident and advise the injured person on steps to consider in order to recover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs and lost wages.

Source: Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, "Cost of Auto Crashes & Statistics", October 10, 2014

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