CDC Study Finds Annual Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes Exceeds $99 Billion

Cost amounts to nearly $500 for each U.S. licensed driver in one year

In a one-year period, the cost of medical care and productivity losses associated with injuries from motor vehicle crashes exceeded $99 billion – with the cost of direct medical care accounting for $17 billion, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The total annual cost amounts to nearly $500 for each licensed driver in the United States, said the journal Traffic Injury Prevention.

According to CDC spokespeople, every 10 seconds, someone in the United States is treated in an emergency department for crash-related injuries, and nearly 40,000 people die from these injuries each year.  These injuries are associated with staggering societal costs.

The study also found:

  • More men were killed 70% in motor vehicle crashes than women. Injuries and deaths among men represented 74% of all costs.
  • Teens and young adults made up 28% of all motor vehicle injuries while only representing 14% of the U.S. population.

Motor vehicle crash injuries and deaths and the associated costs are preventable.  Recommended steps include:

  • Graduated driver licensing, laws that allow new teen drivers to get experience on the road in lower-risk situations as they gain experience over time.
  • Child safety seat distribution and education.
  • Stronger seat belt laws.
  • Motorcycle helmet laws, because helmets can reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle crash by more than 1/3 and reduce the risk of brain injury by 69%.
  • Sobriety checkpoints to reduce drunk driving accidents.