WASHINGTON – The U.S. motor vehicle safety regulator said Tuesday in a groundbreaking report that a rapidly increasing number of automobile accidents cost American society $340 billion in 2019.
In a comprehensive economic impact study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examined the costs of crashes in a year that killed approximately 36,500 people, injured 4.5 million people, and damaged 23 million vehicles.
According to NHTSA, crashes cost taxpayers $30 billion and society at large $340 billion in direct damage. Including the quality of life assessment, his total cost to society is $1.37 trillion, or his 1.6% of US economic output.
Distracted driving alone costs $98 billion, and traffic congestion, including travel delays and increased fuel use, costs $36 billion.
NHTSA’s last estimate of the social cost of crashes in 2010 totaled $242 billion.
Traffic deaths in the United States are currently on the rise.
In 2021 alone, they will increase 10.5% to 42,915, making it the highest number of American road fatalities in a year since 2005.
Although road deaths fell by 0.2% in the first nine months of 2022, the death rate is still higher than in any pre-pandemic year since 2007.
Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg said Monday that officials are committed to addressing the death toll.
“We want to figure out what works,” Trottenberg said. “We don’t want to let ourselves be off the hook.”
The number of pedestrian deaths jumped 13% to 7,342 in 2021, the highest since 1981. The number of cyclists killed rose 5% to 985, his highest since at least 1980, NHTSA said earlier this year.
In the first six months of 2022, U.S. pedestrian deaths rose another 2% and cyclist deaths rose another 8%, NHTSA said Monday.