NHTSA: Motor vehicle crashes have $871 billion impact

Washington – Motor vehicle crashes cost Americans $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm in 2010, according to a new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

That price tag includes $594 billion tied to loss of life and pain and decreased quality of life due to injuries. It also accounts for $277 billion in economic costs such as productivity loss, property damage, and medical and legal costs – nearly $900 per U.S. resident.

The study cites crashes involving drunk driving, speeding, distraction, pedestrians and bicyclists, and failure to use safety belts as factors that contributed to the high cost of roadway crashes. Of those factors, speeding was responsible for the highest percentage of economic loss and societal harm: Crashes that involved a vehicle traveling faster than the posted speed limit or too fast for conditions cost the nation $59 billion in 2010 and accounted for 21 percent of the total economic loss caused by motor vehicle crashes. Crashes involving speeding also cost $210 billion or 24 percent of overall societal harm.