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NHTSA: Distracted Driving Crashes Cost Americans $129 Billion a Year

car_crashThe U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new study that points to the high economic toll and societal impact of motor vehicle crashes in the United States. The study, The Economic and Societal Impact Of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2010, (DOT HS 812 013 , May 2014), places a total  price tag of $871 billion in economic loss and societal harm caused by crashes. Distracted driving (which we know is vastly under-reported) accounts for $129 billion, or 15 percent of the overall societal harm caused by motor vehicle crashes.

The study was broken down into 5 categories as contributing to this distressing price tag –  drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, pedestrians and bicyclists, and seat belt usage. The costs included calculation of items such as productivity losses, property damage, medical and rehabilitation costs, congestion costs, legal and court costs, emergency services, insurance administration costs, and the costs to employers.

“No amount of money can replace the life of a loved one, or stem the suffering associated with motor vehicle crashes,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx. “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.”