Report details high annual cost of motor vehicle accidents, causes

A governmental report lays out the high economic and non-economic costs of motor vehicle accidents.

When car and other motor vehicle accidents occur every day in Connecticut and elsewhere, there are certain costs involved. Aside from the economic costs, such as damage to property, there are noneconomic costs, many of which are borne by society as a whole. According to a recent report, these costs eclipse the economic costs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010. This report analyzed the economic costs of motor vehicle accidents during the year. Overall, motor vehicle accident costs totaled $871 billion during 2010. However, economic costs only made up $277 of total costs.

Noneconomic costs, on the other hand, made up the remaining $594 billion. In the report, these costs included pain and suffering suffered by those involved, costs of emergency care and other societal costs. The report noted that it is in everyone's interest to work to reduce motor vehicle accidents, as approximately $200 billion of all noneconomic costs are shared by everyone in society through increased insurance administrative expenses and higher costs of emergency services.

High costs avoidable

Additionally, the report found that a large portion of both the economic and noneconomic costs could be avoided if Americans would simply start driving safer. The report laid the blame for 56 percent of the economic costs and 62 percent of the noneconomic costs on risky driving habits alone.

The risky driving habit that was responsible for one of the highest share of costs was drunk driving. The report found that drunk driving accidents singlehandedly make up 23 percent of the noneconomic costs and 18 percent of economic losses.

Other expensive bad habits mentioned in the report included speeding. Accidents caused by exceeding the speed limit made up 21 percent and 24 percent of economic and noneconomic losses respectively. Ranking just below speeding was the bad habit of distracted driving (i.e. talking on a cellphone or texting while driving). This fairly new phenomenon has already made its mark, representing 17 percent of economic losses and 15 percent of noneconomic costs.

If involved in an accident, speak to an attorney

The report makes it painfully clear that the bulk of the costs resulting from motor vehicle accidents never would be incurred if more people would take basic safety precautions, such as avoiding alcohol before driving, putting down cellphones and obeying the speed limit. Unfortunately, many drivers do not appreciate the consequences that their poor driving habits have on other motorists.

If you have been involved in a car accident caused by driver inattention or negligence, it is vital to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can ensure that your legal right to compensation for the losses stemming from your accident is protected.

Keywords: motor vehicle accident, car accident, auto accident, truck accident, crash, wreck, collision