Brian Saylor, PhD, MPH
Keith Busch, CPA
Stacy L. Smith, MFA
Motor vehicle crashes are expensive to individuals, families, businesses, and society. While common “fender benders” often require little more than repair of a damaged vehicle, many motor vehicle crashes result in significant injury or death to drivers and passengers. The extent of motor vehicle crash-related damage, injury, and death can be expressed in economic terms.
These economic costs, also called “human capital costs,” include the costs of emergency services, hospital and medical treatment due to injury, rehabilitation services, and property damage. Economic costs can also include the crash victim’s loss of productivity and wages. When viewed in this more comprehensive and expansive way, the sum of the economic costs of motor vehicle crashes is staggering.
Some see the number of motor vehicle crashes and the injuries and fatalities that result from these crashes as sufficient evidence to support working toward decreasing the number of motor vehicle crashes. However, others require more concrete measures of the severity of this problem and the impact of motor vehicle crashes on society. The following estimate of the economic consequences of motor vehicle injuries and fatalities intends to provide this type of compelling evidence.
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