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Car Accidents Lead to $17 Billion in Direct Medical Costs


In a new report issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a single year, car accidents cost $17 billion in direct medical costs. When taking into account other factors, such as lost wages, being involved in a car crash costs consumers $99 billion – or about $500 for each licensed driver in the United States.

CDC Reports Men and Teens Account for Large Portion of Motor Vehicle Accidents

The CDC report, published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention, states that the one-year costs obtained by using data from 2005, totaled $70 billion for people riding in motor vehicles such as cars and light trucks, $12 billion for motorcyclists, $10 billion for pedestrians, and $5 billion for bicyclists.

Accidents that involved a fatality were the most costly, at about $58 billion. 70% of those who died in motor vehicle crashes were men. Hospitalization expenses after a car crash cost $28 billion for in-patient care and $14 in emergency department treatment.

Teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 accounted for a large portion of the injuries and costs – 28% of injuries and $25 billion or 31% of the total cost.

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"Every 10 seconds, someone in the United States is treated in an emergency department for crash-related injuries and nearly 40,000 people die from these injuries each year,” said Dr. Grant Baldwin, director of the CDC’s Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. “This study highlights the magnitude of the problem of crash-related injuries from a cost perspective, and the numbers are staggering."

The CDC recommends the use of graduated driver licensing policies for teen drivers among a number of measures aimed to decrease cost and injury rates. They also emphasize safety measures such as child-safety seat education, promotion of the use of safety belts in cars, and more requirements for the use of helmets for motorcyclists and bicyclists.

One major step that drivers can take to reduce car crashes is to eliminate distracted driving behaviors. A driver poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research found that one out of every three American drivers feel less safe and perceive they are more likely to get into a collision than five years ago due to distracted and aggressive driving.

Ford Motor Company offers a series of one-minute videos to teach young drivers on ways to improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors I more than 60% of teen vehicle crashes – hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management, and speed management. The videos can be viewed at www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

Learn more about stopping distracted driving! Read "Stop Distracted Driving and Sign the No Phone Zone Pledge"