AAA has released the results of its latest study on the average cost of car accidents and the auto club reports that a fatal car accident costs, on average, $6 million. This is sharply up from the average cost reported in 2005 of $3.24 million. “The cost of crashing is exponentially so much more than we think it is because it includes property damange, it includes lost earnings, lost household production, medical costs, which are huge, emergency services, any time of rehabilitations you need, any kind of legal cost, and that’s in addition to pain and lost quality of life,” says AAA director of traffic safety culture Michele Harris. The study also reported that the average cost of a non-fatal car accident to be $162,000.
AAA released this study in order to push road safety to the forefront of the national debate over transportation priorities as Congress considers a long-term highway funding bill, says Chris Plaushin, AAA’s director of federal relations. “We wanted to raise the profile and raise the awareness,” he says. “Right now, it’s jobs, it’s construction, it’s economic growth that are being talked about. This is part of our effort to bang the drum about safety.” AAA suggests more investment in proven safety measures such as cable barriers along medians to prevent crossover accidents, modernized roundabouts and rumble strips.
We know the immense loss and grief inflicted on families and loved ones when someone is killed in a car accident. We can hope that the work of AAA in publishing the economic cost of these accidents will help raise safety as a national priority and that we can take these critical steps toward prevention.