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Motor Vehicle Accidents; What is the Real Cost?

written by: •edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 5/24/2010

Car accidents are part of driving and almost everyone has been in a fender bender at the very least. What is the cost to industry of motor vehicle accidents and how much do car accidents really cost? You’ll find some surprising statistics here.

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    Car Accident Statistics

    Auto Stoped Highway Wikimedia Commons Search for car accident statistics on the Internet and you’ll find many by state, and even country. The US Census Bureau keeps track of vehicle accidents and fatalities in many categories including by state, by severity, by cause, and even by type, such as a rollover accident.

    According to CNN Money online, US car accidents cost $164.2 billion annually and the cost to each driver is approximately $1,000 a year. Surprisingly, CNN Money included a survey conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute that revealed, “Traffic congestion costs the nation $67.6 billion each year, or $430 per person,” much lower than car accidents themselves, yet people seem angrier at traffic congestion.

    Robert L. Darbelnet, President of the AAA Motor Club told CNN Money that over 43,000 people die each year from car accidents. He further offered, even with all these deaths, “the annual tally (cost) of motor vehicle-related fatalities barely registers as a blip in most people’s minds.”

    As far as cost to industry of motor vehicle accidents, Darbelnet pointed out that, “Urban areas with more than 3 million residents pay two times the cost of congestion for crashes, while in areas with less than 500,000 residents, the cost of car crashes rises to 7 times the cost of congestion.”

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    The Cost of Car Accidents

    It’s hard to determine the cost of car accidents, especially because there are so many kinds from fender benders to rollovers, to totaled car accidents to fatalities. Further, if a person involved in a car accident can’t come to a resolution with insurance companies, often the cost of attorneys are involved—true even more if a fatality happens.

    On the average, however, the cost to industry of motor vehicle accidents per person in the US is $1,051 according to the AAA Motor Club. The 2000 US Census reports that approximately 300 million people live in the US so if you do the math the cost per person is astronomical.

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    Other Areas Car Accidents Affect

    Most may think car accidents only affect the cost to repair cars, medical costs, or lawsuits, but that’s not the case. Insurance premiums rise when car accidents occur making insurance premium rates at an all time high.

    The health care industry is affected by people being treated from injuries caused by accidents meaning you’ll pay more out of pocket each year for medical services or health care insurance premiums.

    When considering the cost to industry of motor vehicle accidents, the price tags of new vehicles goes up. Why? The consumer demand for safety features, which means higher sticker prices on all types of new vehicles for sale.

    Through local, state, and federal review of where accidents occur most, improvements to roads and traffic signals are often needed meaning more taxes coming out of our pockets.

    The next time you think about what the true cost of an auto accident really is, consider learning safe driving tips and teaching your children the same. The more responsible we all become when behind the wheel is really the only way to reduce the cost of car accidents.

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    Resources

    Resources:

    • CNN Money Online (5/22/10) - http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/05/news/economy/AAA_study/
    • US Census Bureau (5/22/10 -http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/transportation/motor_vehicle_accidents_and_fatalities.html

    Image Credit:

    • Auto Stopped Highway / Wikimedia Commons