The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says all highway crashes add up to $871 billion — $277 billion a year in economic costs and $594 billion in “societal harm.”
Distracted driving crashes accounted for $46 billion (17 percent) of the total economic losses. The societal harm was put at $129 billion (15 percent) of the societal harm.
Distraction was among the five key factors listed in the report “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010,” released May 28, 2014.
The economic cost of distracted driving crashes came to an average of $148 for every person in the nation, the NHTSA study said.
DOT chief Anthony Foxx said: “While the economic and societal costs of crashes are staggering, today’s report clearly demonstrates that investments in safety are worth every penny used to reduce the frequency and severity of these tragic events.”
The total costs of vehicle crashes came to about 2 percent of the GDP, the NHTSA number crunchers said:
Factors contributing to the price tag include productivity losses, property damage, medical and rehabilitation costs, congestion costs, legal and court costs, emergency services, insurance administration costs, and the costs to employers, among others.
Distraction — “including interior distraction, exterior distraction, and inattention” — was linked to 17.7 percent of all cases where the “critical pre-crash event” was attributed to drivers. In 2010, 3,267 people reportedly were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.
Distracted driving was identified as a factor in about 10 percent of all fatalities and 18 percent of all crashes overall, researchers said. Distraction numbers were “almost certainly conservative” because of issues with incomplete police reporting and a reluctance of drivers to self-report the behavior, the study said.
Other factors broken out in the study were drunk driving, speeding, pedestrians/bicyclists and seat belts.
- Read the full report “The Economic and Societal Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010” (PDF)