Traffic Crashes in the U.S. — The Devastating Costs and Efforts to Reduce Them

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As a personal injury lawyer, I know all too well how terrible car accidents can be for families and for society as a whole. A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that traffic accidents in the U.S. cost society a staggering $340 billion in one year, which is more than $1,000 for each of the country’s 328 million people.

The NHTSA study looked at crashes that happened in 2019, and it found that about 36,500 people died, 4.5 million people were hurt, and 23 million vehicles were damaged. In 2019, the costs of these crashes added up to 1.6% of the U.S.’s gross domestic product.

People who aren’t directly involved in crashes still feel the effects of them, as they pay for about 75% of all crash costs through insurance premiums, taxes, lost time due to traffic, extra fuel used, and damage to the environment.

Even though the NHTSA’s numbers are scary, there is still hope that these huge costs can be cut. The Transportation Department started working toward a “safe systems approach” to reducing accidents in 2021. This approach includes things like safer roads, safer behaviors and vehicles, and better care after an accident.

The NHTSA study also showed how simple safety measures, like wearing a seatbelt, can have a big effect on lowering the cost of a crash. From 1975 to 2019, people who wore seatbelts saved 404,000 lives and stopped $17.8 trillion worth of harm to society.

Despite these efforts, though, the number of fatal crashes on U.S. roads is still too high. In 2021, nearly 43,000 people will die on U.S. roads, which is the most in 16 years. In response, the federal government is giving $5 billion to cities and towns to help them slow down cars, make bike paths, and encourage people to use public transportation, among other things, to cut down on road deaths.

As a personal injury lawyer, I will continue to fight for the rights of people hurt in traffic accidents. I will also support any steps that can make these accidents less devastating for families and society as a whole. If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision, give us a call today.