AAA: Crashes cost society $299.5 billion annually

November 9, 2011

Washington – Annual “society costs” of traffic crashes total $299.5 billion – a figure 3 times more than the annual societal cost of traffic congestion, indicates a recently released AAA report (.pdf file).

Researchers based the costs of crashes on 11 components, including medical care, lost earnings, legal and administrative costs, and property damage. They pointed to a “culture of complacency” as a major barrier to reducing societal crash costs.

Specific recommendations in the report include:

  • Focus on safety as a “national priority.”
  • Invest in proven ways to increase driving safety.
  • Pass and enforce laws to govern driving behavior, such as safety belt requirements.
  • Implement strategic highway safety plans at the state level.
  • Aim for zero fatalities as a “national goal.”

AAA also provided recommendations to increase communication and collaboration among traffic safety stakeholders, and emphasized the importance of using “performance-based planning.”