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What is the economic cost of motor vehicle accidents?

Every day throughout the United States, regardless of the state, there are motor vehicle accidents that injure and kill drivers and passengers. While some accidents are minor, others are much more involved. Either way, every crash results in an economic loss.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accidents in 2010 cost the United States $277 billion. Of this, the economic cost associated with alcohol impaired accidents was $49.8 billion.

Economic costs include the following:

-- Lost productivity

-- Legal and court expenses

-- Workplace losses

-- Medical costs

-- Emergency medical services

-- Traffic congestion

-- Insurance administration

-- Property damage

These economic costs are tied to tangible losses associated with motor vehicle accidents. However, when you consider fatalities and serious injuries, the cost is much greater. It goes well beyond dollars and cents, as many people have their lives turned upside down.

When quality of life is taken into consideration, the overall value of societal harm from such accidents reaches more than $870 billion.

It does not matter why a motor vehicle accident occurs. From drunk driving to distracted driving, when an accident happens there are financial implications.

As a driver, your responsibility is to do whatever possible to remain safe at all times. This means taking care of your own responsibilities, while also watching what others are doing. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is good to understand how this will impact you from a financial point of view. Even with a comprehensive insurance policy, you will still feel the impact.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "NHTSA kicks off annual "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" national law enforcement crackdown against drunk driving," Aug. 21, 2015

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