A study conducted by NHTSA has determined that the overall economic impact of motor vehicle crashes on America's roadways now totals $230.6 billion a year.
The report, based on calendar year 2000 data, calculates the U.S. economic costs of an average roadway fatality at $977,000 and estimates the economic costs associated with a critically injured crash survivor at $1.1 million.
NHTSA's study estimated the yearly economic cost of roadway crashes to include: $61 billion in lost workplace productivity, $20.2 billion in lost household productivity, $59 billion in property damage, $32.6 billion in medical costs, and $25.6 billion in travel delay costs.
The study also found that seat-belt use is a critical factor in reducing death and injuries in motor vehicle crashes. In one year, the use of seat belts prevents an estimated 11,900 fatalities and 325,000 serious injuries, saving $50 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other injury-related costs.
Conversely, the failure of crash victims to wear seat belts leads to an estimated 9,200 unnecessary fatalities and 143,000 needless injuries, costing society $26 billion, said NHTSA.
The report also underscored the economic costs associated with alcohol-involved crashes, which resulted in an estimated 16,792 fatalities in 2000, as well as 513,000 nonfatal injuries, and $50.9 billion in economic costs. Alcohol-involved crashes account for 22% of all crash costs, said NHTSA.