The cost of a car accident cannot ever truly be measured by victims who suffer permanent injuries or families who lose loved ones. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a new study designed to demonstrate the economic and societal impact that motor vehicle collisions have on U.S. citizens.
Victims of motor vehicle collisions shouldn’t have to pay for the financial costs of the damage they endure. An experienced Charleston car accident lawyer can help those who have been harmed in motor vehicle collisions to pursue a claim for monetary compensation.
The Economic Impact of Car Crashes
According to the NHTSA, motor vehicle collisions have an $871 billion economic and societal impact on U.S. citizens. The economic cost alone is $277 billion, which is the equivalent of a full 1.9 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 2010 and amounts to almost $900 for every single person living in the United States.
The remainder of the cost, around $594 billion, comes from decreased quality of life, pain and suffering of accident victims and their family members, and loss of life. These costs are based on 32,999 fatalities, 2.9 million injuries and 24 million damaged vehicles in 2010.
Unfortunately, many of these costs are incurred as a direct result of motor vehicle accidents that should be easily prevented. For example, crashes that were caused by impaired drivers accounted for 18 percent of the total amount of economic loss that occurred due to car accidents. The average cost of drunk driving crashes totaled around $158 per person in the U.S. and drunk drivers cost the nation a total of $49 billion in losses. When factoring in the lost quality of life and other societal harm, the cost of drunk driving crashes was $199 billion. This is 23 percent of the total societal harm that motor vehicle collisions caused.
Speeding is another type of driver behavior that is dangerous and costly. The economic loss caused by speeding was $59 billion in 2010, which averages out to $191 per person in the United States. When lost life and societal costs were factored in, the crashes cost $210 billion and accounted for 24 percent of all societal harm resulting from motor vehicle accidents.
Finally, driver distraction was another big driver of costs. Distracted drivers accounted for 17 percent of the total economic loss that occurred and came at a cost of $46 billion in economic expenditures and $129 billion of overall societal harm. This means the crashes cost an average of $148 per person in economic harm and were responsible for 15 percent of overall damage to society that motor vehicle accidents caused.
If drivers would simply stop driving drunk, focus on the roads and go the speed limit, billions could be saved and thousands of needless deaths and injuries could be prevented. Those injured or family members of loved ones killed in collisions caused by careless drivers need to take legal action to be compensated for their losses. An experienced Charleston injury lawyer can help.