The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a study of the costs associated with auto accidents in 2010, and the numbers are huge.  According to the report, 2010 car crashes cost about $871 billion dollars--$277 billion in economic costs, and $594 billion in societal costs.  The types of costs the NHTSA looked at included medical and emergency, insurance, property damage, traffic congestion, fuel consumption, legal costs, and productivity.

            The report also provides some insight into significance of various risk factors in driving.  For instance, everyone knows speeding is bad, and the NHTSA confirmed this in its finding that crashes associated with speeding cost $59 billion.  Drunk driving resulted in similar costs.  Costs of distracted driving—for example, caused by texting—totaled about $46 billion.  And while seat belt use prevented about 12,500 deaths, failure to use a seat belt caused about 3,350 deaths.

            The primary sources of payment for these enormous costs are insurance plans and workers’ comp, while Medicare is the biggest payer for people over 65.  Other federal, state and local entities bore costs as well, but for the expenses not covered by private or governmental sources, individuals must either pay the costs out of pocket or medical providers must absorb the loss.  Either way, it is likely that society bears the burden.

            The report also examines several different types of vehicle crashes, finding that roughly a quarter of car crash fatalities happen at an intersection.  But 58% of all crash fatalities are single-vehicle crashes, and 57% of all crash fatalities are accidents in which the car departs from the roadway.  This is consistent with the large proportion of Iowa crashes that occur when a vehicle rolls into a ditch beside the road.

            Please drive carefully.  And if you or a loved one is in a car crash, know that you don’t have to handle the pressures alone.  I like to say to my clients, "Help me to help you."  If we can help you, call the Lombardi Law Firm to speak with attorneys Steve Lombardi and Katrina Schaefer. We can be reached at 515-222-1110 or by emailing us at [email protected] and [email protected] We look forward to your call.

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