Motor vehicle crashes in Michigan cost more than crime: report

August 31, 2011

Ann Arbor, MI – In the state of Michigan, the cost of traffic crashes exceeds the cost of crime, according to a report (.pdf file) released Aug. 22 by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Using 2009 data, researchers found that traffic crashes and index crimes – which include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft – cost more than $6.7 billion annually. The majority of that cost – $4.8 billion – resulted from motor vehicle crashes.

Costs analyzed included medical care, future earnings, public services, and property damage and loss. When the data was expanded to include non-monetary quality-of-life costs such as pain, suffering and fear, that figure was even higher – with traffic crashes resulting in $9.1 billion in total costs, compared with $4.7 billion for index crimes.

However, researchers also found that between 2004 and 2009, the monetary cost of motor vehicle crashes decreased 19 percent and comprehensive costs dropped 27 percent. During that same time period, traffic fatalities decreased 25 percent and injuries fell 29 percent.